Puget Sound Book Artists is saddened by the passing of one of our founding members, Rochelle Monner. Rochelle, a well-known artist and teacher in the South Sound, was a member of the informal Tacoma Book Arts Group that helped form our organization ten years ago. She implemented play days in her studio to encourage collaboration, friendship and to mentor book artists and was generous of her time and expertise. In 2016, Rochelle, along with her husband Ken, made a substantial gift to the community by donating their collection of the books of Shereen LaPlantz to the Collins Library. The more than 100 artists’ books showcases the myriad of book structures developed by LaPlantz throughout her career. The collection is described in this link and is available to the public by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org:
In 2013, Monner, then President of the PSBA, accepted on behalf of the organization, the Tacoma AMOCAT Award for The Community Outreach by an Organization. The award was presented by the then Mayor of Tacoma, Marilyn Strickland with the following statement read: “ since 2010, PSBA has been carrying out its mission to create a spirit of community among book artists and those who love books. The organization has exhibited a deep and ongoing commitment to creating a welcoming and educational community for book artists of all skill levels to collaborate and share their work with the public.
Thank you Rochelle for your countless contributions. You have inspired a generation of book artists.
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
She was so kind and giving to this art. I am glad to have been just a small friend. Prayers to her family. Boy was she a collector tho and she shared so much with me and our club.
Rochelle was always quietly enthusiastic and supportive of my bookart. She acquired several of my pieces over the last ten years, and I was and shall always be eternally grateful to her for that kindness. She gave me a reason to be confident in my makings.
I think we felt connected somehow, in an ineffable way. After she had begun her journey of withdrawing from this life focus, I received a lovely, fleeting message - titled "Knowing" - from her in my email, in 2014. Just this:
In the darkness of the night your words spoke
with the rhythm of your
I don't know what words of mine came to her, but I'm glad they were - for however fleeting a moment - at home with her spirit.
Blessed Be, Rochelle.
We are so sad to hear of Rochelle's passing. Not only was she a friend, but she was also a huge supporter of our work over the years. Rochelle was a collector and booster of both our solo work and our Dead Feminists series from the very beginning, and she was always excited to hear our ideas for the next broadside or book (and eager to remind us to save her #10 in any edition!). A lifelong teacher, she fostered creative learning in everyone she knew, from experienced artists to book-arts newbies. We have many fond memories of both teaching and taking classes at her incredible home studio, experimenting with new materials and collaborating with other artists. And we are honored to be members of the organization she grew from the ground up. Rochelle made all of this happen—she built a community through her enthusiasm, her gentle guidance as a teacher, and her love of the book. Thank you, Rochelle—we miss you.
Chandler O'Leary & Jessica Spring
Rochelle was one of the first people to welcome me to the burgeoning book arts tribe in south Puget Sound in 2007. She will be remembered as a founding member of PSBA, for her enthusiasm for the art form and for her love for creative people.
Rochelle was one of the first book making "teachers" that I was privileged to learn from. She taught a small book on Snowflakes. At one of the PSBA auctions recently I took the bid for a "snow flake" box that she had put together. I have treasured it. She also hosted one of the first PSBA extended workshops I was part of. We learned to make paper. It was in her yard. What fun we had and what a great experience. Rochelle was such a big part in forming PSBA. She was a very talented artists in so many ways. She will be so missed.
I had the joy of being Rochelle Monner’s friend for over 20 years. She had the gift of making you feel like you were the only person in the room. She listened deeply. To be her friend was to be introduced to all her other friends She cultivated relationships and connected people. She made sure no one was left out. She built community
Rochelle had wide ranging interests and an enthusiastic sense of wonder. When we talked I always learned something new. Her curiosity was as boundless as her desire to make a difference and help people any way that she could. She quietly did so many behind the scenes things for so many people. Being in her orbit, my life became an adventure. She was a joiner and she took me along. We had so much fun.
She was passionate about books, artists books and book artists. She taught and made beautiful books herself. But when I think about Rochelle it’s not just as a book artist. She was so much more. She was the most open hearted, loving, generous, inclusive, interesting person I’ve ever known. I think of the quote by Alphonse de Lamartine: “All the arts we practice are merely apprenticeships, the big art is our life.” Thank you Rochelle for making big art.
Rochelle and I have known each other for forty plus years. We’ve socialized, gone camping, attended dances and had insightful conversations over the years. It’s not often you have a friendship that’s nurturing, uplifting and unconditional. Book arts, teaching, dancing, her family, especially her granddaughters, brought her great joy.
It was a fortunate event at Waysgoose, when she met Jane Carlin. It was the beginning of making her dream a reality – to create a book arts organization in Tacoma. I remember one of the first meetings when Rochelle, Jane, Jamie, Randi Kander and I met to discuss the creation of PSBA and giving the organization its name. Rochelle’s dream was coming to fruition.
She was my cheerleader and supporter, opening up the new world of book arts to me and was always the consummate teacher. She brought together the book arts community. I know my life will be a little more empty without her.
Rochelle was one of those very special friends who was willing to help you in any way that she could—encouragement, her time, and supporting my work by purchasing it. She was an extremely kind person and I will miss that energy. You felt good and valued in her presence.