This book had its genesis in a workshop which I led for the Calligraphy Society of Ottawa, on the 4th of October, 2008. Each participant started with a full sheet of Arches Text Wove paper on which we transferred an obscure text taken from Writing Systems of the World by Akira Nakanishi.  I chose the Vai script, a syllabary  from Liberia. You can see bits of it incorporated into the design. The sheets were then passed on to our neighbours who were instructed to alter the papers using a predetermined  assortment of tools and sumi or walnut inks until each one of us had participated in the transformation of each sheet of paper.  When our enriched original sheets of paper were returned, each participant was given the task of making her sheet of paper into a book. All the sheets of paper were quite different and consequently so were the books.




let it go

let it go-the

smashed word broken

open vow or

the oath cracked length

wise-let it go it

was sworn to



let them go-the

truthful liars and

the false fair friends

and the boths and

neithers-you must let them go they

were born

                to go


let all go-the

big small middling

tall bigger really

the biggest and all

things-let all go


       so comes love


E. E. Cummings

Special thanks go to Ruth McKee, Heather Mallett, Roberta Heubener, Diana MacDonald, Arlene Longley, Lois Jenson, Nancy Ellis, Judy Bainbridge, Tamra Thompson and Pat Gregoire for their contributions to the pages of this book. I am particularly indebted to Judy Bainbridge who had my sheet of paper when the instruction was to “randomly damage the sheet of paper in front of you”. She both crumpled it up and tore it. Thanks to Rosie Kelly who introduced me to this odd method of bookbinding and to Hans Joachim Burgert for the inspiration for the lettering. I am also grateful to E. E. Cummings for his most appropriate poem. This has truly been an exercise in “letting go”.


The cover and envelope are recycled daphne paper from Bhaktapur, Nepal. It is 8.5 x 11.75 inches (21.5 x 30 cm) closed.


“let it go” from COMPLETE POEMS: 1904 –1962 by E.E.Cummings, edited by George J. Firmage.

Copyright © 1931, 1959, 1991 by the Trustees for the E.E.Cummings Trust.

Copyright © 1979 by George James Firmage.

Used by permission of Liveright Publishing Corporation.

Book 2