The Healing Art of Making Handmade Books: Dea Fischer Tells Her Story

Looking at the cover of the new issue of PAGES magazine, I found teasing headlines that hinted of the lessons within: “8 Great Art Journaling Techniques,” “Create Easy Hand-Felted Covers,” and “Make Books That Pop, Fold, and Stretch.” They called me to look inside and I began flipping through the issues, absorbing the many creative manifestations of art.

Book art by Dea Fischer
Dea says that Letter to my Daughter
(shown here) “leapt from my hands
in an act of the greatest force.”

When I came to Dea Fischer’s bookmaking article, “Finding the Light,” I knew immediately that I would feature her story in today’s newsletter. It’s raw in its honesty and, although I’ve not personally experienced the tragedy that Dea has, I feel her pain as a woman, a mother, and an artistic person who expresses my humanity through every creative thing I do and make.

You may have your own ideas about what constitutes a handmade book, but I encourage you to take a deep look at Dea’s books. In them, Dea shares her very personal experiences that helped her heal. I believe her article will evoke empathy and a sense of unity for others who’ve experienced grief on this level.

“I am a parent. This simple statement is one that I did not believe I would ever make. For 25 years, I have walked a slow, silent journey on the white path of grief. On one day, indistinguishable from the rest, I awoke and knew it was time to speak. My soul reached for materials to begin the telling of this story. Three interconnected pieces of artwork emerged, and with each creation, I was more at peace. These books are about grief, about raw, bewildering, uncomprehending, and intermittant, sorrow and loss. These books are about the deaths of my children. I had never spoken publicly about my experiences of miscarriage until it came time to create these most womanly of books.

“My creativity is the voice of my spirit, and when it is ready to tell the story, healing comes in the doing.” ~Dea Fischer

“I ventured into the hidden attic within myself to begin, and the first piece to emerge was The Voice of Silence (above). Mozart once said, ‘The music is not in the notes, but in the silence in between.’ The shape and form of this book emerged from an image of overlapping sound waves made by music, the music that was my savior through those years. Constructed of layers of white silk organza, stitched in white and pearl grey silk thread, and laced through with the typed words of Kahlil Gibran’s ‘Song of Ages,’ ‘The Voice of Silence’ represents grief’s ghosts, silent and white and poignant.”

In PAGES, Dea writes about three poignant pieces that she created. Moving, inspirational, and honest, they are important works of art that it’s my sincere pleasure to share with you.



Blog, Handmade Books, Paper Art and Zen Doodle


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