Voices from the Mill Pond, Volume 2 is here!

Last February, when Hands on Art and Vernonia’s Voice kicked off a call for submissions for a second book, we had no idea that a month later, we’d find ourselves in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. With the ensuing disruptions and anxiety, no one, it seemed, gave a hoot about writing stories or poetry or taking photos. And yet, somehow, the submissions trickled in, and Voices from the Mill Pond, Volume II was born.

Picking a cover for our second volume wasn’t an easy task. Especially since we received over a hundred fabulous photos. We poured through them, seeking an image that highlighted the pond, of course, but also one that contained the necessary compositional elements: orientation and size, dpi, the right color and busy-ness when contrasted with the text, and one that possessed its own intrinsic beauty.  We believe we made the perfect choice.

Vernonia’s Voice and Hands on Art chose Mike Pym’s photo for the cover of Voices from the Mill Pond, Vol. II. 

Many thanks to the residents of Vernonia, past and present, for their stories, poems, histories, photos, and memories. Once again, Vernonia has outdone itself, and our community spirit is alive and well. 

Voices from the Mill Pond, Vol. II is now available on Amazon as well as around town. You can find it at the library and at the R&S Market. It’s a perfect gift for the holidays that honors our talented and beautiful community.

Virtual Christmas Cookie and Gingerbread House Contest

Just because we can’t gather in person, doesn’t mean that Christmas fun isn’t coming to Vernonia. Join Hands on Art for our virtual cookie-baking and gingerbread house competitions!

This year it all about creativity. Think about competing for loads of fun and a bunch of cash prizes.

There is no cost to enter. Bake at home, photograph your creations, and email your photos to Hands on Art for anonymous judging!

Winning cookies and gingerbread houses will be shared in Vernonia’s Voice, and on the Hands on Art website and Facebook page. Prizes will be mailed to the winning bakers.

Open to Vernonia, Oregon residents.

Virtual Cookie Contest Rules

  • Two divisions: Junior (12 and under) and Regular (13 and over).
  • Cookies can be any size and shape, and all decorations must be edible.
  • Take a photo or two of your cookies and email them to dwallacepeach@gmail.com
  • On your email, include your division, name, phone number, and address.
  • Cookies photos will be anonymously judged by the Hands on Art board based on 1) visual yumminess, 2) creativity, and 3) presentation.
  • Three prizes per division: 1st – $30, 2nd – $20, and 3rd – $10

Gingerbread House Contest rules

  • Three divisions: Junior (12 and under), Regular (13 and over), and Family (a group project).
  • Take a photo or three of your gingerbread house and email them to dwallacepeach@gmail.com
  • On your email, include your division, name, phone number, and address.
  • Gingerbread houses will be anonymously judged by the Hands on Art board based on 1) design, 2) creativity, and 3) presentation.
  • The primary structural material must be gingerbread, and although inedible components are allowed, it must be self-evident that they are inedible (plastic truck okay, hot glue not okay).
  • The winner of each division will win a prize of $30.

The submission deadline is December 6th, so get cooking!

Voices from the Mill Pond deadline Extended to Oct. 5th.

Deadline Extended to October 5th

Voices from the Mill Pond, Vol. 1, was a huge success in 2019 and a wonderful testament to Vernonia’s talent. Hands on Art and Vernonia’s Voice are eager to share this community’s creative spirit once again.

We’ve received some excellent stories, poems, and photographs but have room for more. To encourage additional submissions, we’ve extended the deadline until October 5th.

We haven’t received any submissions from children and would love to include the work of our younger generation in this volume. And don’t forget, our editorial board will be selecting a cover for the book from the photography submissions.

Submission guidelines are available here

Questions are more than welcome and can be emailed to Diana Peach: dwallacepeach@gmail.com.

Need some inspiration?

How to Write Syllabic Poetry

Haiku is written in three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven syllables in the second, and five in the last: 5/7/5, for a total of seventeen syllables.

Tankas are similar to haiku but have five lines with syllable counts of 5/7/5/7/7.

