Clarissa M Lewis


 in collaboration with Lise Melhorn-Boe


A tunnel book (diam. 7in./18 cm.), hand coloured with watercolours, tied with satin ribbon, with goose down and snowflakes attached; opens accordion style and can be viewed as looking into a well. Round paper rings held accordion style by paper hinges, with text.

From the travelling exhibition of 26 artists' books: A Book Arts Mosaic organized by Canadian Book Binders and Book Artists Guild (CBBAG).

Selected Collections (Canada): University of Toronto, University of Victoria B.C, Toronto Public Library


Size: diam: 7 in./18 cm

Expanded View

(Please see viewing note below image.)




The Catalyst for the Book

Lise had used surveys to collect women's stories for a number of her projects. My response to one of them included mention of my favourite childhood fairytale.

I realized that the Grimm Brothers' fairytale: Frau Holle  (You can read the story here.) was one of my favourites. The appeal was so strong that I felt saturated in every fibre of my being with it, feeling the heroine’s triumph to the extent of difficult-to-contain exultation. Maybe this was because I was a sensitive child, or was it because, being raised in an obsessively strict society, the story made it so easy to tell the difference between good and bad?  A perfect template for behavioural choices. I knew exactly who to cheer for. Grey was not a colour that applied to this story.  There was no grey.

Growing up as a Germangoodgirl I learned with "Deutsche Gruendlichkeid" (Teutonic thouroughness) to be tugendhaft (chaste/virtuous) and fleissig (industrious/hardworking).  With these values I coud set anything right, could accomplish anything. Simple as that, black and white. Adding Gerhorsamkeit (obedience) as the final ingredient of inner beauty, surely I would be acceptable and more importantly successful.

I was molded and shaped, shaped and molded, until finally the necessary specifications were imprinted on my personality, my character, my mind, on the way I viewed the world. Until, none of it worked any longer. 



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