Pale Star

In the hectic lead up to Christmas I didn't get a chance to complete a special book art project for Jack. It has become something of an annual tradition, and a nice way to show how much I appreciate Jack's writing, so I was unhappy about missing a year. Still, figuring that it's better late than never, I made time over the past couple of days to make a little something inspired by Jack's poem about Katherine Mansfield. This is the text:

Pale Star
K.M., 1923

(after Xu Zhimo)

Unintentionally imitating Chinese style
her hair was pitch black & straight

Her features seemed to me
like the purest Indian jade

or pristine snow in the Alps
Her brightly-coloured clothes

might have aroused some criticism
had they been worn by anyone else

on her they looked becoming
like green leaves on a flower

Her figure was so fragile
that a man standing beside her

felt his breathing to be too coarse

(Jack's amusing account of how this poem came about can be read at our Pania Press blog)

For this design project I wanted to try something similar, but much less detailed, to Jayme McGowan's spectacular 3d papercraft scenes that you can see by visiting her blog, Roadside Projects.
I based my illustration on a grainy photograph of Katherine Mansfield (shown above) taken in 192o in her writing studio at Menton. She is seated at a table wearing a jersey with a wide striped collar and she's holding a cup of tea. The wall behind her is papered in a nice geometric print with dashes and dots. Here's a photo-narrative of the project:

I really enjoyed making the 'Pale Star' picto-poem, so much so that I'm going to try something similar with one of my sister's poems next...


Gerri Kimber said…
What a fascinating project! Please could we have the photo of your collage KM for the artistic representations section of our website?
Bronwyn Lloyd said…
Of course you can Gerri. It would be an honour to see my Katherine Mansfield collage among such talented company.
Dr Jack Ross said…
Information about the poem is now up at our Pania Press site:
Ann said…
Your picto-poem is great! I completely agree with you about Jayme's work and also Elsita's. You have the right idea about learning from the best.
Raewyn said…
how cool, i love this.

i once wrote about borrowing katherine mansfield's car and driving to dunedin while she rode her own motorbike, then we played pool in the pub, lol.

i think your picture is delightful and also, it really humanises this person, who we could tend to turn into a mere cipher or icon. i like the idea of presenting famous ppl as 'real'.
Elizabeth said…
I love this.
Did you make the boxframe yourself?
Bronwyn Lloyd said…
Thanks for all your lovely feedback. It definitely bolsters my confidence to try some other picto-poems.
Elizabeth / Tomascita - yes, I did make the box frame myself using an A3 sheet of 300gsm watercolour paper cut to size and glued at each corner.

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