Sunday, February 9, 2020


By Ana Kippel

The Sky Is Not Blue

Photos by Ana Kippel (Click to enlarge)

Actually the sky is orange, yellow, pink and made of paper.

I met the friendly and lovely Jessica Hiemstra, at The Knife Fork Book Store located in the Artscape Young Place this past week. This unique & charming book store only sells poetry books. While the smell of hot coffee runs through the air, second-hand furniture holds the literature. Books and coffee… am I in heaven?

An artist, writer and designer bringing poetry and paint to the world. As a little girl, Jessicia Heimstra would start writing, even before she got ready for school and had her toast. Writing, painting and drawing are her passions. This is her first year showcasing her art and poems with DesignTO. As a Toronto based artist, Jessica is making art matter, while creating a space for conversation. Using water colours and thread, Jessica shows the viewer how paint can come to life. I have never seen paint dance so beautifully. The striking thing about water colour is that you can only control it so much. The paint is going to do what it wants too. Hmm… sounds familiar.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Hiemstra

When writing her poetry and painting, Jessica says it’s the place where she feels the most comfortable and where there is no time… just listening and creating. 

Using ripped paper, then splattering paint on it, spilling it, soaking it, creating little streams going in different directions and finally sewing the paper back together as a marvelous fluid paper sky unlocks. 

Photo courtesy of Jessica Hiemstra

Jessica told me, “As an artist you feel obligated to find a space for dialogue while giving intention and hope.”

I asked Jessica if she has a favorite poet. It’s kind of like asking who your favorite child is.

But I had to ask and she replied as follows:

“A poem that has really moved me in the last little while is a poem written by Toronto poet/writer, Anne Michaels, titled, May Love Seize You. I first heard her read the poem at the Harbourfront Centre, when she was on a panel. It made me cry, it moved me so deeply. It touched me, wrapped around me, if you know what I mean. That poem is on the wall here at the bookstore, above Kirby's desk. And reminds me of all the things poetry can do. How it lives and moves. How personal and also how big it can be. Michaels has written directly to the listener. And the poem feels like an embrace, an act of love, radically generous.”

Photo courtesy of Jessica Hiemstra

I had a lot of fun meeting with Jessica… she has a kind and gentle soul. I loved walking through her “paper sky” and I am excited to read her poetry book “Self Portrait Without a Bicycle”.

Poetry books include:

The Holy Nothing
Self Portrait without a Bicycle
Anatomy for the Artist
How to expect what you’re not expecting

And many more…

Instagram: jessicajoyhiemstra

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