This Blog Moved

As announced in the last blogpost, I moved the blog now to my new site This completed minutes ago, and I hope everything worked. However, I am not done with checking, if anything doesn’t work for you, please let me know. Also I will probably fiddle a little with the settings on the new site. If you encounter something that you especially like or dislike, I wil be grateful for a comment.

In any case, new post will now go to the new site, so please update your bookmarks. I am working on a redirect, but am not sure yet, when exactly it will be in place.

Thank you. For everything, reading, being here, following me to the new site. Thank you!

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Heads-Up: Blog will be moving some time soon -ish

As some of you might know, my website has moved already a couple of months ago to The print section there is still not finished, and, the blog is still here, obviously. My plan is to change that in the next week(s).

Further plans include that there will be an automatic redirect from to But or rather BUT I don’t really know how to do that yet, and I am not sure it will all work smoothly at all time.

So, yeah, I just wanted to give you a brief heads-up, and hope the indeed get the work done some time soon!

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Follow-up Friday: Interview with Judith Hoffman

Judith Hoffman

This is the follow-up post to the last Webfinds-Wednesday post which you can find here, and in which I showed you the Flickr photostream of Judith Hoffman. As you probably realised while reading the first post, I am very much at awe of Judith and her work. I guess I feel a certain kinship in seeing her playful approach to many things she comes across, and the way she tries on new things, and is happy to share this experience and what she learned. – And then, at the end she comes up with the most amazing books, all simply stunning to me. And so I am very happy that she took her time to answer my questions! We did not actually sit down for an interview: I sent her a bunch of questions, and  she sent me her answers. But for the sake of this blogpost, I am going to build up the fiction of an interview.

All images that accompany this blog post are by Judith Hoffman and have been used with her permission.

Judith Hoffman, Metamorphic Suite

Hello Judith, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview! For our readers: We are here in Portland, Oregon, to where you moved a bit over a year ago. You do not have a proper studio yet here, is that right?

Hello and welcome. Yes, unfortunately I currently have only minimal studio space and most of my tools are in storage, so work progresses only slowly. But I did finish one new book this year: Metamorphic Suite, my first book made from polymer clay.

Looking through the galleries on your website, the majority of your work makes use of metal. You studied Fine Art in California, your BFA and your MFA thesis are about metal works and books. – You seem to have found your medium very early. Yet you are trying on a lot of new things, techniques, media all the time. How do these two ways of working fit together? This polymer clay book, is it an excursion from which you will return to metal books, or might you leave metal to embrace a new medium altogether at some point?

My main focus is on books, the medium is secondary. I love books, their format, the experience of turning the pages, finding something wonderful inside. I imagine books to be magical, containing all I need to know about the world and about life. Collage was my first real love. I had done ceramics, drawing and painting, but collage just felt right and still does. It’s so fragmented, so random. I love working with a big pile of possible bits of paper spread out before me. I started playing with polymer when I wasn’t getting any artwork done. I felt I needed something to excite me, to get me into the studio. I imagine I will continue to use polymer, maybe combine it with paper books. I tend to “follow my nose” when I’m making stuff. Whatever I am most engaged with at the time is what I will do. There is a moment when I have finished something. I sit and look at it, trying to see it with new eyes. If it makes me laugh, if I feel drawn in or enchanted by it, then I am happy. In some sense I don’t care how I get there. Although of course it has to be a media and process that I enjoy.

Judith Hoffman, The distance of the moon

Is there a difference for you between playing, trying things out, and serious artwork? Or is the transition seamless?

There definitely is a difference between my serious artwork and results of playing around. The things I make for play have no rules. They also don’t have to hold up to being handled or shipped.
The play is mostly testing materials or trying a new technique. Although I have shown them in informal settings like an open studio, nothing I have made as a model ended up being truely exhibit worthy.

I have different approaches, depending on the media. When I am working with paper, collage, and the little bit of polymer I have done, I usually start with some kind of vague idea and see where this takes me. I might start with no definite goal in mind. To keep from getting frozen with indecision, I need to constantly remind myself I don’t have to show it to anyone, or maybe I can change it. For example I’m working on a book right now using eco printed paper, for which I used fallen leaves and rusty objects to make marks on paper. It is fall, and I think about death and decay, time passing. Last week when I stopped working on it I thought it wouldn’t work out, but today when I went back in the studio, I like it better. I’m not sure where these pages will go, or if I will be happy with them in the end.

