Weathergrams were invented by Lloyd Reynolds, a master calligrapher at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, who published a book titled Weathergrams in 1972. Reynolds said that weathergrams are “poems of about ten words or less,” and that they are “generally seasonal.” These poems are calligraphed onto strips of biodegradable paper, often grocery bag paper, with a string added so they can be tied onto something for display in public places. He said they should be “hung on bushes or trees in gardens or along mountain trails” for “three months or longer,” where they can “weather & wither like old leaves.”
Weathergrams were directly influenced by haiku poetry, and continue to interest haiku poets. In 2011, Barbara Snow gave a weathergram workshop at that year’s Seabeck Haiku Getaway in Washington State (see photo of her weathergrams below). Attendees made numerous weathergrams and hung them on the bushes and trees around the conference center, where many visitors enjoyed them over the following months. Some survived until the following year, and the conference center staff said they delighted in discovering our haiku weathergrams throughout the year. Making weathergrams immediately became an annual Seabeck tradition, and the practice has spread to other parts of the haiku community, such as at the Haiku North America conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in September of 2017.
Weathergram poems and their calligraphy are often spontaneous and ephemeral. The collection presented here, though, uses previously published haiku by Michael Dylan Welch, with artwork by Jacqueline Calladine, integrating the poems into weathergram haiga. Jacqueline worked with recycled, found, and foraged materials, created her inks using locally sourced materials, and employed sewing, fabrics, gold and silver flecks, and dyeing in her collage process. We produced these weathergrams as part of the “Moonshine Series,” an autumn 2014 exhibition and public art project in the historical downtown core of Redmond, Washington, funded by a grant from 4Culture while Michael was the city’s poet laureate. These weathergrams were also made into a set of greeting cards, which are available from both Michael Dylan Welch and Jacqueline Calladine.
Weathergrams are intended to weather away outdoors. See photographs by Jacqueline Calladine of these decaying weathergrams. Also see these weathergrams made into haiku greeting cards.