GVSU alumna turns wood art into children's book series
When prompted on what careers they are pursuing, many Grand Valley State University students
usually answer along the lines of biomedical sciences or in education. GVSU, however, provides a
variety of emphasis programs, with one of them focusing on jewelry and metalsmithing. The program
strives to train students in the history of art, its business practices, and traditional and contemporary
practices, further personalizing students’ approach to art.
“My students can really become a variety of things, from having their own private practice and making
and selling their own items, to custom making jewelry for jewelry store requests, and all the way to
the dental industry and making braces,” said Beverly Seley, the coordinator of the
jewelry/metalsmithing emphasis at GVSU.
GVSU alumna Meghan Hindenach has taken the passion she discovered with this program and used it
to create her own unique children’s books. She received a Bachelor’s of Art and Design from GVSU in
Continuing with art after school, Hindenach is the artist and creator of Bwata Books, a new project that
includes two mothers with ties to GVSU, who have created their own books using woodblock print.
Through Kickstarter, a website that helps to provide funds for artists’ projects, Hindenach’s books are
aiding in kickstarting Bwata Books.
“It (Kickstarter) was recommended to me as a way to get funds to get the books published,”
Hindenach said. “With kids’ books, you need a lot of money for the inventory unless you decide to
Hindenach pursued her interest in early childhood development after having her own children.
“All these stories are ultimately for my kids,” she said. “I usually work within 15 minute increments. I
just sit down here and there and chip away at the wood slowly throughout the day. It’s very rare for
me to be able sit down for even 30 minutes in between the kid’s potty breaks.”
Using her talent in metalsmithing, Hindenach was able to add a special, personalized twist to her
“I take a piece of wood, carve it, roll the ink on, and then put the patterned wall paper on and rub the
back with a wooden spoon and it transfers the pictures,” Hindenach said. “They’re called woodblock
prints. The stories are about a little umbrella and a storm cloud. They travel around and use the power
of the storm cloud to help other little objects.”
Jenn Palm is the other mother behind Bwata Books. A graduate student at GVSU in the
communications program, Palm joined the project to aid in the logistic and marketing tasks of the
“Meghan is my cousin. We went to Grand Valley together,” Palm said. “I was interested in marketing
and promotion so I offered to help her. I have a son who is about the same age as Meghan’s; we are
both looking to make a children’s book of higher quality for kids out there.”
While studying at GVSU, Hindenach worked closely with Seley, who always encouraged her to follow
her dreams in a profession where landing a career may be difficult.
“She always encouraged the profession and to follow the idea, not the technique, and see where it
could take us,” Hindenach said.
Hindenach can be reached with questions at email@example.com. For more information, check out
her website www.bwata.com.