The Stonyford Museum sponsored a book signing and display of paintings and supporting material used to illustrate Homesteading on Grasshopper Flats, by Etta Rose Knox and with illustrations by Marinell Harriman, the author’s daughter, who was present to sign the book. Etta was a Stonyford resident.
This book has a curious history. It was published in 1984 and the author died in 1999. The book is a novelized autobiography of Etta Knox’s troubled life on a rustic and primitive homestead in northern New Mexico, in the 1930s. Her traumatic life experience haunted her such that she had to write it down in order to make sense of it all. With her second husband, Don Knox, she moved to Stonyford in the 1970s and onto the ranch of her son, David Lewis. With husband Don’s support and with the active assistance of daughter Marinell and her family, Etta’s history became a beautifully illustrated novel.
Publication of this novel was a family enterprise. Daughter Marinell illustrated and edited the book. Son-in-law Bob designed, produced and arranged publication for the book. And grand children Bill and Tania, and Bill’s then girl friend and later wife, Amy, modeled for the book.
After Etta’s death, unsold copies of the novel and all of the supporting illustrations were carefully packed away in her son’s barn. There they remained untouched by either critters or humans until the barn was cleared following her son’s death. The material then found its way back to daughter Marinell and her husband, Bob Harriman.
The Harriman’s moved to Stonyford in 2015 and purchased a ten acre property with a large barn. They have converted part of the barn into a museum for displaying this long neglected material: five-hundred or so pristine copies of the book and all of the original paintings and supporting material used to produce it. Marinell and Bob have organized the material to clearly document the creation of the artwork used to illustrate this small, 180-page book.
On Saturday, April 16, 2016, this beautiful artwork was unveiled at a book signing co-sponsored by the Stonyford Museum. The illustrations and other artwork will remain on display and will be available for viewing by arrangement with the Stonyford Museum. The museum is open on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month from 1 to 4 p.m., March through November and the 2nd Sunday only, December through February, or by appointment by calling (530) 570-5591 or (530) 963-3141. Admission is free, but donations and memberships are gratefully accepted and much appreciated.