Last week when I went down to check the mail I got goosebumps.
There was a little package from Illinois, from a farm I contacted in the course of my research for Priscilla and the Hollyhocks (the book I am illustrating right now.) The story is about a girl sold into slavery, who carries hollyhock seeds around with her as a sign of hope and connection to the place where she is from. Its a true story, and eventually the real Priscilla settled in Illinois, where she planted her seeds.
This is what was in the package. They are seeds harvested from the town where Priscilla planted her hollyhocks 150 years ago. Descendants of the flowers she coveted. I can't help but get shivers when I look at them, it makes the story so real in my mind, and gives purpose to my ridiculous 7 day a week painting schedule.
Now when I paint Priscilla, I keep a little dish of the seeds on my desk. They remind me of her courage and poetry.