For metal work I have to make drawings, have a plan. I often make a paper model from plain paper or card stock so I can get some idea of how things might look.

In my Dreams We travel in Boats, Judith Hoffman

So for your metal books you think through concepts more?

I feel I don’t think about the concepts enough, I do often go with intuition. I made a book a few years ago called In my Dreams We travel in Boats. It was accepted in a show at Abecedarian Gallery. Alicia Bailey (the owner of Abecedarian) said “Filled with colorful drawings it has a solidity of weight quite at odds with its subject, a series of flying dreams Hoffman has had.” I think she is right, while I would like to make many of my dreams real, the book is too solid, too square, too heavy (lots of brass). I just didn’t see that while I worked on it. I wish I had thought more about the concepts for that book.

That reminds me, also in your artist statement you write “Photos enshrined in brass-bound books are more true than a single photo in a frame.” Does metal lend reality to objects or ideas?

Presenting a photo in a brass bound book helps create evidence of an inner reality. It reflects the essential character of the subject of the photo. The physical object leaves an accurate impression, perhaps of a dream or a view of the Late Cretaceous. The solidity of a brass bound book helps us to see the truth of the photo of a dream that we might otherwise dismiss as fanciful.

While you mention the Cretaceous: In your work you incorporate dinosaurs a lot. Why dinosaurs?

When I was about 10 my grandparents sent me a telegram on my birthday and the Roy Chapman Andrews book All About Dinosaurs. I was thrilled by both of them. In 1990 I made this little book for fun, it seemed like an anomaly at the time:

Judith Hoffman, Instruction Manual for the End (of the world)

In 2005 I got another copy of All About Dinosaurs and started using dinosaurs. I’m sure they represent something important to me, I’m not sure what. There is the minor joke that as I get older, I’m becoming a dinosaur.  

Other than books you also make jewelry and pinhole cameras…

I used to make jewelry. I did quit that because there was too much paper work, keeping track of many identical pairs of earrings, etc. When making jewelry got to be tedious, I would take a break and make an artist’s book. Finally I decided I wanted to spend all my time in the studio making artist’s books.

I became interested in pinhole photography almost accidentally. It used to be a summer tradition to have a family art camp at our house. My niece came, and my adult son. Shad, my son, wanted to do photography in 2006, and we played with different cameras. I was immediately hooked on pinhole cameras. Part of the appeal is that I can make a functioning camera. I can use film or photo paper as negatives. It’s all magical to me. I made a few books that hold pinhole cameras, and also a dinosaur pinhole camera. This camera takes photos of dinosaurs, mostly in the late Cretaceous. You can see some of these photos here. And there is a little book of the first set of photos here.

Corrine, Inge and Linda.

Visitor trying on a pair of spectacles, photo: Judith Hoffman

How imporant do you think is play in the reception of your art? I am thinking of photos of your visitors with spectacles on.

Play is a part of my thinking, as I’m working. I do often chose very serious themes, but don’t want them to be too obvious.
I don’t think about studio visitors playing, but if they do I am pleased. I do encourage people to try on the spectacles. Part of that experience is seeing through the lens on some of them. Or seeing how someone might look wearing Spectacles for a Fish Goddess.

I do think being silly, playing, just fooling around are important aspects of connecting with people, being alive. Part of the appeal of book arts to me is that people do pick the books up to experience them. There can be a feeling of play, turning pages or experiencing things in a new way. Maybe the play is more important than mulling over the big questions. And the mundane is a part of life. We are here, we are alive for this brief moment. Each of us has things to contribute to the world. Things that might make one other person say “oh yes, I’m alive too. It’s all so beautiful.” That makes me feel happy. I realize my life has been hard at times, but here I am, alive, making art and cleaning the toilet. Isn’t that wonderful? When I’m actually cleaning the toilet it doesn’t seem so wonderful, I’ll have to remember this next time I’m cleaning.

This seems like a good end note. Thanks a lot for this interview!

