broken china

Oh, broken china.

Cold moon. Bitter winds blow.

An heirloom lays in pieces.

                                           – Tina Hudak

My mother-in-law was so generous with meaningful gifts handed down to my husband and me. Among these are many odds and ends of delicate espresso cups and saucers made in France, Japan, and Belgium. Yet with a careless move, one breaks. It is not only the object but the heart that is shattered.


A blessed winter




Not in the gutteral fragments

of the broken words,

But in the singing of the birds,

in the whispering of the leaves

Where life speaks, and the

soul find rest.

Tina Hudak 1995©
Watercolor by Sam Graul 1996©

“The conflict between man and nature seems to have been one of the bases of Western civilization. In Japan, on the other hand, man has usually lived as part of nature, being embraced by it and commingling with it…”

art materials

Selected materials are exacto knife, scissors, stencils, pastels, bookbinding glue, bonefolder, digital scanner.

A downpour with no drama – no winds or thunder; all, silent and vertical. Dusk is misplaced today.

“Sea and Silence” by Deuter is playing softly.  I slice and cut; glue and tear-away; fold and observe.

Browsing through my book collection of artist’s books, long before the Internet, my right and left brain(s) are rattled to life – together.  Did they forget that they were a team during my day job of constant interaction? I fear so. I play with ideas on the assembly of parts, but nothing whole appeals to me. I go to bed with a trust I have not felt in a long time. A trust that “it” will work out.

This is a humbling experience. For as I regain my belief with this small act, there is the larger reminder that nothing is permanent.  It is all for in the now in my life.  Somehow this sense of impermanence brings a great relief as my eyes close, and the cat purrs.

art supplies close-up

I love patterns. While I play the piano with simple skill, it is the patterns of the music that always appeals to me visually.

Doing justice to the nature of the materials is my hope.


Oak, Hideyuli.  How to wrap 5 more eggs: Traditional Japanese packaging. New York: Weatherhill, 1984.  Print.


garish choices in acrylic paint

Is it hard to play?

This afternoon I plunged into art supplies scattered about me, slapping down paint and shapes – not much to my liking.  Formerly, I have used pots of acrylic paint with my book arts, but for some reason this has shifted to pastel. I find the colors hard and garish. I acknowledge that this has a fuller existential meaning (this, for another day).

I pause to consider that which lay before me. Ugh. Whatever it is, it is clearly not working. My “head” is intruding and insisting a reliance on the past. Known medium. Familiar brushes. After washing out my brushes, and tenderly placing them on the drying rack, I stop again and pause. Throughout my years creating numerous artists books and two-dimensional commissioned pieces, these same, inexpensive brushes brought at a local hardware store have serve me faithfully, and well. I feel a tenderness toward these instruments which slide effortlessly into the curves of my hands. It is not the brushes, nor is it the paint.

Bundling myself in well-worn scarf – a gift from my youngest son years ago – and slipping into my simple midnight blue coat, and greeting the cold air and a sky the color of turtle doves’ downy feathers, I step into the winter light. I leave, so upon returning I may play.



I always find that these winter months are a time when I hunker down emotionally and physically.  Like the cycles of seasons, the time of quiet and stillness lends itself to reflection.  Reflection without judgment or guilt.  Reflection giving room for a personal Spring.

This piece was done in 2007, and it is still relevant in my life today.  It is not that I do not love what I do; rather, it is not who I am.

pen and paper 002

Printed in Summer, 2007 at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Handmade paper, image, and text by Tina Hudak.  Letterpress on a Vandercook Proofing Press using original Optima Sans Serif typeface; printers, Tina Hudak and Beth Schaible.  Initial woodblock letter is hand pressed and hand coloured by TH.

Not-to-be-Eaten Editions. 12 prints with 4 AP.

Dedicated to Delia Neuman and Sarah Pillsbury.

first snow


On a night such as last night many years ago, with a silent, steady snow blanketing as far as my eye could see, I had been working away in my cozy second floor studio.  At an old yellowed pine drafting table facing the window, I looked up often, in between bookbinding for another artist, to savor the view. Japanese hinge after Japanese hinge creating a rhythm to the falling snow, also creating an inner stillness.  This was my holy night.

First Snow

The soft white

Japanese paper running

through efficient fingers

as scissors clip, and brushes glue.

Quickly!  Quickly!

The silent white

snowflakes, gentle and soothing

fall purposefully into their beds

on a winter night,



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