Thanks to the talents of Kate Nicholson and Rachel Hebert, those looking for deeply moving, strikingly beautiful, profoundly original artwork need not look any further than the walls of The Hivery.
Kate and Rachel are the talents behind Truth to Paper, a creative agency focused on bringing poetry and art into the world. On Nov. 6, the duo premiered their first combined show at The Hivery with an impressive collection of visual art. The show is scheduled to last into January, and all works are for sale (note: several works have been sold, as of this posting).
The creative pair met eight years ago when their daughters (each has two) went to the same school. Both artists themselves—Rachel a dancer and painter, Kate a writer and photographer— they quickly found themselves in deep conversations about the process of moving from full-time moms back into the world of art making.
Both were fascinated by poetry—reading it and writing it in their personal time. In fall 2017—by then BFFs—they decided to go into business together and, at The Hivery’s 2017 Holiday Market, launched Truth to Paper.
“We wanted to bring poetry out of books and out of our private worlds,” said Rachel. “There is definitely a thread of wanting to reclaim language, and bring more beauty to the world, particularly in response to what we are seeing in the news right now.”
The initial vision of Truth to Paper was to create small poem cards for table settings and greeting cards, but that quickly morphed into something much larger. Inspired by the 2018 Women’s March, Rachel and Kate created special poems and art pieces for the event. In May 2018, they worked with vulnerability researcher Dr. Brene Brown on a poem that would serve as her introduction at Mom 2.0, one of the world’s largest parenting blogging conferences.
This fall, Kate and Rachel designed The Hivery’s Empowerment Studio, the new space at the end of the hall in the Mill Valley location. If you haven’t seen it, please check it out—the design and artwork (including a massive mural of a dancer) are not to be missed. (And, if you’re interested in renting this beautiful space, more information is available here!)
Then, in October 2018, the pair created the entire visual integration for The Hivery’s Entrepreneur & Inspiration Lab at Fort Mason. Remember the rainbow Instagram wall? The custom poem on the back page of the program? The language behind the stage?
That was all them.
The current show is a natural extension of their work combining written and visual art, and an exciting development for Truth to Paper fanatics (of which there are many!). Each piece is an original, many cut from vintage books with use of gold leaf and burning techniques. A few of the larger pieces are slate in color with words found—if carefully looked for—and gold spreading like veins.
“Kintsugi, the Japanese tradition of fixing broken pottery with gold, was one of our inspirations for the show,” says Rachel. “We love the idea that a mended piece is more valuable because of its breaking.”
Among the pair’s many pieces is one titled “First Matter,” which, from a distance looks to be a large circle with lines coming out of it. Upon closer inspection the work reveals itself to be an intricate series of phrases—unhelpful messages Rachel and Kate received from childhood have been written and then burned out. Phrases they’d like their daughters to absorb are written on the other side of the lines from where childhood phrases are burned.
“We were making stuff and somehow ended up in the territory of things our parents said to us and implicit messages we received,” says Kate. “It became an intensely personal piece. We spent the day crying and burning things.”
As for future plans, Kate and Rachel are keeping their options open. They are considering a book project, but regardless of what the future holds, they are enjoying the collaborative process of art making, saying it is incredibly freeing to step outside their individual studios and work together.
“Watch this space,” says Kate, “because we are just getting started.”