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Webfinds Wednesday: Judith Hoffman

Dinosaur Wave

Judith Hoffman, “Dinosaur Wave”

Welcome to another edition of Webfinds Wednesday! Today I would like to give you a nudge into the direction of Judith Hoffman’s Flickr Page. This is not exactly a new find for me. Flickr tells me I have been following her stream for 84 months now, which is almost exactly 7 years. If I remember correctly, it was her copper books which first got me interested in her work. And while the copper books sure are amazing (copper is so beautiful!), what I find fascinating about her photostream is that she constantly experiments with new techniques and ideas, and very freely and openly shares her results and experiments. Whether it be instructions how to build a pinhole camera, how to solder copper, image transfer techniques, experiments with polymer clay, how to ship artwork, or eco or rust prints, you can find this and much more among other photos about studio visits or her pinhole prints.  

zymo 127 pinhole camera detail

Judith Hoffman, Zymo 127

Of course she also has a website. If you just want to see her artist books you can find dedicated galleries there. And there is also a list of downloadable tutorials by her. But make sure you do not miss all the other fun that can be found in her Flickr photostream!

page tests for new book - offset hinges

Judith Hoffman, a book experiment with translucent polymer clay

Her work ranges from serious over funny to beautifully crazy. So, if you really have not seen her work yet, do head over there immediately. – Enjoy!

7 Extinction Events Again

Judith Hoffman, “Extinction Events”

(All images in this post by Judith Hoffman, used with permission.)

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Back in my Studio, welcome 2016

alice miniature kleiner

miniature alice book

Hello, and happy new year 2016 everyone! I am back from a short vacation in Germany. As mentioned in the quick post before I left, the time before Christmas was stressful like it is for everyone, filled with projects to finish so they can be gifts, other gifts to buy, wrap and send with the post. To top off the general frenzy I had some medical problems that required frequent visits in hospital (luckily I could avoid being “held” over night, although I made a narrow escape once by discharging myself) and required that I rest a lot. Now all that is behind me. I had another two visits with medical staff this week, and a -hopefully- final visit in hospital tomorrow.

Despite the busy schedule, I made the miniature book that you can see above for my dear M for Christmas. What I really gave him was Alice in a World of Wonderlands, three heavy big books about the Alice in Wonderland translations. When I mentioned that I was not going to take my present for him to Germany and then back because it was too heavy, M. asked for a miniature or something he could receive as a substitute. And so I made the book for him. It has been my first case binding in ages, but was a lot of fun to do once more! I even added silk sewn headbands. – They are a lot wonkier than I would like (hence no close-up), but still, – headbands!

Both the miniature book and the books themselves were well received. And now I am back in my studio, and I could and should get working again. – And I did! While I couldn’t get up, I worked on a translation of one of my instructions, and finished it yesterday. So now the simple leather binding kit is also available with instructions in English. But what I really ought to do, or want to do, is to finish 346.

choosing covering fabric and headbands silk kleiner

choosing covering fabric and headbanding silk, bound book on tapes on the bottom

It is silly of course, to reserve a special time, a random mark on a calendar called New Year for reflection. Casting a look back and forward, adjusting family and business plans, is something I normally do on a regular basis. Still I feel it is something that was lacking from my Christmas holidays. I was so busy with other things, and now I am trying to catch up with this: sorting through thoughts and rationalizing feelings I have had in the past weeks. And so I have not been working as much in this first week in my studio as I wished and maybe should have. I find myself lingering and contemplating… Thinking about how to continue with my supplies business, how to fit in time for art. And what kind of art I want to make.

miniature worlds

some recent messages in bottles

I worked now for approximately 14 months on 346, not to count all the thoughts I put in before that. Since I have arrived in England, I have been working on several personal projects which are all unfinished: soulsong (aka bloodsong) in various forms, 346, some smaller things I have not menioned before and have no working titles. I somehow never seem to finish these. Also my ruled worlds and geometry projects are on halt since I started to work on 346. What I did finish and work on with ease and joy is my project message in a bottle, which is refreshingly stress-free for me.

