As I’m working in the studio I often glance at a favorite quote by R. L. Stevenson:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest that you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”

It reminds me that the results of each day’s work aren’t always immediately apparent, which helps me to stay focused on the process. Taking the form of a sestina, The Seeds You Plant explores the importance of trusting ourselves, and not letting others judge our creative process.

The box’s lid slides open to reveal six silk-lined compartments, each of which holds a numbered accordion book. With the help of a ribbon loop, each book can be lifted out in sequence; in this way, the poem unfolds one stanza at a time. Each booklet/stanza alludes to a stage of the growth cycle: seed, roots, stem, leaves, flower, fruit.

Book covers are decorated with a variety of papers, including washi, marbled and hand-stamped. Pages are creamy heavyweight Rives printed with archival inks., and on the back are 19C black & white botanical illustrations on hand-colored backgrounds. A vellum envelope contains a card printed with the sestina’s envol, as well as six iridescent bronze paper seeds.

On the bottom of the box is a colophon with my artist’s statement, which offers some background on the structure of the sestina & illustrates how, as the envol, Stevenson’s quote determined the “shape” of the poem.

More details on sestinas, as well as the making of this project, can be read in this blog post.

Dimensions & Details ~

Box: 8⅞ x 6½ x 2¾ inches

(22.3x16.5x6.9 cm)

Individual accordion books:   2¼ x 2¼ x ⅜ inches; extending to 8⅝ inches when open

(5.5x5.5x.375 cm; 21.9 cm)


Found wooden box

Various papers (Heavyweight Rives/Marbled paper/Washi papers/Papers decorated

with hand-carved stamps/Fabriano Tiziano/Vellum

Raw silk liners

Silk & satin ribbons

Crystal & other beads/pearls

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