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Tales From The Summer Hills

Handmade book cutout page, Alice Cappa   
is a sequence of original folk tales explores
and celebrates the world of color and its energetic vibrations. Many are actually 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 within colorful hand-dyed marblings. The images took on lives of their own and the hills and hollow came alive.
More on the tales.

Marblings- composite, Alice Cappa
More  on the "Summer Hills" marblings...

The marbled illustrations for these stories preceded the writings. Each original is handmarbled (some on handmade paper) then clarified with pen and ink. Marbling involves a mix of paints or dyes floating on a gelatinous surface, pushed and swirled into patterns. Characters and scenes appeared and enlivened each one. These marblings became my "go-to" backdrops for creating the Summer Hills. Five have been included in art exhibits.*

  Yarntalk, -You Do What With Our Wool?
Bookcover: YarnTalk, Alice Cappa
SnoBelle desperately wants a shawl,
handwoven, hand-dyed, and hand spun, like the ones she sees SHE-Curly making from across the fence. SnoBelle's family of ewes and lambs, including ornery Uncle PupEye, ignore her. Except for Gramma Filene, who offers a little help now and then. But SnoBelle, independent and stubborn, follows her own adventures, each one offering insights and more questions into the process. Can a lamb make her own shawl? Follow SnoBelle through lost woodsy trails, or sudden break-aways into the house, and a slippery rescue in a hurricane.
   In process, this illustratecd chapter book includes steps in fiber arts processing, and an appendix of continued activities for kids to try their hand at spinning, dyeing, and weaving.
More on SnoBelle's story.

 Page layouts, YarnTalk, Alice Cappa

Illustrations for each double-page color layout began with photos of the sheep. The sheep family has descended from many cross-breeds, and the book characters reflect their many colors and textures for varied spinning, weaving, and dyeing.
The appendix offers more info on sheep, on natural dyes, and continued fiberart activities for kids.



As an artist and teacher,
I know from the many folkarts
festivals I've participated in
that storytelling is one of the most
highly featured and well-attended events.
Truth or fiction,
we are hungry for old legends,
fairytales, and narratives that
provide insight and transport us
to another time and place.
Read them quietly to yourself,
outside with nature, or share with
others in a cozy corner.
And follow a little more
about the stories' progress,
or the live sheep and actual processes
that inspired them in the blog.


The energy of a color
is important.
Each character or tail,
each chapter in a lamb's
progress, illustrates this principle.
Color is depicted in many shades,
many moods.
Certainly, pale ice blue pulses
a different rhythm than
a vibrant,
active teal.
Veridian gives a far different
impression than jade,
just as a soft blush
varies from cerise.
Each has its place.



Tales From The Summer Hills:
1. The Jujubee Tree (marbled colors, transformation)
Story within: Jujubee Tree
2. Wilbro's Coat Of Many Faces (whirled purples, force & form)
3. Jason's Goose, Hannah (peach & amber, reflections)
4. Justin's Dream (rainbows, fantasy)
5. Legend Of The Grand Hill Giant (reds, courage)
Story within: Grand Hill Giant
6. Joscelyn's Golden Basket (yellows, mindset)
Story within: Tarreljeff, the elf
7. The Emerald Basin (greens, growth)
8. The Falcon's Silver Necklace (blues, peace)
Story within: Azure, the falcon


1. Gramma's Yarns (colors?)
2. What's A Shawl? (yellows)
3. The Rules (greens)
4.Weavers Weave (oranges)
5. Spinners Spin (purples)
6. PupEye Arrives (browns, ash)
7. PupEye Does (browns, ash)
8. Blue Sheep (blues)
9. Hurricane (reds)
10. Wool and a Party (whites)
11. Mr. Shears (rainbows)


    "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

 ... The twins watch SHE-Curly dump a basket of mulberries into a large black pot. Into another she adds deep, dark walnut hulls. Into each she adds yarn. The steam rises and the dyes begin to simmer.
    "My shawl will be Wooly Green," SnoBelle interrupts.
    "Baah! - did you ever see a green sheep? Or purple? Maybe magenta? Like berries?"
     SnoBelle does not want to argue and edges away. "Actually, I AM going to get a shawl", she insists.
    ... "Come with me," SnoBelle suddenly calls to the other lambs. "I'll show you Colors!"
     "Can't," counters Angel. "SHE-Curly shut the gate this morning. Besides, we don't want to play with you."
    The lambs watch SnoBelle's face fall, then look back across the drive. She'd gone off on adventures without telling them! Twice!

"Spinners Spin", YarnTalk, Alice Cappa

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