056 blog

bloodsong or soulsong as it looked like when I abandoned it

These stories and books that involve my personally more… I really want to finish them, but I want them to be right. Other things come easier to me, and I made them sort of in between: absences, the nightmare box, erased, the book I sent to Cathryn last year: chasing infinity, and others, in 2015 I made a series of prints (woman with hat), took a printmaking course and learned kitchen litho printing at home, participated in the bookmark project, woman with child was my first submission to a printmaking competition, I made a bookbinding kit, many miniatures, and probably other things that don’t come to mind right now. Somehow I even tend to forget to count them as things I made and accomplished, it took a big effort to think about what I made, and it somehow surprises me that they are there. I tend to think I have been working on soulsong and 346 and just can’t finish them and so I have not done much.
I read in an article somewhere a little while ago, that artists (or anyone, really) can feel they don’t accomplish much, especially if and when something comes to them easily, because they then feel it wasn’t work and anyone could have done it.

Have I stepped into a trap here? A trap of my mind that makes me think that to make meaningful art, real art, it should be more work. Maybe it is a mistake to try and incorporate biographic parts into my work directly. Writing about these definitely doesn’t come easy to me. It is so much harder for me to judge whether I am using the right words, whether the story is interesting to anyone but me. Imagery and words don’t seem to fit together well, and don’t generate the feel that I am looking for for the book and the materials used… But then, I genuinely want to make these books, so maybe this is not a trap but a necessary process to go through and learn from?

Making of

346 dummy, half pulled out if its enclosure

Despite all I said, I did push my project further this year. Now I am really happy with the current form of 346 (a scroll with one dowel). I have more plans for the complete structure in my head, and I would like to now just pull this through in an effort and then be done. But every time I take the current dummy in my hands I realize something is still wrong. Something is still missing maybe. I don’t know what it is. I guess I’ll keep on searching, and making message in bottles in the meantime. I hope I’ll find that something soon. Then finally I get to work on different books. There are some I would like to make, that have been living in my mind for a while. But also thoughts and plans for soulsong come to me frequently. I am definitely not done with that book either.

On a lighter note: Do you still remember that I started a new monthly series of “webfinds wednesday” in November? Well, you didn’t see anything in December because, well, it was December and all the reasons above. But the thing is still “alive”, and I do have something for next Wednesday and a Follow-up Friday interview which I hope you’ll both like :-) Talk to you then!

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Merry Christmas

NUC Christmas Tree S Calhoun

By Shawncalhoun (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Hello, everyone. Sorry for being so silent in the past weeks. I would have had some stories to tell, actually: I taught my first workshop with three participants at the Nottingham Writers’ Studio. It was a lot of fun for all of us, I think. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures. And then everything happened so quickly and so much. I struggled with shipping all thread and bookbinding kit orders quickly and correctly, to make or buy and wrap Christmas presents, organize this and that – and somehow the time for blogging was always lacking.

So now I am just dropping in quickly to wish you all a merry christmas or, if you are not celebrating, a couple of merry days without christmas at the end of the year. And we’ll talk in the next.

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Follow – up Friday: Interview with Nina Kaun

Fräulein Guckindieluft, Nina Kaun


A couple of weeks ago I stumbled over the webpage of Nina Kaun, illustrator, graphic artist and printmaker. In a blogpost two weeks ago I showed you some of her work. I am happy that she was willing to sacrifice some of her time for an interview, so that I can present you some more information about her and her work today. Since we both are German, it was just natural to turn to the German language. My sincere apologies to everyone who cannot read German. You might want to check the google translate to English (or another language of your choice) here. If you would rather just look at some more pictures, try her tumblr.


Büchertiger: Hallo Nina, es freut mich sehr, dass du heute Zeit gefunden hast, danke dafür! Du hattest jetzt die letzte Woche ja ganz schön zu tun, mit der artbook Berlin.

Hallo, es freut mich, dass ich hier ein bisschen über mich und meine Arbeit erzählen darf. Ja, letztes Wochenende war in auf der artbook Berlin mit meinen Büchern und auch Grafiken vertreten.

Ah, du verkaufst also auch die einzelnen Blätter? Oder sind das dann andere Arbeiten?

