Book of Love

I have had this post in draft form for more than a week, but life has been quite hectic and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and finish it. I have studio time today and it’s been one of those mornings where nothing works out, hitting walls and everything is feeling like a dead end. So I decided to have at least one productive thing happen this morning, and that is to finish this blog post!

I wrote about my book “M(Other) Love” that Hanne and I collaborated on, but I don’t think I have mentioned Hanne’s book yet which is called “Book of Love”. She sent this note with her book and not only does it capture the theme of her book perfectly, but it is inspiring as well.


If you click on the images, it will take you to my flickr page where you can find better images of the individual pages.

{I added encaustic paint, a trasnfer, and a quote on top of Hanne’s mixed media page.}

So, when I opened up Hanne’s book, which was not yet bound, I was pulled in by the warm whiteness of all her pages. And the texture. She had added with photos, fabric, or stitches on all the pages. But the palette of the book was decidedly white, a soft, comforting white.

{I added fabric, paint and a quote to Hanne’s page on the left. I didn’t add to her page on the right.}

I set myself to work in her book and on top of her already collaged pages. It was a little nerve racking with thoughts like, “will she be upset if I paint over that? Or “what if I totally ruin it?” But I took a deep breath and with the knowledge, that this is what co-creating is about- letting go, seeing what happens, exploration. And really, art shouldn’t be taken so seriously. So what if I mess up a page, it’s not the end of the world! There are much more serious things happening in the world, creating art is a happy place, not a scary one.

{I added the nest image and encaustic paint on top of Hanne’s page the left. The tree page is Hanne’s, which I didn’t touch.}

And so I began.


On some pages I added encaustic to the pages and my own imagery dipped in wax and then laid over her imagery.

{I added to both pages. Covering up some of Hanne’s previous work and adding my own bits and pieces here and there.}

On others, I collaged and painted with acrylic, and added a bit of doodling in graphite.


The right side of this spread was created by Hanne. I played off the hands with my own acrylic gel transfer of a photo I took of my mother-in-law’s hands holding my son when he was 5 months old. The words are from that pretty well known verse in Corinthians that begins with “Love is…”

{The left side is mainly Hanne’s, but I added the black circles and the two words “gather” and “nourish” in graphite. The right side is an image of my son when he was probably 2 years old.}


This is my favorite page I did.

After I finished up my contributions, I packaged up the book and shipped it back to Denmark for Hanne to complete the book and finish its transformation. And transform, it did! If you go to her flickr site, she created an album just for this book. You can see that she re-arranged the pages, changed some of what I did, and then added transparent overlays with statements of love.

Our books are now in Vilnius, Lithuania, for the 6th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius 2012. I am so thrilled to be part of the exhibit and I am also so honored that my book was featured in Book Arts Newsletter published out of the UK. I never thought I’d read “Bridgette Guerzon Mills (Chicago, USA) in an international publication.

I am so grateful to Hanne for inviting me to collaborate with her, and for the work that was pulled out of me with both of the books. I learned so much and processed quite a bit while working on both of our books. A wonderful collaboration from beginning to end. And our books will now continue on their own journey…


  1. Bridgette (and Hanne), this is so beautiful, I cried when I saw it. Not just the poignant art, but the whole concept, and the thought that it has travelled from Denmark to the USA and back to Denmark and then on to Vilnius for such a special exhibition. I just love everything about it.

    And may I ask a technical question? I had always thought of your encaustic work as being on a stiff baseboard. But you seem to have worked on quite soft paper, and even perhaps, over fabric? I’ve not yet ventured into encaustic but was indexing how I could incorporate it into a fabric book. I don’t et have equipment, but saw an inexpensive temp-controlled electric wok and thought that would be good for dipping pieces of muscling or calico therein. I must re-read your recent magazine article again for guidance.

    Thankyou both again for sharing this Book of Love. It came at just the right time for me, after a difficult day. LoL. XX

  2. Thanks you both! Ann- I emailed you separately, but just in case other people are wondering about your paper and encaustic question, I’ll answer it here. Encaustic and paper are definitely compatible. I think that when one is first learning how to paint in encaustic, it’s important to learn the “rules”, ie paint on a rigid, absorbant surface. Then, go on and try painting on paper. You can dip paper in medium, you can create monotype prints with encaustic paint on paper, you can paint directly on paper. Try it out and see what you think!

  3. What a gorgeous and meaningful collaboration. The pages here are such a beautiful blend of the two of you. And I know from experience how daunting but ultimately exciting it is to work on top of the work of others. You too have created something extra special Bridgette. Sensational!!

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