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Hazel Kahan

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Hazel's background is as varied as her artwork. Born in India, raised in Pakistan and schooled in England, she has lived in Australia and Israel but now calls Long Island, New York home. After earning a PhD in psychology and working in the corporate world, she left to live a simpler life in the woods. Being in the woods has given her a very special connection to trees and their leaves at several levels. Being surrounded by them has allowed her to see the individuality of each leaf, to follow the first appearance in the spring though the journey as shapes and colors change through the seasons. Her respect for leaves can be seen in her "leafages", creations in which leaves are intertwined with words from writers, poets and philosophers as well as legends she invents, along with imaginary botanical names, about the magical properties of the tree. Most recently, she has developed a series of Emily Dickinson leafages in which the poet's words are woven into leaves that Hazel picked from the plants and trees in Emily's garden in Amherst, Massachusetts. She has also produced a 2008 calendar titled "Save What's Left" through which she hopes to share her concern about the environment with other kindred spirits.

Hazel's inspiration for the Grove of Books bookplate for BookCrossing came one afternoon as she sat reading a book under one of the trees in her woods. As in a dream, the connection between the trees and the book came alive, as she saw the pages in the trees, felt the branches and leaves in the book and understood that they share the same roots. As with Keats for whom, "sudden a thought came like a full-blown rose," she went into her studio and wrote: " The books are in the trees, the trees are in the books" and so the Grove of Books was born. The leaves come from a eucalyptus tree in Jerusalem.

Grove of Books
11" x 14" created with pressed eucalyptus leaves and calligraphy in pen and ink

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