Needle-felted figures and a short poem on peace make up this small artistic picture book.
In a short introduction, Nichol explains what needle felting is and how her work came to be: “All the figures in this book are people who somehow crossed paths with the artist and left an impression.” Sixteen photographs of the figures, ranging from a girl on the back of an ant to a stand-up bass player, among others, make up half the book. Each image gets one page, while the opposite side is black with white words that feature a line of the poem. The poem itself includes statements like “Peace begins now and now and now. / Every minute of every day.” Or “Peace is a practice we do / All day, every day / Forever.” With the exception of the first page, the images have little connection to the poem. For example, the first sentence, “Sometimes in the night / I dream I’m riding on the back of an ant / Looking out from my own moonland” is next to an image of a girl riding an ant. After this, however, overall statements about the significance and meaning of peace appear with individual figures or, in one case, two well-detailed white cats. Later lines are too general for the images to match their exact meaning, and the images instead portray happy people who complement the positive prospect of peace. That said, the book could function well enough as a series of images of the needle-felted creations, and the black background serves as a striking contrast to all. Each person, animal and item is unusual, and the high level of craft and dedication that went into each is obvious. In addition to the figures themselves, backgrounds are needle-felted, creating images that look like they can be touched and felt.
An impressive collection of an uncommon craft that’s worth a look for both children and adults.