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"Rosie Repeats"

When I see a work again by Rosie Kelly after some years have passed, I realize how much I needed the reminder of wonder and joy. I hope that you enjoy these “Rosie Repeats” this second time around as much as or more as the first time.

Rosie Kelly
….is a force of nature. An invisible hand touches the top of her head and all manner of beauty and joy pour directly out from her fingertips. That is not to say she doesn't have blocks. She does. She works tenaciously. And then waits: for her muse. I know Rosie. She cusses. And tries not to. But a sense of urgency and passion and gratitude take possession of her.

Decades ago when we started our study group we quickly learned, "Don't sit next to Rosie". We would “show and tell” around the table: an envelope job here, sketches from a workshop there, certificate workups here, a poetry commission there. And then it would come round to Rosie. Quietly, shyly she would begin bringing out finished book after finished book…. five, six, seven each month. No cookie cutters. Each one original and dazzling! Finally, after the last one she would look up sheepishly, wondering if they were okay. Every face looked stunned. An awkward silence ensued. If anyone ventured praise, her response would be “Really?” She just couldn't quite accept praise. Then the next unfortunate person at the table would utter “I have nothing!”

If asked “What paper was that?” or “What nib did you use?” or “What color was that?” Rosie would have the deer in headlights look. She created. She did not analyze. But over the years she started taking notes and answering every inquiry. And then she started teaching: her books and paste papers. USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, conferences, weekend workshops, and more, all late in life. Her book “Beyond Paste Papers: Artists' Books” was published in 2012. Newberry Library Purchase Prize Awards rained down on her. Everyone who saw her books adored their joyous energy. And still she found it hard to accept the accolades.

Well, these little videos are meant to celebrate a solitary brilliance: a joy and gratitude for being given the chance to create. Boy, did she! We love you Rosie and your unpredictable, rebellious, loving, laughing, humble, living works you have bequeathed to us. Thank you.

TITLE: "Mother Earth"


size: approx. 6” x 12” open, handmade Japanese papers, vellum paper, collage, paste papers, metal nibs charcoal pencil, pointed brush, glass pen, Doctor Martin’s Bleedproof White, inks, gouaches.


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