Glanzbilder and the Pulls of Nostalgia by Uschi Jeffcoat

The pulls of nostalgia are so sweet and strong.  And they hit at the most unexpected times. These gems below are Glanzbilder or Lackbilder. They are part of my childhood memories but something I had forgotten. This December I spied them in a favorite shop in Germany. It's a tiny stationary/magazine shop that feeds my German pen and paper obsession. When I saw these, I knew I had to buy them.

Glanzbilder are used in Poesiealbums. Poesiealbums are a form of autograph/friendship book. I had one as a child. It was white, with a kitten on the front cover.  Poesiealbums were shared with your friends, relatives and teachers. They then would pen a favorite line of prose, poetry or quotation with a message to you, followed by a signature. Looking back I believe this is such an art form! When I presented mine to my elementary school American friends, I think they confused it a bit with a yearbook signature.


My German friends and family approached it differently. To them it was a place to mark how beautiful a person was to you -  In a creative and literary manner, not a first person L.L.A.S note with a Ziggy drawing.  I love how this album captured my personal dichotomy of growing up in two cultures. I love them both for different reasons. (For example, I wanted BOTH a bed with a German down comforter folded in half -like the German do - but also an American rainbow canopy bed set with matching bedskirt. Sadly, I could never marry the two forms of bedding effectively.)

Back to Poesiealbums - One or two of these little Glanzbilder would be added to the page, paired with words of significance. Often the Glanzbilder have a touch of glitter. Who doesn't love a bit of sparkle?

The internet tells me that these albums originally stem from the practice of recording close friends and coat of arms in family trees during the 16th century. The 18th century saw quotations and illustrations added to these notations. By the 19th century, members of literary circles began circulating notebooks of sorts to capture the same. The more commercial forms ofPoesiealbums and Glanzbilder appeared in the 20th century. This website has a few images of Poesiealbum entries.


Because this represents such timeless treasure and charm, I wanted to create a few items featuring these fascinating Glanzbilder. So I've had a very playful and experimental week. I've made cards and a series of mini gold leaf paintings. If you are interested in seeing them in person, I'm delighted that a selection of the mini paintings and cards will be available at TThomas Arts next week.


„... und reißt mir keine Blätter raus, sonst ist es mit der Freundschaft aus ...“

Courage by Uschi Jeffcoat

I sometimes wonder what others see when they look at something I have painted . . .

In 2016, I made a personal commitment to support as many local art competitions as I could through participation. One of those local competitions was Lynda English Studio's Miniature Competition.  And this evening the judge shared comments on the pieces she selected.

This little mini was the delighted recipient of 2nd place!

But this is what struck my core this evening. The judge said the delicate lines within the parachute reminded her of the frailty of life.

My heart stopped.

What she didn't know (and what I couldn't tell her because I would have cried!) - is that this is actually a painting of my father, painted from the image at the right. He died when I was 8 years old.

At that age the frailty of life became a reality to me. And just today my heart has been aching for a friend who is facing the same. It doesn't matter what age you are . . . they will always be Daddy.

And so to me courage means many things. It means those that serve fearlessly with bravery. But it also means those that continue to take one small step at a time. Or those that take a leap of faith and jump. 

Courage means my mother who chose to stay in the United States to raise her three girls, - rather then return to her country of Germany because she felt it would be best for us to grow up here. It also means my grandmother - who as my sister points out is the original steel magnolia. If you know her, you know this is true. 

But it also mean living a life well. I'd like to say living without fear. But honestly, fear has become paralyzing real to me at times - especially as I have had children. (Case in point: my 18 year old self on a plane verses my now self on a plane. Two completely different beings.)

And I know God has not given us a spirit of fear. But it does like to sit on our doorsteps. 

Then this captures my heart and I have to agree.

My sister gave this to my oldest boy when he turned 16. A photo of our dad in his glory days.

My sister gave this to my oldest boy when he turned 16. A photo of our dad in his glory days.

So here's to courage! And the beauty of life.

A special thank you to Kim Brauss for her kind words this evening. Kim, you saw exactly what my heart painted into that little piece. Thank you to Lynda and Jackie for supporting local artists this evening, both young and old!