The vivid, swirling red bark pattern on the cover of “The Tree of My Mind” by Emna Zghal immediately caught my eye. And the cover art is fitting, not only for the title, but for the content, which the Women’s Studio Workshop states “explores connections trees have with words and meanings.”
Though this book doesn’t appear to depart from the norm very much, at least not compared to some of the other books listed on the website, the striking colors and intriguing concept drew me in; the metacommentary of the presence of trees within words and meanings, while written on a surface that was once a tree, is just stunning to me. And stunning, too, are the illustrations inside.
Though naturalistic, all images relating to trees, they all seem to convey something very human, beyond the image of the face in the veins of a leaf; many of the patterns remind me of the biological connections within all of us, patterns of cells and veins and organs.
In terms of the written content, everything relates to trees in some way, but all of the excerpts, the bits and pieces, are pulled from a wide range of different sources. The description on the website describes them as “ranging from Qur’an to poetry, French chansons and more.”
The images, coupled with the quotes and excerpts, create an elegant picture of the tree as it is connected to literature, to words and meanings, and to us as human beings.
Zghal, Emna. “The Tree of My Mind.” Women’s Studio Workshop, 2006, https://wsworkshop.org/collection/the-tree-of-my-mind/.