Concertina Book: John Muir Tribute

Here is my concertina book for the participants exhibit at Letters California Style. The project got its start in a fantastic workshop with Joke Boudens last November, and I finished it in time for the exhibit. I learned so much from Joke’s class and the project, and it was so enjoyable because the theme I picked was California and the writings of John Muir. I am a proud Californian and a supporter of our national lands and conservation efforts, and Muir is one of my personal heroes. All the flora and fauna depicted are native to California, and the sign is iconic to folks who hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

The passages I chose are all from the Sierra Club website and they are in the public domain:

Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grass and gentians of glacier meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of Nature’s darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail. Like a generous host, she offers here brimming cups in endless variety, served in a grand hall, the sky its ceiling, the mountains its walls, decorated with glorious paintings and enlivened with bands of music ever playing. The petty discomforts that beset the awkward guest, the unskilled camper, are quickly forgotten, while all that is precious remains. Fears vanish as soon as one is fairly free in the wilderness.

Our National Parks, 1901

As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can

Quoted from Muir Journals (undated fragment, c. 1871)

The mountains are calling and I must go.

Nature is always lovely, invincible, glad, whatever is done and suffered by her creatures. All scars she heals, whether in rocks or water or sky or hearts.

John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir, (1938)

I have to say I was pretty proud of myself for finishing a piece and painting the art elements, too. This piece ended up being tied as one of the winners of the first prize at the Letters California Style 2019 Participants Exhibit. Thanks to everyone who voted for me!

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