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Collaborative Haiga by
Johnnie Johnson Hafernik and Dorothy Messerschmitt

Dorothy S. Messerschmitt (Dody) has been creating art in numerous mediums for many years and now mainly paints watercolors. Johnnie Johnson Hafernik has been writing haiku and tanka for about 10 years. In 2017, Dody and Johnnie began collaborating to create traditional haiga, watercolor plus ink. Their first foray into the public haiga world was when they entered the Second Annual Jane Reichhold Memorial Haiga Contest (2017), sponsored by Prune Juice Journal and Failed Haiku. One of their haiga was selected as “Highly Commended” in the traditional art category.

We were excited to work on the theme of “trees” and immediately jotted down a list of individual trees and species of trees that we could use for our haiga. In only a few minutes, we had a long list. Our list included trees that we had personal experiences with and trees that had one or more characteristics we found especially noteworthy. Before collaborating on this project, we tended to take trees for granted, mainly noticing them when they bloom or their leaves change colors. Now we each frequently pause to look at and linger with trees. Indeed, we find ourselves “seeing” trees more frequently and more deeply. Trees can bring us beauty, solace, and joy. We hope our haiga help you more fully enjoy “trees that make you pause.“

The haiku for “in the mail”has been published in cattails: the journal of the United Haiku & Tanka Society (2016, Summer).