’Circle of the Seasons’

Chad Frey
cfrey@thekansan.com
Fabric artist Wilma Schmidt works on quilting a piece of art used to illustrate the Circle of the Seasons book on which she collaborated with fellow Kidron Bethel Village resident and children's book author Laurel Gugler. The book is available for purchase at local businesses and online.

A new friendship helped solve an old rejection when Kidron Bethel Village residents Laurel Gugler and Wilma Schmidt got together.

The pair brought Wilma’s daughter, Elizabeth Schmidt, into the mix — and one of Gugler’s children’s books is getting published.

About a year ago, the trio began the collaborative process of producing a children’s book, “Circle of the Seasons.”

A veteran author of nine other children’s books, Gugler had the completed manuscript of the book for many years. It had received at least one rejection letter from a traditional publisher during that time. But she stumbled across Schmidt’s fabric art at Kidron Bethel’s annual Christmas Marketplace, and that breathed new life into “Circle of the Seasons.”

“The seed of an idea perked in my head when I found that lovely wall hanging,” Gugler said. She decided at that point to pursue self-publishing for her 10th book instead of waiting on a traditional publisher.

Schmidt is a fabric artist, incorporating paint and fibers such as dried plants onto fabric that is then quilted to create art pieces. Schmidt retired to spend more time with her mother and learn her art, essentially becoming her apprentice.

Schmidt approached the mother/daughter team about creating fabric art to illustrate her story.

“When Laurel talked about this ‘Circle of the Seasons,’ I thought, ‘Oh, this will be fun creating something different for each season,’ ” Schmidt said.

The women worked together for several months interpreting the book and creating art to go with it. The result is a children’s book they believe describes the changing of the seasons in terms children can understand — and also hints at changing seasons of life.

“Since I’m in the season of autumn or winter of my life, I didn’t have time anymore to pursue a traditional publisher and all the back-and-forth and possible rejections that would happen,” Gugler said. “So I thought this would be a fun thing to do, besides the fact that doing something face to face. Working together feels more organic in many ways.”

The result is a book that sold out its first printing. A recent second printing means copies are again for sale. “Circle of the Seasons” can be purchased locally at Kauffman Museum in North Newton and Faith and Life Bookstore in Newton, as well as online at blurb.com/bookstore.

"Circle of the Seasons" was written by Laurel Dee Gugler and illustrated by Wilma and Elizabeth Schmidt, a mother-daughter duo.