Twentyone Olive Trees
Twentyone Olive Trees: A Mother’s Walk through the Grief of Suicide to Hope and Healing was a project that was deeply moving for me. Nothing could have prepared Laura Formentini for the shocking news of her son’s death by suicide. Seeking solace during her time of grief, Laura turned inward to transform her pain and shock into healing and peace. She accomplished this by writing letters, poems, and fables to her son, Blaise, in the year after his untimely death.
I was immediately moved, not only by her tragic loss, but also by her determination to transform her pain and grief into healing and peace and to gift this very personal story to the world to help those going through their own grief and dark moments. She chose the title Twentyone Olive Trees because her son was 21 when he died. She also intends to plant twenty one olive trees in his honour at a healing sanctuary that she is currently creating.
The book has received a starred Kirkus review and Booklife said of the artwork: “In addition to Formentini’s writing, the beautiful illustrations by Marit Cooper enhance each fable with memorable renderings of story and character. Cooper includes the most intricate details mentioned in the tales, as well as the recurring figure of Naeltim, the sylph of the air, who plays a special role in every fable, all with simple yet meaningful olive branches woven throughout.”
I - Camel And Spider
Each one of the fables in the book stands alone and was treated as a separate illustration. The only character that appears throughout is Naeltim the sylph of the air.
II - The Boy And The Bronze Statue
Laura had envisioned her book as being illustrated like a medieval Book of Hours, and I was thrilled. As I am deeply inspired by medieval and Renaissance illumination and I absolutely relished the opportunity to indulge in intricate acanthus scroll borders and detailed illustrations.
III - The Waltz Of The Honeybees
IV - The Enchantment Of The Kingdom of Emeralds and Rubies
V - Luce In Haven
VI - Rapid Sparkle's Wild Ride
VII - Doris In The Green And The Bats
VIII - The Star Boat And The Three Lost Men
IX - Piper's Magic Journey
X - The Secret Of Fresh Roaring Waters
XI - The Woman Who Listened To All Music
XII - Niami And The Tree Of Life
XIII - Springy Bunny And The Purple Fairy Godmother
XIV - The Song Of Two Winds
XV - The Poet And The Fabulous Thunderbird
XVI - The Albatross And The Giant Ruler
XVII - The Sheik And The Golden Egg
XVIII - Navajo Train And Bald Eagle
XIX - Starlight
XX - The Priestess In The Temple of Rhymes
XXI - The Mystical Lake Of Loving Kindness
Illuminated initials and olive border
Each chapter has an illuminated initial to tie in with the Renaissance style of the book.
Each chapter has an olive tree and scroll illustration.
Olive Grove with Mushroom Lanterns
This artwork was initially intended to be for the cover but it was then decided that a simple cover with a more subtle illustration would be more appropriate and this piece was added to the epilogue.