We got this rice paper lamp for the shop from Ikea. It was open on the bottom and the light bulb glared through. I solved the problem by searching for an interesting piece of similar paper to seal the bottom with.

The decision was easy when I remembered Annet’s wonderful letter to me when I finished work on my book. It was written on her special ‘Applause’ paper (the description is in Dutch, but the image gives the idea).
The cleverness of this product plays on a Dutch pun-  clapping is ‘Klap’ in Dutch. Coincidentally, the poppy flower is called a ‘klaproos’, ‘roos’ means ‘rose’.
How are these related?
In her ingenious concept, Annet printed the word ‘klap’ repeatedly on the paper along with images of clapping hands. The paper is specifically meant for sending someone a letter of applause for something they have accomplished, or simply a letter of appreciation.  The punchline? (and why it doesn’t translate into English), is that if you then PLANT the letter and give it water, it sprouts in ‘klaprozen’or poppies. If you look closely at the first photo, you can see that the paper is full of tiny poppy seeds.

I felt bad about cutting up the beautiful letter, but since it was meant to be planted anyway, it was ok. I should have copied it, I suppose, but the words are planted in my heart, so I don’t think I have to add more papers to my ever growing pile of memorabilia.

Also, using words and handwriting from friends in collage projects like these gives them an extra charge of love and connectedness. Every time I go in the shop, every time someone admires the lamp with its tiny books hanging down, Annet willl get a little shot of ‘applause’ right back again!!

Spoonful feature

May 4, 2011


Balloon by Jesophi, Jewellery Designer

I’m thrilled that the shop is featured on the blog of a delightful little zine I ordered, called Spoonful, a happiness companion. Thanks Anthea! It is, as the title suggests, a bite sized helping of food for the soul.  There are hearty little snippets of literature, art, and musings on happiness, enhancing the everyday, creativity and more. 

I ordered it to include in my shop as part of the mission of bringing in inspiration from all over the world into this tiny little village where I live. There are just so many wonderful things happening on a grass roots level in the area of creativity and community building that people here would never get exposed to without a guide. So I guess that is what part of the function of this shop is.  Anyway, Spoonful is reasonably priced and beautifully presented, with a nice layout and colour artwork. I’m enjoying, after having read my 3 issues, dipping in and following some of the links, to say, Denise Sharp a creator of whimsical works in paper and calligraphy. Have FUN!

Click for Jesophi Jewellery designer’s Etsy shop

Wage peace curtain

January 29, 2009

The news of the day and some recent deaths in the neighborhood got me down.  I couldn’t concentrate on the work at hand, so I took a  break and threw myself into a creative project that needed doing. Every so often I make a rice paper curtain for our kitchen window. They stay nice and fresh for a year or two, then bleach out from the sun and get all stained from the condensation. So when one gets ratty looking, it is time to make a new one.

The latest uses a combination of spontaneously placed, torn cut and glued (with normal office stick glue) rice papers. I’ve stamped on them and sewn on some dried leaves and stuck some feathers in between the layers. There are also two ‘windows’ cut out, in one detail you can see the house next door through one. These are overlaid with a very transparent fiber paper. The yellowish leaves in a row are actually strung on a thread and hang in front of the curtain.

After I finished the project, I noticed I felt somewhat lighter and realized I’d followed the advice of Judyth Hill’s classic poem written in the aftermath of 9/11 – ‘Wage Peace’.


Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,

Breathe out whole buildings

and flocks of redwing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children

and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen

and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening:

hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember  your tools:

flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.
Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,

imagine grief as the outbreath of beauty

or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.
Never has the world seemd so fresh and precious.

Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived

Don’t wait another minute.

          Judyth Hill


Calligraphy box breakout

December 6, 2008


This is the companion piece to ‘Enchanted Vessels I’  which appears in a previous post.

Both pieces are based on the following quote from ‘The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life’  by Thomas Moore:

    ‘Enchantment arises whenever we move so deeply into anything we’re doing that its interiority stirs the heart and the imagination’.

They were done in the context of an oil pastel series, so inadvertently solved a problem I’d been having with calligraphy:

As  result of working in the field of calligraphy for most of my adult life, I had become enclosed in a box I couldn’t see my way out of.  That box was ,’ Calligraphy is making beautiful legible letters to express a quote you like’.  When starting a calligraphy piece I would simply reach for my calligraphy materials, and somehow also my calligraphy mindset.

Though I’d done a lot of abstract calligraphy where the emphasis lay on the markmaking and expression, I’d not yet been able to find a satisfying way to respond to the many literary quotes that continually inspired me.  I’d end up ‘doing a piece of calligraphy’, and it was more of the same old same old.

So this piece, saturated with the magic of Moore’s quote, resolved my dilemma. Snatches of the quote are legible, but most importantly the essence of what touched me is expressed in this piece, and only in part by the calligraphy. The colours, the  monoprint, the handwriting and more formal letters, the  collage and drawing and stamps all work together to form a whole.

Enchanted vessels

November 29, 2008


Enchanted vessels 1, mixed media

Yesterday during the first singing lesson I’ve had in months, my art, singing and Tai chi came together in a beautiful resonating whole.

My teacher was speaking about letting the sound move up my spine, and I connected this to the chi energy we work with in Tai chi. When I sang as if I were doing the slow meditative movements of my tai chi, I entered the same centered flow that sometimes happens in doing the form.

When my teacher then asked me to imagine the sound coming from the bowl of my pelvis, everything came together .  In Tai chi the movements originate from the tan tien, the body’s center of gravity just under the navel. Making the sound from there was very powerful and created a bell like resonance that moved all through my body.

And the next piece of the puzzle was the realization that in most of the art I’ve done in the last years the bowl form or vessel as been central theme.  Bowl, center, container, woman, pelvis, womb, earth, receiving, singing bowl, garden bowl 10 garden bowls filled with music…..enchantment, interiority.

And ‘Water, Fire, Love’, where the bowl symbol was linked with fire and light, was a gift to a particular young doctor whose specialty happens to be focused on the pelvic area of women.  
But I hadn’t made this connection when I chose the piece for him- or rather when the piece seemed to choose itself.