Schreiben und Bücher zeichnen ist meine hauptsächliche künstlerische Arbeit, aber auch die Originalgrafik (Siebdruck und Lithografie). Meine Drucke sind auch individuell erhältlich, und nicht alle davon kommen in Büchern vor. Im Moment biete ich sie nur auf Messen wie eben zum Beispiel der artbook berlin an, aber ab nächstem Jahr werden meine Arbeiten auch auf der Internetseite “port of art” zu finden sein. – Und wer Interesse an einer Arbeit (Zeichnung oder Druck) hat kann mich natürlich gerne auch über meine Internetseite anschreiben.

Nocturnal Flowers. Nighttime, Nina Kaun

Wieso Bücher und nicht einfach einzelne Drucke? Wie bist du dazu gekommen?

Es ist schwierig zu erklären, aber Bücher haben einen besonderen Reiz für mich. Ein schönes Buch in den Händen zu halten macht mich glücklich. Zwischen den Seiten für kurze Zeit in eine eigene Welt eintauchen zu können, das ich es anfassen, umblättern und immer wieder öffnen kann, gefällt mir. Und ich mag natürlich die Kombination von Text und Bild. Generell umgebe ich mich gerne mit “schöner” Sprache und guten Formulierungen, ich mag Wörter, sowie Bilder (wenn das verständlich ist). Ich habe schon als Kind versucht Bilder und Wörter zu verbinden und Bilderbücher zu imitieren.

Für deine Bücher arbeitest du im Original mit Drucktechniken, das Buch selbst wird dann aber im Offsetdruck hergestellt…

Ja, an den drucktechnischen Medien allgemein reizt mich, dass ein Bild erst durch mehrere Lagen entsteht, es ist immer wieder ein Erlebnis, wenn das Bild auf dem Papier “erscheint”. Und ich mag die körperliche Arbeit mit dem Material, die man z.B. beim Arbeiten am Computer nicht hat.

Es wäre schön, wenn das ganze Buch handgedruckt sein könnte, aber das ist nicht immer möglich. Für meine Abschlussarbeit damals, habe ich zumindest alle Cover im Siebdruck erstellt. Aber selber Drucken und Binden von Büchern geht nur bei kleinen Auflagen. Bei meinen anderen Projekten ist die Auflage vergleichsweise hoch, und deshalb wurden sie im Offset gedruckt und in den Druckerei gebunden. Eine hohe Auflage erreicht eben auch ein größeres Publikum zu einem kleineren Preis. Außerdem hatte ich für einige Projekte eine recht enge Terminplanung, – und das Projekt in die Druckerei zu geben ist natürlich sehr viel schneller.

Aber ich plane zur Zeit wieder kleinere Projekte selbst zu produzieren. – Das Selbstbinden bietet eine Freiheit zu experimentieren.

Nocturnal Flowers. Herzflatter, Nina Kaun

Oh, das klingt vielversprechend, kannst du uns schon ein bisschen verraten, was und wann vielleicht kommt? Und in welche Richtung werden denn wohl die “Experimente” gehen?

Ich arbeite gerade an einer Biderreihe mit dem Titel “Nachtblüher- nocturnal flowers”. Aus dieser Arbeit wird sicherlich auch ein Buch entstehen, allerdings als kleine Auflage. Das Experimentieren bezieht sich vor allem auf das Verwenden von unterschiedlichen Papieren und sicherlich werde ich sie Fadenheften (diese Art der Bindung gefällt mir sehr).

Ansonsten ist  im nächsten Jahr ein Siebdruckbuch geplant, zu einer Geschichte von Wolfgang Borchert (“Die traurigen Geranien”).

Danke für das Gespräch!

Wenn Du jetzt Lust auf mehr hast, schau’ doch mal in ihrem Tumblr vorbei.

Alle Bilder sind Grafiken von Nina Kaun und wurden mit Erlaubnis hier gezeigt.
All images are illustrations by Nina Kaun and have been used with permission.

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Follow-up Friday postponed

My apologies to all who expected to see the interview with Nina Kaun here yesterday. We both got caught up in other work and didn’t manage to pull it off on time. But I am confident that it will be here next week. Again, my apologies to all who have been waiting, and I hope you can wait another week!

