Monday, December 25, 2017

Stars of Wonder

A standout holiday memory comes from 1991 when I discovered author/illustrator Patricia Polacco's book Uncle Vova's Tree. It tells the story of grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents, and children who gather at the family's Michigan farmhouse to celebrate Christmas in the Russian tradition that is their heritage. Part of the story involves the children's making colorful paper stars with their Uncle Vova.

I bought the book immediately. I wanted us to make Uncle Vova stars for our tree! I rounded up bright color markers, streamers, scissors, glue, and bamboo kabob sticks, set up an impromptu workshop space, and my kids and I totally immersed ourselves. It was one of those little press-pause pockets of stillness that can make all the rush and commercialism and curmudgeonly feelings that often overtake the holiday fall away, leaving only light and joy in their place.

The best!



I made new vova stars this year, in keeping with my longstanding tradition of creating an edition of handmade ornaments each year. The fun this time came from painting them. I started somewhat inauspiciously in the quiet of a day in February, covering a sheet of paper intuitively. Continued more enjoyably on a soon-to-follow snow day. The next day, really got a groove going. Kept my mojo in gear. Probably got a little too smug, because soon thereafter all hell broke loose!

But what fun I had tracing star shapes on the back of my two pages of painting, cutting out those stars, and then playing with the volunteer mini-compositions that emerged on the opposite side!

Vova stars, group photo
Vova star, individual portrait
Vova star, individual portrait
Vova star, individual portrait
Vova star, individual portrait
Vova star, individual portrait


8 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas!!! What exquisite stars!! What a wonderful tradition!

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  2. You gave us that book and some stars years ago. Such FUN to receive a new star this year and bring Uncle Vova to the foreground again!

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    1. An enduring story and Vova stars are among my favorite Christmas ornaments every year—we have our originals from 1991; 2nd generation ones that C&E made a few years ago with Uncle Scott; Laur has a bunch she made at one point that she sets out in a glass vase each year; I have a fluffly pillow one I made for our quilted advent calendar; and now I have this year's model : )

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  3. What a gorgeous way to repurpose paintings!!!!! These are so lovely.

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  4. So fun and what a great story Dotty! Thanks for the giggle, all hell indeed! ;)

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    1. Thanks, Sheila, and I'm always happy to provide a giggle. Giggling every day should be right up there with painting every day.

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