These hoops hang above my bedroom bookshelf. The skull and flowers, a birthday present a few years ago--Memento Vivere--"remember you must live." The peace on earth hoop was one of the earliest I got from Jennifer; hopeful birds, butterflies, hearts in shades of blue. The hoop with "as you wish." she made with watercolors on fabric and silver thread for stars. It's the most recently made of the three, and it shows how she was exploring more in abstract ways, with color and shape.
Writing, for us, is also a form of making. For my first birthday after we became friends, Jennifer sent me the handmade card in the top right: "Birthdays are nature's way of telling us to EAT MORE CAKE." We choose cards that the other person will laugh at or love, snail mail as care. My favourite is the one with two bears that says, "I'm here for you."
I love a loose definition of making. I love the expansive promise of a liminal space. I also love wrecking a thing that I think is given false reverence. There was something viscerally satisfying in coloring over the words of Major British Writers, Vol. II, Enlarged Edition with black crayon. I make redacted poetry as an act of reclamation and defiance, but I also love the art of making tenderness out of tedium. I included one of Jennifer's business cards, too; watercolor waves and the message to carry on. "a collection of fine minds / a little of the best of each, / in planning this collection / I have chosen the inimitable self"
In addition to the analog components of the book, I included the Adafruit circuit playground as a randomized color palette picker. This is both a nod to Jennifer's recent practices with set color palettes in her art and something to use as a starting point when the person making something in the book is feeling blocked or uninspired or just curious about what their colors of the day might be. Each color displays for 5 seconds so that the user can make a note of the colors (or quickly grab them from a nearby box of crayons.) I'll show you how it works in the video.
photos taken either by me or by Jennifer Bilton