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Accordingly… Art + Text


Art+Text 2015 at 44AD Artspace, Bath, England, photographer: Graeme Hobbs

As those of you who also receive my newsletter will know, a couple of my books were part of the exhibition Accordingly… Art + Text in Bath. The show itself was only on for a week, but accompanied by a couple of events for artists and visitors. I had hoped to be able to come the closing weekend to Bath to join other artists for a lunch and be there for a meet the artist event. Unfortunately this didn’t happen, though. And so I was very happy to have found a message from Graeme and Robert, the two organizers, in my inbox the other day, with facts about and images from the exhibition.

They write:

A week and a bit have passed by quite quickly [...] But we have now had time to draw breath and to take stock of achievements, successes (and failures) in mounting this first version of Art+Text.

Some facts and statistics: We had statements of interest from almost 40 artists and from as far afield as Australia, Germany and the USA.


Art+Text 2015 at 44AD Artspace, Bath, England, photographer: Graeme Hobbs – The showcase with my books on the left long side: Nag Hammadi I and II, Old Lace, (Erased hardly visible), and Absences (with a reading copy on top).

We accepted and exhibited work from 18 different Artists and were offered 3 works from his Alphabet Series, for inclusion by the London Gallery representing Sir Peter Blake.


Art+Text 2015 at 44AD Artspace, Bath, England, photographer: Graeme Hobbs – close up of absences and Old Lace

The exhibition showed 62 different works and included print works, paintings, installation pieces, assemblage and both Book works and Artists’ Books.

[...] both legible and asemic texts [were included] as well as incorporating collage and drawn images. [...]


Art+Text 2015 at 44AD Artspace, Bath, England, photographer: Graeme Hobbs

The exhibition attracted slightly over 180 visitors; an average of 30 a day over the six days excluding the private view when we didn’t count people attending and the mid-week talk given by Glenn Storhaug. [...]

A+T KoB2

Art+Text 2015 at 44AD Artspace, Bath, England, photographer: Katie O’ Brien of ad44

Comments in the visitors book included:

“One of the most interesting exhibitions I’ve seen here…”

“Beautiful books – delicate and thoughtful”

“Really inspiring mixture of work”

All in all a very pleasing exhibition to have been part of and perhaps the first of others. An annual Art+Text show is one thought [...]

Best wishes and fond regards,

Robert and Graeme


Art+Text 2015 at 44AD Artspace, Bath, England, photographer: Graeme Hobbs

I am very happy to have been a part of this – albeit in absence. Maybe I’ll be there next year…

(all images used with permission)

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Webfinds Wednesday: Nina Kaun

I thought, I’d introduce a new category here on this blog: Webfinds Wednesday. Everyone who has blogged for a while will know that this is something bloggers need every now and then: A new line of posts that keeps you blogging and keeps you focused. Sharing webfinds is far from a new thing, but hopefuly I’ll be able to digg out some new and entertaining sites and artists for you.
For to give me a chance to make this really happen more than once (you all know my busy schedule), I thought I’d make it into a monthly thing, rather than weekly. So I shouldn’t call it webfinds WEDNESDAY; webfind of the month or something like that would probably be more appropriate. – But alliterations are such a nice thing in a blogtitle, and so I am going to keep it. What is more, there will also be a Follow-up Friday – next week. So, here you go, the first webfinds wednesday:

page from “Ich denke an dich” by Nina Kaun, image used with permission

Today I want to show you Nina Kaun and her website. I found her recently while browsing lists of exhibitors for a book arts fair, and think her website looks really interesting! She is a book artist who bound and made one of her books (final work as part of her university degree) completely by hand, but mainly publishes through rotopolpress, a small independent press located in Kassel, Germany. Although her latest books are offset printed in editions ranging from 500 to 3000 copies, the books still retain a distinct artist book quality. She let me know that she mainly works with screenprints and collages for her original illustrations. However, when you browse her website, you will see that especially from her smaller booklets, some seem to have been drawn by simple pencils or whatever came to hand.

pages from “Lorenz and Gwendolin” by Nina Kaun, image used with permission

I hope you’ll pay her website a visit, and enjoy her illustrations. If you do, look out for Follow-up Friday on this blog next week for a short interview with her.

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