The Statue of Liberty that adorns New York harbour has played in my imagination since I was a small child. But it was only when I went on a harbour tour last year that I discovered the statue was created by a French artist and was a gift from the people of France to the citizens of America. This memory has resurfaced in the past few weeks, as I have liaised with the exceptional French artist, Miss Clara, over her designs for the Barefoot Books tree that is our contribution to the Concord Museum’s Family Trees Exhibition.

Miss Clara’s tree is based on her extraordinary illustrations for The Snow Queen. If you don’t already have a copy of this book, I urge you to buy one now. The illustrations are remarkable, and the story is one of my favourites: it is impossible not to be inspired by Gerda’s brave quest into the unknown to find her friend Kay, who has been swept away by The Snow Queen. As for the tree, Miss Clara has laboured just as tirelessly as Gerda journeyed to put together a breathtaking array of handcrafted decorations. This has been her main occupation for the past three months–a reminder that genius is 99% perspiration  and 1% inspiration! I hope these photographs capture something of the magic of Miss Clara’s work. And if you happen to be in the vicinity of Concord in the coming weeks, a visual feast lies in wait for you at the Museum.

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