True as Earth, Strong as Water is the 5th in a series of books from Shu-Ju Wang’s Relay Replay Press, dedicated to working with the elderly who are suffering from various stages and forms of memory loss.
The book contains 5 Solarplate photographic etchings on handmade papers by Helen Hiebert as well as numerous Gocco prints on Nepal Heavyweight and Taiwan Mulberry papers. The Helen Hiebert papers each contains soil from the South Dakota farm, the Oregon farm, water from the Pacific Ocean, the Willamette River and the Columbia River.
Arnie’s life has always been anchored around a farm or a body of water. He was born and raised on a South Dakota farm and later retired to an Oregon farm; in between, he fought in the Pacific during WWII and raised a family around the Great Lakes. True as Earth, Strong as Water is grounded in this connection to the land and the water. In a speech he gave while accepting the Distinguished Alumni Award from Northern State University, he listed “born & raised on a farm” as the first thing that he was thankful for. He taught mathematics, industrial arts, and served as dean in the community college system and as presidents of various educational associations. He continues to be passionate about music, playing his favorite song San Antonio Rose on the harmonica during his most recent birthday celebration in 2011. The melody of San Antonio Rose is the basis for the design on the back of the book.
While he was not able to participate hands-on in creating this book, his physical presence can be found throughout. Whenever available or possible, his handwritten notes, drawings and letters were used in creating the images for the book; In addition, photographs supplied by friends and family were also included.