Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
Contents Archives About Simply Haiku Submissions Search
Summer 2005, vol 3 no 2

Traditional Haiga

| Return to Simply Haiku | First Image |

[ click on the image to view a larger version & accompanying text]


Dr. Charles Rodning
Mary Rodning

~ origami haiga book

Origami Haiga Book ~ A Collaboration By Dr. Charles and Mary Rodning

Haiga had been an interest of Mary's since living in Japan for two years. But she had never created one until needing a special wedding anniversary gift. Mary was led to use several of Chuck's published haiku for the first joint work of haiga. She was aware that historically the poetry and painting in haiga were created by one artist. However, the positive aspect of having two coordinate a work is that the observer has two possible aspects of a moment in time considered. Their origami book was created for a "2 x 2 Art Show", consisting of twenty married couples in joint efforts of creating art works. The book contains eight haiga. Other books the couple are now creating are accordion and album approaches of books. The simplicity of the books sets the stage for the presentation of the haiga, an everyday occurrence, but seen with special attention.

Cathy Drinkwater BetterMary E. Rodning, sumi-e and calligraphy artist, lives in Alabama with her husband, Dr. Charles B. Rodning. Her poetic biography, as follows, can also be seen in a creative version at her website She says of herself: "A trail has been left in my heart by painting with wet soot on mulberry pulp through two years in Japan and two months in China . . . which will follow me my entire life, which is not one of an oriental recluse, but one of mothering three sons, being the wife of a poet and surgeon, and upkeep supervisor of our small Alabama farm and its critters . . . dreamer of canoeing the northwoods, personally knowing all the birds in our woods, staying in touch with our creator and his people . . . washing more clothes and dishes than paint brushes . . . practicing and painting the art of life, while living it."

Some of Mary's many recognitions are: being among the first American group to study at the Zhejiang Academy of Fine Arts, Hangzhou, Peoples' Republic of China in 1984; first and sixth president of the Shibui Chapter of the Sumi-e Society of America; 1987 Calligraphy Show of Master Takyu in Fukushima Ken, Japan; first place for three years in the Fall Juried Show of the Mobile Art Association; illustrator of Elan Vital and Papering Dreams poetry books by her husband; 1989-99 Best of Show Mobile Museum of Art; 2001 Theme person for Hands-on-Art Mobile International Festival; six years of personal invitations to show at the International Contemporary Calligraphy Exhibition worldwide; and a successful show in Art of Ink in America exhibition for the summer of 2004.

Throughout the school year, Mary is continuously asked to teach at various art camps, expos, and classrooms. She is rewarded by many fond memories and continues to make connections with young artists. Mary is also the Resident Traditional Haiga Artist at .

Charles Bernard Rodning resides with his family on a small farm in Semmes, Mobile County, Alabama. He was graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (MD), and the University of Minnesota Health Sciences Center (PhD, Anatomy). He was elected to numerous societies and fellowships, is listed in many Who's Who registries, is the recipient of prestigious research and medical awards, authored medical publications, and serves as Vice-Chairman and Professor, Department of Surgery and Cell Biology and Neuroscience, College of Medicine and Medical Center; and Professor, Department of Physician Assistant Studies, College of Allied Health Professional University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama.

In addition to his medical profession, Charles enjoys writing Japanese short-form poetry, photography, and sumi-e painting. Along with membership in haiku and poetry organizations, his writings, photography, and paintings have been featured in a variety of publications and displayed by art museums and associations. He has authored several collections of poetry, paintings, and photographs, and is a contributor to many literary anthologies as well as garnering numerous worldwide awards for his artistic endeavors.

Charles's and Mary's interest in the Oriental arts was revived and deepened while residing in Okinawa, Japan during a two-year military assignment along with their three sons— Christopher, Soren, and Kai. While in Japan, Mary took her first sumi-e class; realizing the importance of patience for this art, both she and Charles utilize this skill in their professions and arts. The Asian culture and philosophy has been a great influence on the Rodnings' lives.

Copyright 2005: Simply Haiku