I hung the original paper strips in the trees at the festival, designating one tree as “The Learning Tree” and one as the “The Blessing Tree”. The stanzas for this site specific work came from two poems: “What I would have you learn as you grow” written for my then five-year-old son and “Counting My Blessings”. Community members strolling through the park were invited to sit for awhile and add to the messages in the trees. By the third year’s festival, the poem hangings had become more leaf-shaped, handcut with a deckle edged scissors after being laserprinted onto fine arts papers. Loving the search for more and more interesting papers to honor the poems, I was limited to what could fit through the laserprinter.

When Oblation Papers and Press began selling my Peace Leaves, even in their early raw form, the idea of collaborating with letterpress artists and paper makers became the natural next step. Their antique presses intrigued me and it seemed fitting that the poems be individually handled in the labor of love that results from letterpress arts. A generous grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council made these refinements possible. I chose the top 24 best-selling poems for that first press run. I provided four leaf designs for a die to be created, and chose a variety of handmade papers, both imported and locally made by Oblation, becoming a bit of a "paper nut" in the process. We opened with a "First Thursday" showing on a warm July evening in 2000.


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Peace Leaves poetry art by Geraldine Foote

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