An Immigrant Garden


The garden is lush and green from the cold and wet spring – a condition that plants love so the garden is in good shape. In spring one is engulfed by the garden. Cleaning up leaves and twigs, pruning, weeding, edging, carrying away refuse, mulching, deadheading blossoms – it is endless.


This year my goal is to identify all of my perennials with genus species names and the native range of the plants. The garden is a collection of over 275 perennials from around the world. This has inspired my garden name, “An Immigrant Garden”. Plants have been traveling/migrating around the earth since the beginning of photosynthesis.

It takes 100 hours of labor for the garden to look good enough before I can sit back and enjoy the verdant splendor. In this brief moment during the longest days of the year I want to be a stone in my garden – just sitting still in solitude and peace surrounded by my immigrant friends.

Photos in order: Entrance to garden, Rockii tree peony native to Japan, Harrison’s yellow rose bred in Scotland, Shimanishiki tree peony native to Japan, orange Geum a native to Asia, Africa, and New Zealand, and purple Salvia from Europe.

Happy summer everyone, Nancy


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Sorting it out


Several years ago I came into possession of a small plant collection of herbarium specimen mounts. While sorting through the collection many ideas surfaced for bookwork. My plan for organization seemed to change daily. It was easy to say, “I’ll do this”, but I have taken it slowly and made numerous schematic drawings listing what I already knew about the topic with suggestions of what I wanted to research. With further research and discovery the project grew. One of the most helpful working displays still in use is a large triptych painting on which post-it notes of information and ideas are tacked. It helps me physically see the relationship between information and keeps the project real and open. It is a large puzzle, an enigma really, and I continue to process data by moving tags around as my ideas change and develop.


Thanks for reading this post.



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Snowflakes in the Sanctuary 2017

In memory of Liliane


Snowflakes suspended in the sanctuary.

In the Gospel books created between 600 and 1000 BCE scribes used their knowledge of the Pythagorean theorem and simple geometrical tools to develop a characteristic style of decoration that integrated complex interlacing geometric designs. This style of illumination succinctly illustrated the early Christian principle of God’s existence everywhere, from the smallest microcosm to the largest macrocosm.


Folded squares of paper ready to cut and stacks of cut snowflakes.


A hand-cut snowflake exhibits similar traits and a square of paper, any size, folded into triangles with shapes cut out of it creates a lacey 6-sided design. The resulting repetition and variation of designs are endless.


 Ken and Jesse hang the installation.

This year there are approximately 850 snowflakes distributed in the Church of Universal Fellowship on Orono, Maine. The hanging installation consists of 540 hand-cut snowflakes and the remaining 310 snowflakes are found in the altar vestments, musical instruments, hymnals, bibles, window ledges, tables, and collection plates.



Altar cloth and bookmark and collection plate

The hanging installation is composed of 540 hand-cut snowflakes made from 250 sheets (19 by 25 inches) of Finch opaque white paper. The snowflakes were sewn into 60 lines with 700 feet of white all-purpose sewing thread and hung from 6 lines (150 feet of fishing line) and tied onto 2 four-foot metal strips attached into the molding on either side of the sanctuary. The work hangs over 13 feet above the floor and is approximately 8 feet wide by 5 ½ feet in height and 40 inches in depth.img_0425

Thanks for reading this entry.


Nancy Leavitt  website


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Snowflake Gingerbread Houses

This gallery contains 11 photos.

This blog is dedicated to the memory of Liliane, a creative spirit and friend. This year I made snowflake gingerbread houses for my nieces and nephews to use as a refuge for fun and imagination. The houses are constructed of … Continue reading

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Nature and Art


The landscape

A garden is a living collaboration of nature and art. Flowers are lovely but secondary to the importance of the color green. Composed of numerous shapes and volumes of plants, it is a tapestry of green woven from a variety of leaf textures and colors. It takes approximately 100 hours of weeding, digging, edging, and mulching to get the garden ready for the annual Peony Garden Tour in June. Over 100 garden enthusiasts toured the gardens this year and now we head into high summer. The garden is beautiful and a wonder to behold.

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Foxglove and peonies




Hand-lettered labels


Stone stairway to south garden




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Snowflakes in the Sanctuary

DSC03238The sanctuary at the Church of Universal Fellowship in Orono, Maine is decorated with snowflakes during Epiphany. DSC03218

SNOWFLAKES IN THE SANCTUARY offered an opportunity to work in a different medium and in a much larger scale than my bookwork. I created a design for the installation and began cutting snowflakes in late October. And, during the Christmas season I offered two snowflake-cutting workshops at the church for members and visitors to create snowflakes for use in the installation.






The hanging was created with paper snowflakes hung with thread and fishing line and suspended 12 feet up on facing walls. They move with any slight breeze and when the lights are on, cast shadows on the wall. The paper is Finch opaque bright white and is archival, strong, and thin enough for crisp folding.




The pastor’s stole and altar and pulpit cloths were made with layers of transparent blue and turquoise organza and glitter tulle. The paper snowflakes were sandwiched in between the fabric layers and embroidered by hand to keep them in place.

And finally, individual snowflakes were placed in each hymnal. DSC03236

It was a fun project. Thanks for reading this post.


website                     Priscilla Juvelis, bookdealer



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Plant Speaks, 1


Plants Speak, 1. 2015. Manuscript #109. 11 x 6-1/8 x ¾ inches. 54 pages.

DSC02301Since September 2014 my research has involved culling through historical papers, correspondence, and publications on the subject of early Maine botanists at the University of Maine Special Collections, Orono campus. Reading historical information and actual correspondence gives one the excitement of renewed discovery and alternate research directions. This project continues to grow and requires endless categorizing to keep the information and ideas organized. It is a puzzle – a big puzzle. . .

DSC02230This is the first in a series of books inspired by a discarded herbarium collection now in my possession. A herbaria or plant mount is a rectangular sheet of paper with a pressed and dried plant specimen attached to it. A label identifies the genus species name of the plant, the collector, the herbarium, and notes and location where the plant was found. This discarded collection contains specimens from as far away as India and from as early as 1817.

The text is by the artist and also plant labels and a botanical list of pondweed from found herbaria. Potamogeton (po·ta·mo·ge·ton, from the Latin, potamos: a current or brook and geiton: a neighbor as adjoining one’s ground) is a large genus of aquatic herbs called pondweed, which are important as food for waterfowl and are found in quiet waters worldwide with the greatest diversity found in temperate regions of North America.

The illustrations are watery landscapes and line drawings of Potamogeton natans L. The book is painted and lettered in watercolor on Katie MacGregor handmade paper and Arches text wove papers. The painted paper binding and clamshell box were completed by Joelle Webber of Mermaid Bindery.


Thanks for reading this blog.

Nancy Leavitt

Priscilla Juvelis

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