  • Haiku and tanka do not rhyme.
  • Most haiku are written about nature, the seasons, or an emotional experience while in nature.
  • Most tanka use vivid imagery and appeal to the senses.
  • Neither form requires a title.
  • The use of punctuation is optional.
  • Two or more poems written together are considered a series or sequence.
  • Be creative!

Vernonia’s artists

reflect the Mill Pond’s beauty

throughout the seasons

Voices From the Mill Pond – Volume. 2 Submission Guidelines

Voices from the Mill Pond – Volume 2

Submission Details

Thank you for your interest in participating in this project! Our goal with Volume 2 is to continue to publish and celebrate the talents of Vernonia’s storytellers, poets, photographers, and artists.

A full-color paperback book will be published by Vernonia’s Voice. The book will also be available locally.  The project is sponsored by Vernonia’s Voice and Vernonia’s Hands on Art organization.

Please read through these Submission Details. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact Diana Peach at dwallacepeach@gmail.com. Our goal is to encourage submissions, and we’re happy to help get you there.

General Information:

Submission Deadline (firm): September 15, 2020.

Publication Date: November 15, 2020, just in time for the holidays!

Open to All Ages!

All submissions must be family-friendly.

All submissions must be ORIGINAL works by the author/photographer/artist.

Authors/photographers/artists may make multiple submissions.

There will be no payments made to authors/photographers/artists for inclusion of their work. The project is entirely for the fun of sharing the community’s talents. A portion of the royalties from the sale of books will cover administrative fees, taxes, advertising, and promotion. The balance of the profits will fund Vernonia’s non-profit arts organization Hands on Art.

Authors/photographers/artists will retain all rights to their work to use however they wish, without limitations.

By submitting, you are giving permission for Vernonia’s Voice to publish your work in Voices of the Mill Pond (2019, Vol. 1).

Submissions should be made via email to dwallacepeach@gmail.com. Please include:

  • Your name (as you wish it to appear in the book)
  • Phone number
  • email address
  • mailing address
  • Age (if under 18)
  • Under Age 18?

Parents will be contacted in order to give permission for their young person’s work to be published.

Keep a copy of your work!


The decisions as to what is included will be made by an editorial board consisting of Hands on Art and community members.

Names will be removed from all submissions by D. Peach prior to presentation to the board.

Inclusion in the book is not guaranteed, though our goal is to include as many submissions as possible. Some factors include:

  • the number of submissions
  • the appropriateness of the work
  • preference for Vernonia-related themes
  • preference for a good mix of ages
  • preference for a good blend of the types of submissions (stories, poems, other writings, photos, and artwork).
  • adherence to these guidelines

All authors/photographers/artists will be notified when final decisions are made.

Written Submissions

Open to short stories, flash fiction (very short stories), poems, reflections, musings, mood pieces, historical pieces.

No minimum word-count.  Maximum word-count: 1500 words (negotiable).

Please include a title for your written piece. Untitled written works will be titled “Untitled.”

We are happy to collaborate with Vernonia’s schools and home schoolers. In Volume 1 we had only one child participate. We would love to have more work from Vernonia’s students.

Vernonia-related themes are preferred but not mandatory at all. And this can be interpreted broadly! Mill pond, nature, horses, animals, logging, bicycling, community, fishing, hiking, school, family, growing up, growing old, play, love, alien invasion of Bridge Street, the logging truck that saved Christmas! Imaginations welcome!

The editorial board reserves the right to make spelling, typo, and grammatical corrections. No other changes will be made without the author’s approval.

To submit: copy the written work into the body of an email and send to dwallacepeach@gmail.com. This will enable the copying of the material into a formatting program quickly and without error. Please contact Diana Peach if other arrangements are needed.

Photographs and Photographs of Artwork

Vernonia-related themes are preferred. And this can be interpreted broadly! Nature, horses, animals, logging, bicycling, community, fishing, hiking, school, family, growing up, growing old, play, love.

“Mill Pond” images will automatically be considered for the cover contest.

Optional: You may include a title and/or caption to accompany your photograph.

Images of actual people must include written permission to publish by the person or a parent/guardian if the person in under 18.

Color or black and white images are acceptable.

Final book size (for planning images) will be 7”w x 10”h.

Accepted images will be scaled to fit within printing margins.

