Known to family and friends as Gerry, the artist and poet originated the gift poem series, Peace Leaves, for Portland, Oregon’s Hoyt Arboretum art festival. Drawing upon what nature teaches, the poems are meant to inspire, remind us of our shared humanity, and help us to live lovingly in a changing world. they are delicate gifts to tuck into a greeting or mark a page, to hang where you work or from a garden branch.
The poems are letterpressed offerings, sometimes in limited editions, using papers from many Asian countries as well as locally made papers from Oblation in Portland. Once printed the papers are die-cut into leaf shapes in a second press run.
The Oblation paper Peace Leaves are portable and perfect for receiving watercolors; Gerry often sketches on them with watercolor pencils, pens, and brushes while kayaking off Orcas Island, on the Willamette River, or while strolling along the many rivers and lakes where her husband and son fly fish. Recent stays on the Maine coast & Vermont have offered further inspiration.
Back in the studio, the paintings are finished and, for those not destined for framing, beads added, many of them hand-rolled by the artist from Peace Leaves papers or from magazines. Some of the painted leaves are matted with hand-painted, marbled or gel print background papers creating one-of-a-kind collage cards. For art play, Gerry creates garlands, wreaths and poetry hangings from ribbon, branches, poems, and found objects.
Gerry’s poetry chapbook, Mouth Toward Sky, was published in 2018 by Finishing Line Press. She has also created a limited edition hand-sewn children’s book, Child, You Are.
For over twenty years, Gerry developed and taught in high school writing programs and later helped to found the low residency MFA in Writing program at Pacific University. She is mother to a now young adult son, Nathan, and is active in peace and justice work. Her poetry has been recognized by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, the Oregon Poetry Association, and Poets Against the War. She states: “I am a poet and teacher witnessing in a changing world, exploring my roots as a fourth-generation Oregonian and living my role as steward for a fifth, mining a familiar northwest landscape for metaphor and meaning.”