Carolyn Wing Greenlee

“Speaking for Fire” DVD

Dear Friends,

We’re already wading into 2013 up to our knees in the fast-flowing river of the new year. Here is an update on the latest new thing.

Recently, Earthen Vessel released our first DVD, Speaking for Fire. A video of James BlueWolf’s award-winning children’s book by the same name. James narrates it in his sonorous storyteller voice, while Nathan DeHart’s artful video editing brings graceful and dramatic movement to my papercut illustrations. Dan Worley used authentic native instruments and bird calls to give musical support to the tale. It’s mythical, memorable, and meaningful. The message is especially needed in this day when one voice can easily be drowned out by the clamor of louder, more insistent voices.

Here are some frames from the movie. These are all papercuts, no coloring or line work added. I chose to use papercuts because the story is symbolic.

Animals, fleeing in terror, express their panic with the panting mouth, the angle of the head, limbs stretched as they flee.

Animals, fleeing fire in terror, express their panic with the panting mouth, the angle of the head, limbs stretched
Fleeing Fire

Burnt trees are reduced to stark, bare ruin.

Burnt trees are reduced to stark, bare ruin
Nothing was Left

The hummingbird’s wings are made of thin, gray tissue paper, folded and made transparent with glue.

a hummingbird searches for nectar

There is no shading, no subtlety. Since the story is set in the oldest of days, this reductionist approach helps express an earlier, simpler era.

Fireweed and Animals
Fireweed and Animals
Burning the Prairie Grass
Burning the Prairie Grass

Of course, I did all these when I could see better. I could not do them now.

We had our debut at the Lake County Arts Council, showing the 8 1/2-minute film on my 52” flat screen TV to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience of story and art lovers. What fun it was to see my tiny paper illustrations zoomed and magnified so big! In actuality, the hummingbird is only about an inch and a half long. None of us had seen the illustrations so large, and we all noticed things we’d never seen before.

There are special features on this DVD, including interviews with James, Dan and me. It was a most rewarding collaboration and we’re all very proud of it.

You can purchase the DVD here.


  1. Nancy C.

    January 11, 2013 - 7:26 PM

    Loved the illustrations…so colorful and beautiful and CREATIVE…that captures the story so well.

    Any chance that Campfire papercut could be transferred to a T-shirt with the name of Speaking for Fire on it?

    You all did a magnificent work together!

    A continued happy New Year to you Carolyn. So good to turn another page and see what God will reveal this new year.
    Love, Nancy C.

    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      January 25, 2013 - 2:20 PM

      Nancy, I thought about a tee shirt with that design. I also thought about the pinecone on fire. If the DVD and book engender enough interest, there’s always a possibility for a run of tees. If we do that, it will be announced on this website and Earthen Vessel’s. I love tee shirts that celebrate special things, so you can be sure I’ll keep it in mind. You can be sure if God wants it, it will happen.


  2. kathie fong yoneda

    January 10, 2013 - 7:07 PM

    Love the tissue artwork you did, Carolyn! Happy New Year to you & all the wonderfully creative people you’ve been working with — wonderful way to start off the new year! xoxo kathie

    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      January 25, 2013 - 2:17 PM

      I will pass on your good words, Kathie. Thank you! The new year has great promise for me in the creative realms. It’s been a long time…

      Carolyn & Hedy

  3. Nancy

    January 10, 2013 - 2:41 PM

    Your artwork is as usual – absolutely beautiful! These examples are works of love that capture so much emotion and are full of life.

    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      January 25, 2013 - 2:15 PM

      Thank you, Nancy. It was fun to see the tiny panels blown up on the big screen. I saw things in the construction, in the interactions of paper and glue, that I never noticed. Glad they communicated beauty and emotion to you. That means I was successful.


  4. Debbi

    January 10, 2013 - 12:42 PM

    How exciting, Carolyn! I can’t wait to share it with the little ones! Love! Debbi

    • Carolyn Wing Greenlee

      January 25, 2013 - 2:13 PM

      So glad my great grandchildren will get to see our video! I’m so proud of them, and I want them to be proud of me as well, even though we are so many miles apart. Thanks for doing that, Grandma!


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