Images must be 330 dpi minimum to meet publishing standards.

To submit: send images (and captions) as an email attachment to dwallacepeach@gmail.com.

Cover contest!

One of the submitted “Mill Pond” images (photography or artwork) will be selected for the cover.

The cover photographer/artist will be credited inside the book cover.

Final book size (for planning images) will be 7”w x 10”h.

Images must be vertically oriented and 330 dpi minimum to meet publishing standards.

To submit: send images as an email attachment to dwallacepeach@gmail.com.

Post Publication

An author and community celebratory book release event.

Physical books will be available for purchase in Vernonia as well as online.

Spirit of Christmas: Cookie and Gingerbread Contests

  • When: Saturday, December 14th, 10:00-4:30
  • Where: The Vernonia Grange, 425 North Street

Join Hands on Art at the Vernonia Grange for free kid’s crafts, a hot beverage, and our annual cookie and gingerbread house competitions. Is your grandmother’s cookie recipe the best ever? Do you have the ultimate gingerbread house design? Think about competing for loads of fun and a cash prize.

Cookie Baking Contest rules

There are two divisions and a top prize will be awarded in each division. The divisions are Junior (12 and under) and Regular (13 and over).

There is no cost to enter either division. First place prizes will be $20.

All entrants must deliver their cookies to the Vernonia Grange on December 14thth between 10 am and 2 pm.

Please provide a small plate of 6 cookies for judging and another 18 cookies for sharing with the public, the full recipe (for the judges only) and a label identifying the name of the cookies.

Judges will commence their work at 3:30 pm, and results will be announced by 4:00 pm. You do not need to be present to win.

Gingerbread House Contest rules

One prize will be awarded in the Gingerbread House Contest – A People’s Choice Award of $20. Multiple people can contribute to an entry. There is no cost to enter.

All entrants must deliver their entry on a baker’s half sheet (13”x18”) or smaller equivalent surface. Delivery may be made to the Vernonia Grange between 10 am and noon on December 14th.

Primary structural material must be gingerbread, and although inedible components are allowed if necessary, it must be self-evident that they are inedible (plastic truck okay, hot glue not okay).

Judging opens at 10:00 am and is by people’s choice. It is advised that you make delivery of the gingerbread house before judging starts.

You may include a notecard with your entry that gives more information about your entry, such as the source of your inspiration, how long it took to construct, who helped, and how long it will take to eat.

Votes will be tallied at 3:30 pm and announced at 4:00 pm. You do not need to be present to win.

These contests are sponsored by The Vernonia Hands on Art Center, a tiny 501c3 working to promote the arts and cultural heritage of Vernonia. Donations are gratefully accepted and you will receive a receipt that may be used for tax purposes.

Pottery by Wanda Aszman

082Finding herself with an empty nest and time on her hands, Wanda Aszman started taking art classes at Mt. Hood Community College. There she fell in love with ceramics and now, many years later, she’s an accomplished artist creating one-of-a-kind works of clay that are both functional and stunningly beautiful.

078Wanda’s small business, My Jars of Clay, operates out of her studio in Vernonia, with a portion of her time spent in Portland where she’s one of the founders and an 18-year member of the NW Potters Guild. Her experience includes 5 years of study under Don Sprague, a well-known Northwest potter with pieces displayed in the Smithsonian.

Pottery Lantern
Pottery Lantern

When asked what draws her to ceramics, Wanda states that it’s the hands-on creativity, the total immersion in an artistic project that she most enjoys. She loves puttering with clay and would like to do more hand-building—playing with alternate shapes and interesting designs that lead to one-of-a-kind creations. Lanterns are one of Wanda’s specialties because she gets to “cut and paste” with clay.

062Wanda makes all her own glazes, which allows her to tinker and experiment with her own blends. Green glazes of all shades (an Oregon-inspired color) are her favorites and she tests new ones all the time.


Currently, Wanda provides finished pottery, custom pieces, and kiln services. She vends her pottery at several street fairs in Portland as well as during summer and holiday events. Someday, Wanda hopes to find space in Vernonia to offer classes for children and adults.

Interested in pottery? Wanda can be contacted via email at waaszman@gmail.com.

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