Minidewak (2013)

As a botanist and professor of plant ecology, Robin Wall Kimmerer has spent a career learning how to ask questions of nature using the tools of science. As a Potawatomi woman, she learned from elders, family, and history that the Potawatomi consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. These two aspects of identity combine in Kimmerer’s recent book of essays, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. In a special partnership with publisher Milkweed Editions, MCBA’s 2013 Winter Book Minidewak reproduces four selected readings from Braiding Sweetgrass in a limited edition, handmade artist’s book.


A Potawatomi term, minidewak (literally, “they give from the heart”) refers to a ceremonial tradition of gift-giving, an expression of generosity and gratitude with its roots in nature’s cycle of plenty and scarcity. Kimmerer understands the minidewak as a living symbol of community, wherein “the well-being of one is linked to the well-being of all.”

The artistry, sumptuous materials and craftsmanship of each Winter Book makes it an avidly collected series, included in museum and rare book library collections across the country and around the world. Minidewak is produced in extremely limited editions (200 Standard, 26 Deluxe).

Under the direction of MCBA Executive Director Jeff Rathermel, Minidewak was produced in two editions, each letterpress printed by master printer Monica Edwards Larson, with the assistance of Winter Book interns Ian Kolstad, Dan Shearen, Evelyn Miller and Shark Shredder. All illustrations are by Nate Christopherson. Both editions include letterpress printed text and imagery on Arches Text Wove, with titles set in Cresci and text set in Granjon.

The Standard Edition ($70), numbered 1 through 200, features the readings in four sections, bound in handmade paper covers produced in MCBA’s studios by Jeff Rathermel, Monica Edwards Larson, Genevieve Nordmark and the Winter Book interns. The books were hand-bound by volunteers from the MCBA artist community, and are housed in a birch wood slipcase.

Standard Edition – SOLD OUT

The Deluxe Edition ($490), lettered A through Z and signed by author Robin Wall Kimmerer, was bound by master binder Jana Pullman using a three-piece Bradel binding. Materials include linen book cloth, chestnut brown leather, handmade paper and birch veneer. The book is housed in a drop-spine box accompanied by a suite of prints on handmade paper in a birch board portfolio.

Purchase the Deluxe Edition

Shipping: $20 each
Sales tax will be added to purchase.

About Winter Book

MCBA’s annual Winter Book publication is the embodiment of our artistic vision — to preserve and promote both the traditional crafts of bookmaking (hand papermaking, letterpress printing, printmaking and hand bookbinding) as well as the contemporary exploration of the book as art. Since 1988, Winter Book has engaged artists, designers, papermakers, printers, bookbinders and community volunteers in producing a handmade, limited edition artist’s book featuring poetry or prose by a Minnesota author or editor. The artistry and hand craftsmanship of each Winter Book makes it an avidly collected series, included in museum and rare book library collections across the country and around the world.

Visit The Shop at MCBA to see Winter Books of the past in person. Winter Book has featured such treasured Minnesota writers as Robert Bly, Louise Erdrich, Kevin Kling, Bill Holm, Louis Jenkins, Carol Bly, Larry Millett, Patricia Hampl, Judith Guest, Jon Hassler and Bryan Thao Worra, among many othe