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My Back (Benedicite) Pages

I took the Benedicite plates to be scanned this morning.

I came home curious about how this book project began and evolved. So I looked in my Benedicite file (mostly crammed full of photos of plants, animals and the land and sea in various seasons,) and then in my journals, where sometimes (but not always) I write down ideas as they come to me or develop through conversation with others.

Back around 2012, while working on an illustrated book project that The Liturgical Press had commissioned, I had an inspiration of my own. Why not create an illustrated Benedicite for adults and children?

Great idea, except that I had no idea how to go about doing it. Would it be a book? Or an illustrated broadsheet with text?

So, as always, I began trying to layout a book with text and images. Angels, yes, somehow would be a part of it. But the thought of drawing an angel or angels in every plate (if it was a book) was pretty daunting. What would they be doing? And all those wings!

I wasn't sure about even a preliminary overall design and nothing suggested itself for almost a decade.

So I put the format on the shelf and just created a notebook full of drawings of animals (mostly) , knowing that regardless of whatever direction I took, they wouldn't go to waste.

The breakthrough (sort of) came on a visit to Fairbanks in the fall of 2019, with my daughter Phoebe's suggestion that I create a Japanese-style accordion book with tipped-in hand-colored woodcut prints.

Note that I gave myself another option, which I wrote out at the bottom of the journal page: (Could also be handlettered with color plates in egg tempera.)

In the end, no accordion book, no woodcuts (so far!), plenty of angels and animals and somehow, a miracle happened and I managed to stumble onto a coherent design.

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1 Comment

Cathy Waters
Cathy Waters
Nov 17, 2022

So wonderful meeting you on Douglas this gorgeous morning!

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