Monday, January 25, 2021



I lettered this quote for a friend's funeral but feel it speaks to the moment we are in. The lettering was done in black on white with a Speedball C-5 nib and inverted to white on black in Photoshop.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A New Day

 The timing was perfect yesterday. I was able to go to Plum Island to write in the sand at low tide and then watch the inauguration. Today I wrote out the concluding lines of Amanda Gorman's amazing poem "The Hill We Climb."

The New York Times has a lesson plan for studying the poem as well as the complete text.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Bookmaking with Children: Why Use Recycled Materials?



I like to use recycled, or more accurately repurposed, materials in my workshops and at home. I use brown paper grocery bags, cereal boxes, and used paper that has writing on only one side. I made the change to be more respectful of the environment and reduce consumption but the benefits go way beyond that.


We live in an instant culture filled with manufactured objects. It is not the children's fault that they expect their paper perfect and think nothing of asking for a new piece when theirs has a wrinkle. Using grocery bags, cereal boxes, or paper that they have used before makes them aware of the paper they consume.


And there are other positive effects as well. When they start by cutting a paper bag, the paper is already uneven so it takes all the burden of precision away. I find it lightens the spirit of the whole process. In addition to consuming less paper, they learn to look creatively at the things they discard. 

Making books with repurposed materials has a different aesthetic. Because we don't start with plain paper, there are often traces of its former life showing. I feel this brings life and vitality to the finished book. 

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Making Books With Children

As I try to anchor myself in the chaos that we are living in, I want to be able to be useful in some way. I started to think back to my days of teaching bookmaking to children and have decided to share some of the material I developed.

I became involved with making books with children after my first child was born. My involvement in the schools began when he was in pre-school and became a full-time career as I traveled from school to school sharing simple bookmaking with children, teachers, and families for over twenty years. The focus was on integrating bookmaking into the curriculum and making learning fun. Since 1999 I have freely shared information and inspiration on my website

I'll be sharing projects and ideas in the coming days. The book above is a slat book based on forms from ancient China. I used recycled materials: cereal box pages covered with a variety of paper pieces from my collage box. I braided yarn and tape from old cassette for the ties.

Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Looking Back at 2020


I started last year with this image, created with no idea of how precious our breaths would become and how strong we would need to stand. As I embark on new projects in 2021, I wanted to take a moment to remember the ones I did last year.


Keepsake Books is a series of how-to bookmaking videos I made to offer a creative activity during the pandemic. While most of my videos focus on the construction, these deal with the content as well. Here's what I wrote about them:

Keepsake Books help us embrace all the complexity of life—to celebrate the joys, cope with the difficulties, and honor those who have passed. They are made with the most accessible of materials and the simplest of techniques. These are books of the heart, made with your fullest attention and deepest feelings. Each of the eight projects has a theme. There are ideas for content—words to write and simple illustrations to make. 


I had casually contemplated a project on women's suffrage and then suddenly became passionate to do something as the anniversary came closer. I enjoyed the research as well as the lettering and found such power in their words and their stories. I'm still working my way through my list of biographies and am in awe of every single woman.  


Sea Jewels is a catalog of pastel wave paintings by my friend Sandra Kavanaugh. The book is 6" high by 8" wide. All the paintings are reproduced actual size. I am amazed at the power and immediacy she achieves at such a small size. I designed the book and it was such fun to work together.

On deck for next year: design of a book of poems by Anne Mulvey called Family Matters, a new book by me called Naming the Garden with photographs of flowers with their Latin names in calligraphy,

a new video series 
on youtube involving calligraphy and words, and new Spirit Books. I am grateful every day for my work which keeps me grounded and inspired. 

Friday, January 01, 2021

New Year 2021


Lettering on sand with piece of clam shell 

at Plum Island National Wildlife Refuge on New Year's Morning

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

How To Make a Simple Slat Book


Here's a new video from the Keepsake Books series 
with easy to get materials and easy to follow directions.

Make a name book to celebrate or commemorate. 
Or make one with a slat for each number in 2021 
and add wishes or resolutions for the new year. 
The form is based on books made of slats of wood or bamboo 
from ancient China.

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