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Tales From The Summer Hills


Writings:   Tales/Summer Hills ~ Marblings ~ YarnTalk Story
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  thumbnail marbling: - goose Tales From The Summer Hills is a sequence of original folk tales explores and celebrates the world of color and its vibrations of energy. Many are stories within stories. Here, are honored the arts in many forms: weaving & dyeing, metalcraft, herbal craft, even falconry. And here, "the quintessence..." (scroll above).
Characters and scenes in these stories originally appeared as if by magic, peeking from within colorful marblings that I hand dyed on a variety of papers. The images took on a life of their own and began to expand into portraits or scenery, or vibrant abstract illustrations.

   Then on a long-ago road trip (early '90s) down I-95, construction blocked traffic seemingly the entire length of the east coast from Virginia to Florida. We crawled for four days. I thought about the marblings and the characters began to speak. I put a pad on my knee and jotted notes while the car inched ahead. Those stories took many shapes over the years and one version, "The Grand Hill Giant", was picked up by WFSU-Radio for their "Stories In The Air". Wilbro, with his "Coat Of Many Faces", won best in short fiction with Seven Hills Review. Other characters await their turn.


thumbnail marbling: Wilbro    thumbnail marbling: tree

  thumbnail marbling: horse   thumbnail marbling: falcon
Summer Hills Marblings...
click each for more ...

The marbled illustrations
for these stories preceded the writings.

     Marbling involves a mix of paints or dyes floating on a gelatinous surface, pushed and swirled into patterns. Each original is by hand, then imprinted on a variety of papers, some handmade. When dry, they are clarified with pen and ink to render more clearly the imagery that appears through the swirls of colors. Some include metallic inks that catch the light and make their colors glisten. Instead of traditional patterns of chevrons, or paisley, characters and magical scenes appeared. A swirl of dye at the top of the page becomes a horse throwing back it's head in a cascading swirl of a waterfall. A rainbow of patterns becomes a magical coat. The white, negative space within other colors becomes the shape of a goose's head or falcon's wing. A tree grows out of the side of swirled greens. Personalities peek from within the swirls, and began unfolding their stories within my mind. These marblings became my "go-to" backdrops for creating the Summer Hills. The five have been included in art exhibits.



Each of the titles demonstrate a theme or priniciple for the lead character regarding the many expressions of color. Several are stories within stories.

1. "The Jujubee Tree" with a theme of transformation, tells of the foot journey of Granya, a hand-spinner and storyteller,
with Babitt and Ranier, her grandchildren, to reseed the lost magic of the eroded Summer Hills. Granya's "storybeads" reveal the power of color, each corresponding to a story from the enchanted land within. Theme: marbled colors, transformation. Story within: Jujubee Tree.

2. "The Coat Of Many Faces" with a theme of energy follows form, and the vibrations of purples and lavenders, tells of Wilbro, an inspired fiber-artist, as he is energized by a dramatic storm and creates a magnificent coat. Theme: whirled purples; force and form.

3. "Jason's Goose, Hannah" with a theme of like attracts like, is a short vignette of a country craftsman and his pet on a visit, where Hannah finds herself in a mirroring reflection of Jason. Theme: shades of peach, ambers and orange; reflection.

4. "Justin's Dream" - Parallel stories of Wilbro, the visionary artist, and Justin, a colt, illustrate a theme of inner vision. Wilbro helps Justin find value in his dreams and is literally transformed by his fantasy. Rainbow hues permeate the hills. Theme: rainbows; fantasy.

5. "The Legend Of The Grand Hill Giant", a story within a story, carries a theme centering around the vibration of the primary color red, and its associations to grounding and courage. It follows Granya and Bon Rosalie, the falconer, on a hike to the hills and relates the source of an ancient legend. Theme: reds; courage. Story within: Grand Hill Giant.

6. "Joscelyn's Golden Basket" has a theme of imprinting the subconscious and illustrates the primary color yellow. A folktale demonstrates a principle of mind and thought. Joscelyn, the children's mother, evaluates her many collections. Theme: yellows; mindset. Story within: Tarreljeff, the elf.

