In 2008, Dan Buettner wrote a book called The Blue Zones, 9 Lessons for Living Longer. In the book he traveled the world to remote locations in Okinawa, Sardinia, Ikaria where people live very long lives. Mostly he studied their diets to see what promotes healthy living.

Too bad he didn’t visit West Tisbury, or Ruth Epstein to be exact, who at 92 displays the energy and curiosity of an owl crossed with a college kid.

When asked what she eats, Ruth just shrugs. “Let’s not get into that,” she says.

For Ruth, the key to a long and interesting life is all about creativity.

“Plus a little luck,” she admits.

Ruth is currently having an art exhibit at the West Tisbury Library. The show opened in early November and will continue through the end of the month. The show features 14 collages and three sculptures.

Ruth says she likes the challenge of learning something new, which is why every 10 years she switches art forms — completely. One decade was all about black and white photography, then came quilting, weaving, dollmaking. In her 70s she got hooked on sculpture, heavy stuff made of alabaster.

“I had to learn how to use power tools,” she said of that era. “If I don’t know how to do something, I learn how to do it.”

Recently, since she moved to the Vineyard about eight years ago, collages have been center stage. She lives and creates in a guest house located on the property of her daughter Lisa Epstein and son in law Ivory Littlefield.

Her collages started small, bits of images to send to friends when she moved to the Island from her longtime home in Holyoke. Her husband William had died and she wanted to start fresh. The two were married for more than 50 years, beginning when Ruth was 25 years old. “That was late in those days,” she says.

The early collages, change of address notices really, featured an upside down ship, a woman weaving and lots of water. On the Island, her collages began to grow in size. She created a tribute to her late husband and then to her mother “the strudel queen.”

But she was just getting started. The collages in the library exhibit are all quite large, with precise details and vivid colors.

“Once I started doing the bigger ones I liked the feeling because I could tell a story and give a message,” she says.

Some tell stories of an era. Toot Toot Tootsi embraces the 1920s (Ruth was born in 1925) with images of Rudy Valée and Al Jolson. Others conjure moods. A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose evokes a heartfelt longing, featuring a single woman seen in profile surrounded by roses. Puppetry revels in both the light and darkness that puppets, especially the old ones, carry with them wherever they go.

Immigration, Coming to America tells both a personal history and the broader journey of immigrants everywhere. At the top are pictures of Ruth’s father who was born in Romania and her mother who was born in Poland. The couple immigrated to America in 1920, settled on Delancy street in New York city, and then traveled to Massachusetts. The collage shows the multitudes entering New York Harbor, and the children who had to work at a young age to survive, as coal miners, cigar makers, whatever was available.

This particular collage is a giclée copy and is the only non-original piece in the library exhibit. The original now hangs in the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

“Monina von Opel came to the opening and wanted to buy the collage for the hospital collection,” Ruth explains. “But I said it wasn’t for sale. The piece was too personal and the only one not for sale. But she wanted that one and was persistent and so she had a man on the Island create this copy.”

Next to the immigrant collage are three pieces that Ruth refers to as “my Jewish phase.” These three collages are called Medieval Jewish life, The Jewish Community Before the Holocaust and The Grandmother I Never Knew. Both individually and taken together they tell a powerful and difficult story.

The Grandmother I Never Knew is anchored by a photo of Ruth’s grandmother, Hava Mittleman and her mother, Lillian, taken when Lillian was a small child. When Lillian left for America in 1920, Hava stayed behind in Poland, writing letters to her daughter the entire time. The last letter is dated 1939, when Hitler invaded and began exterminating the Jewish population including Ruth’s grandmother. The photograph of the two women is surrounded by these original letters, written in Yiddish.

“I tried to use copies,” Ruth said, “but the color and the effect wasn’t the same.”

The bottom of the collage contains images of other Polish people who lived at the time in her grandmother’s hometown. As part of a long search, Ruth tracked down a survivor from the town. “She climbed out of the pit of bodies,” Ruth said.

“It is so important to keep telling this story,” she added. “There are not many left who can.”

Traveling further down the collection one encounters Geishas, inspired by a trip Ruth made to the Met to see a kimono exhibit, and Fans, Accessories for the Lady, which includes many ancient fans from the 1800s.

When asked where she found so many old fans, Ruth replies, “I had them.”

Years ago, though, she had given the fans to her granddaughter, Leah Littlefield. But when the creative spirit decided on fans, Ruth had no choice but to ask for them back. “I told her I’d give her the collage in return.”

Looking out over the entire collection, Ruth gestures to each piece. “I look at all this and think to myself, did I really do all this? The cutting, the gluing, doing it over and over again when it didn’t come out right. It’s a long process.”

“It’s like a writer doing a memoir,” she says. “This is my story.”

As her decade of working with collages comes to a close Ruth is still pondering what art form will emerge next. “My daughter is hoping for something smaller,” she says. “Perhaps jewelry.”