Monthly Archives: February 2010

Books . . .

Last semester I took Book Binding I through the University of Iowa Center for the Book .  What an amazing experience  – excellent instructor, supportive work environment, and talented, interesting students!  The fruits of my labor (besides the ones I gave away) are posted here.


Coptic Binding

Coptic and Case Bindings

Long Stitch



Box for my grandma’s German/English dictionary

Book binding requires great attention to detail (not always my strong point) and lots of uninterrupted time to focus on the work.  So, carving out enough time to get things done with two little gumbos underfoot was a little tricky at times.  Every now and then in a mad dash to get things done under deadline, I would work with the kids around.  As you might imagine, they took a real interest in the “book finding,” as Eliott called it.

Vicariously, and with some encouragement from Mom, Eliott became a little “book finder.”  Here’s some of his creations.  (We gave him the robot box full of blank books and supplies for Christmas.  The coptic-bound robot book is huge- filling it is ongoing.  I love it!)

Enough said!

Coptic Robot Book

Here’s some of Eliott’s fabulous pictures from his books.  Of course there’s lots of elaborate narrative that goes along with them. . .

Transcribed by Daddy

This robot is named Eliott.

Portrait of Daddy



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The kids and I recently checked out a great adaptation of a Russian folk-tale, Bony Legs by Joanna Cole with pictures by Dirk Zimmer.

Eliott loved the story, and got a real kick out of the name “bony-legs.”  Thisbe continued to comment on the witch, saying, “She mean!”  “She scares me!” I love that the protagonist is a little girl and that her kindness for others is what makes her win-out over the witch in the end.  I think this would make a great puppet show, given the response from the kids.


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Brüder Grimm

Fairy Tale Series, Quintero, 1997Cloak, Quintero, 1997

As a child I grew up listening to my grandmother’s renditions of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tales, including those on the “A” list–Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, Rupunzel.  But these weren’t the Disney versions.  Oh no, in Grandma’s Cinderella, the ugly step sisters cut off their toes to fit them into the glass slipper and in Snow White, the evil stepmother had to dance in red-hot iron shoes until she fell down dead.  What wasn’t to love about the stories?  They didn’t shy away from violence, that’s for sure.  They also made magic seem possible (especially in hidden secret places, deep in the woods), and good triumphed over evil.

In her thick German accent, Grandma also told me some  lesser known tales like The Golden Goose and The Wolf and the Seven Goats (two of my absolute favorites), probably because they were more humorous than the  better known tales.  (And I like a good laugh!)

Grimms’ Fairy Tales has been translated into more than 160 languages.  Their influence permeates so many aspects of culture world-wide from pop culture to the fine arts.  I want to learn more about the history of the Grimm brothers, how their stories have been “translated” and “adapted” over time and in different contexts, and to try to understand how and why these stories still resonate with  different audiences.  Of course I’m also curious to young people’s responses to these stories.  In my dream- world, I see myself using my German and researching in the archives of the Museum of the Brothers Grimm in Kassel.   And . . . I want to create my own translations and adaptations of the stories into puppet theater.

I have a National Geographic from 1999.  I have saved it over countless moves, two babies, and a house remodel project.  In it there is an article “Guardians of the Fairy Tale:  The Brothers Grimm.”  The article’s author, Thomas O’Neil, and photographer, Gerd Ludwig, trace the geography of the Grimm’s tales in the German state Hesse and to “roam the back roads to see if landscapes evoked by the fairy tales still lingered in the Hessian countryside.”  After some digging around this evening, I found the magazine. It’s chalked full of interesting facts about the Brothers Grimm and photographs that capture the magic of the Hesse’s landscape and people.  It a great source of inspiration as I start my journey.  Jetzt geht’s los!


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Eliott’s Creations

Assignment:  Spend a week creating a series of portraits about an idea, subject, person, place or thing.  Use only images:


valentine's cards

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