Healing Power of Art

Jul 18, 2017

Wolken memorializes father with a literal "book of days"

All types of art can represent life and emotion. It is also often said that this art can help process feelings and express the deepest set of sentiments.

Missouri State University student Jennifer Rose Wolken exhibited a piece of work in May 2017 that showcased her talent in book binding and inspirational architectural vision. It also exposed her grief and helped her heal.

"The book that was exhibited at the art museum the first two weeks of May, it is a sculptural form that is based in book binding," said Wolken.

Wolken's book had 22,672 pages - one for every day her father lived

"Based in book arts, and it started as a bit of a memorial to my dad. The first idea for it was to make a book that has either a page or a leaf for every day that he lived, and so I calculated that up, and he would have loved the math involved in that. I'm not as into math as he was, but it was a fun process to calculate and taking into account leap years and all that kind of thing. He lived 22,672 days. So he died of cancer December 26th, 2015, and that's embossed on the back cover of the book. The front cover has his birthdate." 

"The making of the book itself was very cathartic for me," said Wolken. "I tea stained all of the pages. That process took about 70 hours."

The book (which turned almost into a sculptural piece) is approximately 20 feet long.

"Once we got the whole thing made and put on the pedestals at the art museum, we all talked about how his life was cut short and how sad that was, but seeing that piece representing the length of his life helped us to appreciate that he did have a long life and a very full life and so that was helpful, too."