Jackie Patten – Among the Trees

FOBA 2021 Challenge Book

Technique and materials used:

During the creation of this book, I had the assistance of friends, family, book arts instructors, and other artists for which I am grateful. It reminded me any form of creativity is more about the process and the connection it creates with others than the product. 

Book Cover: The cover is crocheted from wool then machine felted.  It is lined in wood grain fabric attached using a blanket stitch.

Cover Design: I embroidered the design. To emulate the texture and form of trees, I made various lengths of freeform stitches using pearl cotton thread.

Book Closure: I used a tree branch for the closure. I cut and stitched a buttonhole in a piece of the felted wool and edged it with a blanket stitch. The loop was formed by wrapping strands of thread using a reef knot. 

Text Paper: I dyed watercolor paper using natural dye I made from pinecones. 

Photographs: I wanted to capture the beauty and essence of trees so those looking at the book might also experience how trees can touch your heart, so I incorporated photos taken by a friend.

Words: I collect quotes, poems, and thoughts on trees and I chose ones that supported the theme.

Design of Text Pages: To frame the pictures and words I used what I call a collage/scrapbook technique. I incorporated rubber stamps, postage stamps, and various papers including ones I made using a Gelli Plate, acrylic paints, and foliage from trees.

Bookbinding: I used a multi-section pamphlet stitch to bind the signatures to a tag board cover then inserted it into pockets in the cover liner so that the tree stitched on the spine was unobstructed.

About the work:

As soon as I read the theme for the challenge book project the answer to the question was there: Among the Trees.  I am not sure whether the response was from my head or my heart.  I live in the evergreen state of Washington near Seattle.  My home is close to many forested areas and exceptional hikes through the woods.  I would hike through the trees every day if I could.  After about nine steps into the forest, my body calms. There is a sense of peace and a connection to the spirit within and in all of life.  I am filled with joy! It is like coming home and being surrounded by all the people you love and who love you. 

Because I have felt this connection to trees for many years, I have collected quotes, poems, stories, and thoughts about trees.  Through my readings, I have discovered there is some scientific evidence that supports what I feel.  But for me, it is there whether supported by science or not.  For this book challenge, I chose text that supports my connection with trees and how they hold my heart in a similar way that family and friends do.  The pieces I selected illustrate how trees support and teach me just like those who love me.  They also illustrate how trees connect me to the deeper unseen meaning of life and nurture my soul. I have also highlighted a word for each entry to further illustrate this. In addition, I tried to incorporate elements of trees within the construction of the book.  I believe it is in those places where your heart feels love, peace, support, and a sense of the deeper meaning of life it will choose to reside. For me, that is Among the Trees.