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a coming of sage

"Pouring your soul into

your work is opening your

heart to the world."

- Jet Widick

Exactly one year ago today, I received a text message from a dear friend and respected designer, Kristen Alden of North Coast Post. She asked if I might have a spare moment for a call because she had something fun and exciting to share with me. I was instantly intrigued because anything involving Kristen is a good thing.

Her call came in from Michigan during a rainy lunch break, and sitting in my car in the middle of a Lowe's Home Improvement parking lot, she asked if I would be interested in hand lettering a book of poetry for a passionate, intentional soul.

Excitement rushed in accompanied by a tympani of rain song. About to say yes, Kristen added that there might be an opportunity for me to try my hand at illustration as well. The initial feeling of anticipation instantly hit a wall, and I became acutely aware of my comfort zone and how compactly it seemed to fit in my little Toyota Corolla with the rain pouring down all around me in a safe, secure, unseen way.

Having launched Lacelit only a year before, identifying myself as an artist was still very new to me. The word "illustration" was in no uncertain terms reserved for the many role models I had collected over the years in my vast list of inspirations.

Pulse quickening in a way that I always know means that I am going to do something bolder than I feel, I told her I was extremely honored and interested. I preceded to ask a million questions about the scope of the project, timeline, expectations, style direction, etc.

She answered them all, sharing the vision and concept behind the book, and telling me about Jet Widick, the creative behind Gluten Free Sage. Jet was a thoughtful blogger who shared her experiences surviving and thriving through thirteen years of Celiac disease, offering inspiration for healthy living in all aspects of life through words and ideas and recipes. My resolve deepened as I heard more about this courageous woman.

I accepted the offer, and we arranged to complete the first poem as an audition of sorts to make sure both Jet and Kristen were comfortable with my style--something I wasn't entirely sure of myself yet.

The first poem was a success, and the next five months were spent stretching my imagination, discovering a deep love of illustration, learning about meaningful collaboration, and creating something together that we could not have done alone.

Sage Words is a beautiful culmination of three passionate hearts. Each page is filled with the thoughtful words of Jet, my illustration and hand lettering, and color/design by Kristen. My sincerest gratitude to these two wonders for sharing their art and light with the world, and inviting me to be part of it.


Thursday, Nov. 3, I'm hosting a 3-way conversation with Jet and Kristen here on the blog. Join the makers of Sage Words for a window into the process behind the poetry and vision, art direction and illustration process. We'll share about our roles and what made this a dream project for each of us.

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Welcome to the personal blog of of Kimberly Kuniko, a Nikkei American illustrator, collage artist, poet, and host of cozy, virtual guided creative retreats with a new theme each month.

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