7. "The Emerald Basin" revolves around the theme of growth. A mysterious letter triggers elderly Granya to a coming to terms with old judgments and fears she thought long buried. The vitality and balancing vibration of the color green characterizes the font of the Summer Hills magic. Theme: greens; growth.

8 . "The Falcon's Silver Necklace", also a story within a story, illustrates the vibration of the third primary color, the peaceful, yet invigorating blue. Bon Rosalie is involved in a quest for identity, or determining personal essence vs. outward roles, with two tales of unique birds of the Summer Hills. Theme: blues; peace. Story within: Azure, the falcon.

Each story is somewhat sequential as it carries characters throughout their experiences from spring to fall.



A magical land born of lava and mist, it evolved iwth time, carved and flowed, then deepened and rose, and blossomed. But something was wrong. A debilitating force yellowed its leaves, drained its streams, and fell like lead into its hollows. Yet for the people of the hills, life went on, for most, unaware, unchanging.

   "The Summer Hills are legendary. Here is a storied place of burgeoning folklore that drew kith and kin from across the river to settle where they could release the stress of urban needs. Here was a placid time when dwellers this side of the gently flowing currents pulled back from a coarser workaday world to quieter times when they could focus their craft, replenish their spirit, and renew ties with each other in the village. It was a region of vibrant flora and fauna, charmed by the sun, enthused by the winds, and quenched by waters both flowing or deep. But the enchanting land of the Summer Hills needed help. Granya saw it, and she knew what to do.
    "I'll go!" shouted Babitt.
    Her brother scoffed. "You're too little. Take ME!" Ranier pleaded to Granya.
"Me, me, Granya!"
     "Yes, you, you," answered Granya to Babitt, and turning to Ranier, "and you, too."
    And so the trek had begun.

"The Jujubee Tree",  Tales From The Summer Hills, Alice Cappa

Meet Granya and her family: son Dalen, Joscelyn, and the kids, Ranier and Babitt. A master herbalist and spinner of both yarns and stories, she must journey through healing turns for a long-awaited dream. Armed with her story beads and legends of the hills, Granya prepares for a pivotal trek, which leads off the sequences of the other tales from spring storms to the autumn Founder's Fest.

* * * * *

Meet Bon Rosalie as she builds up her courage and her aviary with her falcons, taking heart from the legend of the Old One.

He was a giant of a man, come out of the hills in the dead of a winter's night. A strange one, he often traveled in the company of a primeval red falcon, shadowing his gait from high in the air. He first drew eyes as he walked through the village streets, torch lights flickering, reflecting from swept up snowdrifts to his rough and shaggy face. His beard was short and his coppery hair hung long from a high-browed head, and some lichens stuck fast to his whiskers. A crimson scarf bound his waist, the ends fluttering behind him.

"The Legend Of the Grand Hill Giant", Tales From The Summer Hills ~ Allice Cappa



walnut tree

      Shadowy, mossy and ferny, the deeper Hollow dipped low and wide at the banks of the stream and hollowed out a bowl shape in a rainbowed mist, between flags of iris and trunks of trees. One of those mysterious little pockets on the homestead, it had a presence of its own. The quintessence of Summer Hills energy here moved natural laws to exaggerate from sheer exuberance. Here it was that everything reached skyward. Old chestnuts and sycamores with their rough trunks and towering limbs, grew way beyond their natural limits, ringing the basin to replace the sky with an emerald canopy. And here it was that waters flowed upward, raising themselves and one's expectations as well. Perhaps, it's the pressure from surrounding hills driving them down and around the bend, surging over rocks through the dip of the hollow to give such force as would carry it high. Perhaps not.

"The Emerald Basin", Tales of the Summer Hills
~ Alice Cappa

Meet Wilbro, a fiber artist, following a mission dependent on the magical forces of the Summer Hills.

thumbnail marbling: Wilbro detail
* * * * *

Other characters such as Jason, the jeweler, with his pet, Hannah,
thumbnail marbling: goose detail
* * * * *

and Justin, the future leader
of the horse troupe,thumbnail marbling: horse detail

* * * * *

or elfin Tarraljeff and winged Azure and Bluebeard, all play their part in bringing out the story of the Hills and Hollows.

