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by Judi Suni Hall and Muriel Roggensack

This collaborative haiga series comes from a longtime friendship between two close friends. Judi is a retired theoretical physicist with a passion for words and mathematical art.

Severely disabled by illness for over 20 years, creating and sharing beauty is her escape. She maintains Gingezel, a website dedicated to poetry and art. She and her husband Don have recently e-published the first two novels in their Gingezel science fiction series. Judi’s haiga have been published in Daily Haiga, Haigaonline, Haiku Pix, Sketchbook, and Simply Haiku. She also does fabric and surface design. Recently retired from a long medical career that began as a physiotherapist and ended in government administration, Muriel is enjoying having time to travel and refuel her passion for art, history and all things ancient. Her creative time is spent with molten glass, the result artistic jewelry.

Muriel and Judi have always been close, almost sisters. They grew up next door in a small prairie town and shared experiences even when their lives had them a continent apart. When Muriel and some of her family decided to tour Germanic Europe to get in touch with their roots, it was a chance for Judi to relive a trip she and Don took in 1974 as Muriel sent photos taken on her iPhone.

Muriel is an avid scrapbooker and was thinking about either scrapbooking the photos or making a coffee table book to record the trip. Then Judi started sending photo haiga, and they got going back and forth on what turned into this series. Judi played the poet role, and tried to find words that resonated for both in memory, plus if possible captured the current trip for future memories. Muriel says “Seeing each finished haiga has been like opening a gift on Christmas morning!"

01 02
03 04
05 06
07 08
09 10

In creating the haiga series, they focused on their different sets of memories, not in making a travelogue, so that the sequence of the haiga doesn't follow the geographical trip. Using the rye bread haiga (no. 3) as an example of how the collaboration went, Muriel was amused with "roggen" in the name of the rye bread she saw in an outdoor kiosk because of her married name and her husband’s Germanic roots. When Don and Judi were in Germany they loved tasting all the food, since his grandmother on his mother's side was from that part of the world. And as graduate students they made close friends with a German couple one winter and are still friends, so the picture had Judi thinking she really needed to write them. The choice of picture with the name was Muriel’s, the frost an allusion to Judi’s friends, the rye bread a memory for both of them.

A haiga where the strongest memories were Muriel’s is the stained glass (no. 6). There is the family history of course, but also recent memories because only a few months before her MD daughter was part of a choir invited to perform in Notre Dame de Paris. For Judi there were memories of loving the beauty of the art and glass of the cathedrals. Hence starting with the glass then moving on the choir.