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Peeler's children's book available

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Local artist Marj Peeler poses with her newly published children's tome "Peek Inside This Book," which is available locally. Proceeds from the book will benefit Mental Health America of Putnam County.
GREENCASTLE -- Marj Peeler is an artist who has had success in many mediums.

The one thing that had eluded her has been getting a children's book published.

Until now.

Peeler's creation "Peek Inside This Book" -- a counting book filled with vibrant images of butterflies, flowers, snowflakes and turtles -- is now in print and available at several local venues.

"It's quite an ego trip to have a book published at the age of 83," Peeler said with a bright smile.

Proceeds from the book, which sells for $10, will benefit Mental Health America of Putnam County.

"Peek Inside This Book" is available at Treasures on the Square, Bright Futures, Walden Inn and the Putnam County Museum. A limited number of the books were printed, and about 400 copies remain.

The images in the book are reproductions of artwork Peeler created by layering paper cutouts. She used an X-acto knife and double-sided tape to make them.

"It's my own invention," Peeler said. "I cut the paper and use several layers. It takes a lot of time."

Peeler, who lives in Greencastle, can't say for sure how long it took her to complete the artwork for the book, which has actually been finished for some time and was not originally planned as a MHAPC fundraising project.

"It was a winter project," she said.

Once it was completed, Peeler shopped the book to several publishers -- all of which passed on the opportunity to print it.

"I got it back with a rejection every time," Peeler said.

Peeler is a good friend of Eileen Johnson, director of MHAPC.

"She showed me the original artwork (for the book) and told me she'd be getting rid of it," Johnson said. "Which meant she was probably going to burn it."

Johnson talked Peeler out of destroying the artwork, and asked if Peeler would consider donating the book to MHAPC.

"I'm just thrilled about this," Johnson said.

Peeler put up a sizable donation to get the book printed for MHAPC.

"I'm getting nothing out of this except the glory," she said with a chuckle.

Peeler said her inspiration for doing a book based on the numbers one through 10 was simple.

"Everybody has to learn to count," she said. "I put in pictures of turtles and fish because I thought the boys would like them, and I did the flowers and butterflies for the girls."

Peeler's husband Richard graduated from DePauw University in 1949. In 1958 he came back to DePauw to teach ceramics, sculpture and photography.

Richard Peeler retired from DePauw in 1972, and at that point he and Marj began a full-time pottery business in Reelsville. Richard died in 1998, and the Peeler Art Center at DePauw was dedicated in his honor in 1999.

Also assisting with the production of "Peek Inside This Book" were David Field, a professor emeritus of English at DePauw who scanned the images for reproduction; Dian Phillips, director of publications at DePauw; and Deb Smith, who works for the Health Department at DePauw and serves on the MHPAC Board of Directors.

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Great job Marj!!!

My wife and I have been the biggest fans of you and Richard for many, many years.

We think of the two of you many times each day as a result of all of the beautiful Peeler artwork that is spread throughout our home (inside and out)!

Keep up the great work--you are so precious.

-- Posted by the grisled professor on Wed, Dec 16, 2009, at 12:38 PM

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