Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I want to tell you about a wonderful ongoing project my friend Barbara Helfand stewards. Several years ago Barbara started taking paste paper and book making classes from me. Now lots of people do that too, but what she does with what she learned is the interesting part. She makes lots of books and also teaches others to make them. They then donate the books to the project. These are distributed to social service agencies to give to both children and adults who are clients, to a local residential school for teenage girls who are separated from their families, and some are tucked into the suitcases of friends and acquaintances who are traveling to far off lands. The books and journals are given to the children of these countries. Barbara especially likes to get them to Africa and many books have reached children on that continent.
She had it in mind to make over twenty books for the holiday season this year so our art group, which I call Artful Intimacy, decided to help. We meet once a month and started the books in October. We decided to make soft covered books this time so we painted white gesso on Stonehenge paper to make sturdy covers and when they were dry we painted them with acrylic paints. This makes them kind of leather like. Barbara sewed a bunch of them together with fancy yarns and threads and embellished them with all kinds of cool stuff. S he has found a source for colored pencils that are about 4 inches tall and pastes an envelope on the back cover containing a few pencils. Sweet. When our art group met this month she showed Suzanne and Willow how to embellish and sew them and now the pile of books ready to give away has grown.
Last year she needed books and was running out of time so I went through a box of my hand made books, some finished but not very interesting, and other's in various stages of production and gave them to Barbara to, as another another friend of ours puts it, "tart them up". This is our technical term for embellishing. So she added beads and yarns, did some stamping and collage and transformed them into colorful precious gifts of love and caring.
We are planning a holiday get together. We'll have a potluck lunch to celebrate our good friends and good fortune. And we will share the love and bounty of our lives by inviting our captive audience to join us at the art tables to spend a delightful couple of hours making books to give to those who might appreciate a journal created just for them to record their wishes, dreams and the moments of their lives.


1 comment:

Karen Stiehl Osborn said...

What a great idea! I have a friend whose daughter works as a missionary in a children's orphanage in Tanzania. He is taking books for the children to read when he travels there in January. I think I will make some journals for him to take as well!