Illuminated Letters by Joan Walsh Anglund

I'm fond of illuminated letters - I like them, I do. A follow up to the last posting, The Golden Treasury of Poetry illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund, these illuminated caps are from the book for your viewing pleasure.

Joan Walsh Anglund was born January 3, 1926 in Hinsdale, Illinois. Her father was a commercial artist and her mother was a painter. She studied at the Chicago Art Institute and the American Academy of Art. Anglund's literary career started after she was inspired by a group of children playing near her home. This resulted in A Friend is Someone Who Likes You (1958). 

Many of her illustrations are based on people and places from her life, including her two children. Author and illustrator, Joan Walsh Anglund is known for her sensitive themes of love, friendship and spirituality. Her books show a respect and sensitivity to the emotional development of children. Anglund has written over 90 books and has had a devoted following among her readers over the years. Her books have sold more than 45 million copies and have been published in over fourteen countries.

Some of Joan Walsh Anglund's books: The Brave Cowboy (1959), Love is a Special Way of Feeling (1960),  What Color is Love? (1966), Do You Love Someone? (1971), A Child's Book of Old Nursery Rhymes (1973), The Joan Walsh Anglund Story Book (1978) and A Gift of Love (1980) - one of her best selling works. Some of her seasonal works are Christmas is a Time of Giving (1961), Christmas is Love (1988), A Christmas Alphabet and A Christmas Sampler: A New Collection of Holiday Treasures (2001). 


Golden Treasury of Poetry, Joan Walsh Anglund

I'm sure that when I bought The Golden Treasury of Poetry at a library sale, I did so for sentimental reasons. I remember the paper dolls in Good
Housekeeping Magazine by the same artist, Joan Walsh Anglund. I remember her books with the sweet little children sans nose and mouth. I used this book    to practice pen and ink drawing when I was in school. What I learned by doing so is that Joan Walsh Anglund is a very good pen and ink artist. I can't help but wonder if the strong association of her little cherubs over shadows some of her talent. For that reason, I would like to show a few illustrations by Anglund from this book that might surprise.

The Golden Treasury of Poetry 
Selected and with a Commentary by Louis Untermeyer
Illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund
Golden Press, New York, 1959

I'll be following up this posting with images of illustrated letters by Joan and will do a short bio on her then.



Summer seems like a long time away when you're right in the middle of winter in Wisconsin. There are many standard jokes about the weather here - "Don't like the weather in Wisconsin? Stick around, it'll change." or "There are two season's in Wisconsin - winter and construction." But I do love my native Wisconsin. We have so many beautiful trees. I'm quite fond of all the barns that dot the countryside landscape. Although I despise the really cold weather (below zero), the winter landscapes are very lovely. Unlike some people in Wisconsin, I like the months of January and February. It can be a very peaceful time. It's a good time to read, do crafts, take care of projects. It can also be a good time to have a party. 

But I did think of summer today when I came across some pictures I took at the end of last summer. The flowers are from my back yard and the others are from I drive I took out in the country. 


Kokeshi Dolls

The kokeshi doll is a Japanese folk art form. Kokeshi dolls originated in the Tohoku region of Northern Japan in the early 1800's. The dolls were first made by woodworkers, called kiiya, who sold the designs as souvenirs in the winter season to tourists who came to visit the well known hot springs resorts. 

The woods typically used for kokeshi are cherry, dogwood, Japanese Maple and Mizuki. The wood is left outdoors to season for one to five years before it can be used. The woodworker turns and cuts the dolls on a lathe and then polishes it to a very smooth finish. The head and body are usually turned separately; then attached together by a plug. Then the kokeshi doll is painted.

Traditional kokeshi, produced only in the six prefectures of Tohoku, are very simple in their design with round heads and cylinder like bodies sans limbs. The floral and linear patterns painted on the kimonos have been developed and passed down through generations of kokeshi makers and are distinctive to the area where they are made. The primary differences between styles are the shape of the body and head, as well as the painting and colors used. The type of wood and lathe used may also differ.

Creative kokeshi dolls are not limited in terms of shape, color and design. The artist is free to paint and style the doll however they wish. The only requirement is the use of a lathe, the same tool used for traditional dolls. Creative kokeshi, which developed during World War II, have the limbless kokeshi characteristic. But they are more contemporary in their design with added features such as hair or a colourful patterned kimono. Creative kokeshi have features and styles unique to their own particular artist or creator. The majority of creative kokeshi are made in Gunma prefecture.

Every year in early September, wood craftsmen throughout Japan gather in Naruko Onsen, where the kokeshi is honoured through competition. The artist who creates the best kokeshi doll receives a prestigious award from Japan's prime minister. 

Kokeshi are generally bought by Japanese as mementos. In addition to being ornamental, they are also seen as charms to prevent fires or even ward off evil. The Mizuki wood often used to make the kokeshi doll's head, translates as "water tree". It is a very moist wood and some Japanese believe that having a kokeshi in their home helps prevent fire.

Photo Credits



Good Book Cover Design

First impressions do count. A good book cover design can make you pick up a book to explore it contents. To me, a book cover should capture some of the essence of the book and give you a taste of what's inside. Ever been lured by a great book cover only to find the inside of the book is disappointing? Not good.

Here are ten book covers that I think are very nice. Please let me know if you like this posting about book covers, I'm thinking about making it a regular feature.

The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark
Cover Design by Antonio Frasconi
Time Inc., 1963

Look Out the Window by Joan Walsh Anglund
Written and illustrated by Joan Walsh Anglund
Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc., 1959

The First Noel
Illustrated by A. and M. Provensen
Golden Press, New York, 1959

Coming Down the Seine 
written and illustrated by Robert Gibbings
J.M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1953

The Tale of the Warrior Lord
El Cantar De Mio Civ
Translated by Merriam Sherwood
Illustrated by Henry C. Pitz
Longmans Green and Co., 1949

The Hummel Book by Berta Hummel
Poems and Preface by Margarete Seemann
Emil Fink-Verlag, Stuttgart Germany, 1973

The Man Who Lived Alone by Donald Hall
Illustrated by Mary Azarian
David R. Godine, 1985

The Giant Story by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers
Pictures by Maurice Sendak
E.M. Hale and Company, 1953

Chanticleer and the Fox by Geoffrey Chaucer
Adapted from the Canterbury Tales and Illustrated by Barbara Cooney
Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1958

A Pocketful of Cricket by Rebecca Caudill
Illustrated by Evaline Ness
Henry Holt and Company, 2004