thumbnail marbling: falcon detail

* * * * *


Six Hours....
    A lone horseman galloped through the wood barely ahead of the coming storm. Exhilarated with the wind and the speed of his ride, Wilbro would reach the homestead in a fervor of excitement. "I see you," he called through the wind to the devic forces whirling around him. A silvery light sparked to his left and a scurry of tiny feet raced out of his path.
    "I hear you!" Tiny wings flapped hurriedly beside his right ear and were gone. "I'm with you," he called.
    The Summer Hills' winds caught the thundering hooves, the excited calls, the whoosh of a bird's flight and swirled them high throughout the forest. Magnified beyond reasonable range, sounds carried across treetops, mountain tops, and down into The Hollow to the homestead. The natural verve of the Summer Hills was at its highest in a storm. And this was a "power storm," coming at the height of an ecliptic cycle. Power storms amplified nature. The energy was deep, lingering in The Hollow, blowing down the twisted forest trails, soaking deeply into fibrous tissue and pushing all growth in the Summer Hills to quicken. The storm lasts but half a day - five to six hours, tops, then blows away 'til the next cycle. Acting as a conduit to the eclipse itself, the storm dispersed energy to all who would use it. And it must be used!

"The Coat Of Many Faces",  Tales of the Summer Hills
~ Alice Cappa

* * * * *

"The tiny elf?"
"With the ditch that flowed before his door,
though deep only as the heavy tread
of your Grandad's boot, to him
was vast and bottomless
and full of chilling water,
runoff from the mountain stream."

      "Yes, Granya." Jocelyn was smiling now.

      "Tarraljeff, the collector?"

        Jocelyn just grinned at Granya with raised eyebrows.

Granya swung into her story as easily as she spun her yarns.
        "Two gigantic baskets held his treasures close and he sat them in his front yard outside his door to be ready when new additions should come his way. But they were nearly full. Hardly more room left for anything at all. Two baskets full of cheer for the winning little gnome. One was filled with pebbles and stones; just stones of every shape and weight, though their dark colors were beautiful to please his eye. And the other basket was filled with feathers, light, fluffy, big and small, curly and straight, luminous all. Tarraljeff took great pleasure in his collections.
    But the dark stone basket collected something more as well. Worries.

"Joscelyn's Golden Basket", Tales of the Summer Hills
~ Alice Cappa

marbling: falcon

The Marblings
At left, "Azure" inspired the story about a mythical falcon's silver necklace. His is a story within a larger story about BlueBeard, a "real" falcon of the Summer Hills. Parts of the text become swirls within the drawing. Printed on white drawing paper.

At right, "Hannah" inspired the story about Jason, who had a pet goose who mimiced his every step. Her imagination turned these swirls of color into swirls of fabric. Printed on tan bag paper.

marbling: goose

marbling: horse

"Justin", the colt, felt an outsider, until he began to dream and use his imagination to inspire his future path. The white spaces within the swirls defined the shapes. Printed on white drawing paper.

marbling: Wilbro

"Wilbro", energized by a magnificent storm, used it's energy to create a magnificent coat, alive with the faces of his magical aides. Printed on pale drawing paper.

marbling: tree

"The Jujubee Tree" seemed to be full of fruit, growing out of the banks of a stream. It inspired the initial trek to a distant, storied place. Printed on brown bag paper.

scroll: SummerHills story 1
scroll: SummerHills story 2
scroll: SummerHills story 3
scroll: SummerHills story 4

The Scrolls

Several of the tales are printed on handmade or otherwise fibrous papers and scrolled, rolled, and nested three to a box.


Some are mounted on a backdrop of collaged papers. Some papers were first printed with a faint, overall image, such as a watermark on the background of this webpage.

Handmade book pages: tree
Handmade book pages

The Book

A montage of handmade paper pages, collaged with printed papers or cut and pasted with actual drawings, became the beginnings of a book. In between the signatures are more marbled inserts, which will be hand-sewn as part of the binding. Still in progress, there are more pages to be added: marblings, illustrations, cut-outs and pop-ups. Some collages include fibrous textures or plant leaves, blossoms, threads, spices and scents. This multi-dimensional story grew into a multi-dimensional experience.

Handmade book pages: 3
Handmade book pages: leaves
Handmade book pages: horses
Handmade book pages: roof

contact: yarntalk@alicecappa.com
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