Literature & Poetry
by JEFF SPRY Cascade A&E Feature Writer
Bend artist Kelley Salber has a fascination with all things miniature. An explorer of art and words her whole life, her tiny bookshelf treasures are custom-crafted to her client’s reading desires and youthful dreams. No two of these intriguing miniaturized masterpieces are alike, being carefully created with painstaking detail and realism.
“I’ve been infatuated with books and miniature things since I was a little girl and made little miniature landscapes out of bark and things I found outside,” said Salber. “I’ve always been a fan of bold bright colors and texture. The little bookcase series started with a piece called Seven Billion Souls… And Each One Has A Story. I was watching a Tom Cruise movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and the spy team hopped from Moscow to Mumbai and I was amazed at how many people there were everywhere.”
Salber grew up in the wilds of Montana and moved here to Bend where the Central Oregon population is low.
“I was stunned with how many people were milling about in these huge cities and so impressed with the idea that everyone was important and had a story and it got me contemplating things. I did that piece in 2012 when there were seven billion people on the Earth and that’s why I titled the art that way.”
One of the bookcases formed from a recycled book, The Collected Works, operates on that same concept. It’s a collection of “good reads” books representing the incalculable individual stories that create our complex tapestry of history.
Her miniature wooden bookcases came about due to her obsession with books and a fundraising project for Atelier 6000 in Bend where artists were all given a section of 2X4 and told to do something with it and bring it back to auction off.
“I got the idea for a little bookshelf and really liked it. I try to recycle old books to make journals or art pieces. They come from garage sales, thrift stores, library sales and donations from friends who are moving and need to get rid of books. Sometimes I have the book I need for a particular piece and sometimes I have to go in search of one. Each tiny book is made from book board or foam core with added decorative paper or print paper and some paper I hand marble. Every book art piece is very labor intensive and tedious but I love it.”
Salber savors books for their portability and because books tend to lead toward deeper contemplation. Her wonderfully whimsical works resonate with strains of toys and childhood.
“I’m finishing a custom order right now with the theme of The Wizard Of Oz,” she said. “I actually printed some backgrounds and textures for the Yellow Brick Road and have rainbow colors and a little magic wand and a little Toto and tiny ruby slippers. And I always put quotes on the spines of the books or philosophical phrases to contemplate.”
Each finished novelty bookcase or book collection is a window into the stories of life and the accumulated memories, images and tales we absorb through life.
“People are really drawn to the simple concept of books on bookshelves, it’s comforting and it’s familiar. I have people look at them and get really excited by the endless possibility of what can be created and discovering the hidden messages. They’re just really fun and they make me happy and smile.”
Salber’s sensational art can be seen inside Hood Avenue Art at 357 West Hood Avenue in downtown Sisters. 971-570-6811
Kiersten White, the bestselling author of the popular teen trilogy, Paranormalcy, has known she would be a writer for as long as she could remember. “Reading has always been my favorite activity,” she comments. “It was a very natural transition from being an avid reader and lover of stories to being a writer, where I could create my own stories to share with others.”
As a child, she was hopeful that her career would lead her to become an illustrator, as well. “It turns out they like you have artistic talent in order to be an illustrator. Alas, I have none,” White lamented. That’s why, for her most recent novel, she collaborated with Portland artist, Jim Di Bartolo, to create a work split between words and images.
Di Bartolo, like White, predicted his career path at a young age. He was inspired to draw and paint images by both his father, who himself was an artist, and the Sunday cartoons. Di Bartolo has partnered with writers on several books, including Lips Touch: Three Times, a 2009 National Book Award finalist written with his wife, Laini Taylor.
The novel co-authored with White, In the Shadows, has been Bartolo’s “dream project.” White created such “lyrical, lovely, and creepily wondrous text chapters,” Di Bartolo applauds. “Words are true artistry, and [White’s] ability to create such whole, unique characters is breathtaking.”
In the Shadows follows the lives of sisters, Cora and Minnie, who live in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house and their father is gone. They suspect that the woman up the hill from them may be a witch.
Thomas and Charles are brothers who have been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt, from which they vainly try to escape.
Arthur is also new to the boarding house. His fate is tied to those of Cora, Minnie, Thomas, and Charles. One day, Arthur inexplicably discovers he knows of the specific forces that are working in the shadows, manipulating fates and crafting conspiracies. The closer Cora, Minnie, Arthur, Thomas and Charles get to the truth, the closer they get to harm. But the forces threaten not only their safety. They threaten the entire world. It just remains to be seen whether the group can act quickly enough to save it.
The book, released on April 29, is now on shelves nationwide.
Beverly Hills Book Awards announces Red White Black, a book by Central Oregon’s highly acclaimed author Rick Steber, has been chosen as a double award winner in the categories of Best Western and Best Non-Fiction Western Region.
The Beverly Hills Book Awards is an international competition open to all English language books. In selecting winners, a panel of judges from all aspects of the book industry – publishers, writers, editors and copywriters – considered a wide range of criteria including the quality of writing, content, cover design and aesthetic components. Red White Black was the only double award winner in this year’s competition.
Red White Black tells the true story of race and rodeo at the 1911 Pendleton Round-Up. Three men of different skin colors – Jackson Sundown, John Spain and George Fletcher – are brought together during the finals of the Northwest Saddle Bronc Championship. What happened that September day, the judges’ decision and the reaction of the crowd in the aftermath, forever changed the sport of rodeo, and the way the emerging West was to look at itself.
Jackson Sundown was on the Nez Perce retreat, but rather than surrender at Bear Paw with his uncle, Chief Joseph, he escaped to Canada and lived with Sitting Bull. He returned to the United States as a fugitive and eventually, at age 53, Sundown became the first man of color to win the All-Around title at the Pendleton Round-Up.
John Spain was from white pioneering stock. When Buffalo Bill brought his Wild West show to Oregon in 1902, John and his brother were inspired to form a show of their own. They traveled the Northwest with a string of bucking horses and put on riding exhibitions. After a roping accident cost John his right hand, he had to learn to ride with his off-hand and made a comeback at the Pendleton Round-Up.
At the outbreak of World War I, the cowboys of Eastern Oregon formed their own cavalry unit, Troop D. George Fletcher, an African American, tried to join, but Jim Crow, the strict segregation of the races, was the law of the land and George was not allowed to join his peers. He was drafted into the segregated Army, served in France, was wounded and never again was able to compete in the sport of rodeo.
Rick Steber is an engaging western personality with more than 30 titles under his belt and over a million books in print. Rick has won numerous national and international awards, and in addition to being chosen as a double Beverly Hills Book Awards winner, he is the only Oregon author to have won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award – Best Western Novel.