Life’s journey is full of strange twists and turns. One of the most unusual turns for me will occur next Saturday when some of my work will be on display at an art gallery. Me—who never had an art class in my life! I will have my work at Sunbear Studios and Gallery, May 19 and 20 in Alexandria, Ohio.
Some of my loyal followers of this blog may be thinking that I will have my photographs but, no, I will be featuring actual art work from my children’s books. I have three self-published children’s books titled The Sad Seedling, The Beautiful Bird from Birdburgville, and Robert Robin’s First Flight. When I wrote the books I had a very definite picture in mind and, although I worked with several artists to illustrate the books, they never captured the mood and personalities I wanted. Finally, in desperation I tried illustrating them myself and the final product wasn’t too bad. Art critics would probably find plenty to criticize but I drew my characters the way I saw them and what I liked as a child.
I need a “hook”
I took my books to a few book signings and craft shows but I felt I needed something more to draw attention to my product. Children being dragged to these events are bored beyond belief. I then decided I needed to make these characters come alive for them so I created soft sculptures of the main characters.
Making the critters
This was another challenge because not only am I not an artist but I have limited sewing experience. I found a pattern with basic bird shapes and then modified the patterns to look more like my characters. Here enters challenge number three—how to make the modifications work.
Once I had an object that closely resembled the characters in the books I then needed to make a few more adjustments so I could reproduce a number of them in as short amount of time as possible. Because the characters are so small, it is difficult scrunching all the material around the BIG sewing machine. It would have been much easier to make the characters larger but then they would be out of proportion to the ones in the books.
Finally, once the “critters” are complete then the hand work for the finishing touches comes into the picture. This involves sewing on the heads, closing the bottoms, adding buttons for eyes; and hot gluing “googly” eyes on the robins, beaks, wings, etc.
The big reveal
In March I talked with the owner of Sunbear Studios and Gallery about including my books in her shop and mentioned I was thinking of creating soft sculptures to go with them. She then told me about her art show coming up in May and to come back with them and she would decide. Today was the big reveal. I took my creations back to Meridith, the owner, and she loved them. In her words, “They are so cute.”
Art is fun May 19 & 20
So please come see me next Saturday, May 19 and 20 at Sunbear Studios and Gallery, 3 W. Main St., Alexandria, Ohio 43001—740/924-2656 (between Johnstown and Granville, Ohio on OH Rt. 37). They are planning a great art festival with live music, artist demos, door prizes, art auction of children’s art work, container gardens by Baker’s Acres, snacks, and LOTS OF FUN!
So, here I am, participating in an art show with no formal training—but that has allowed me to think outside the box. Maybe I’ll be an overnight sensation, the Grandma Moses of our time—who’d a thought it?!
NOTE—below is a copy of the flyer. I will add pictures of my “critters” later.