Friday, September 28, 2012

Shadows of my childhood reading

This week I was invited to be the featured artist in the "Lunch with an Artist" series at the SpinOff Studio in Hallowell.  My friend Manon Whittlesey, who is on the staff there, asked me to join them for lunch, a brief discussion of my art, and a hands-on workshop of my choice.  I chose to teach them about shadowboxes made from books.  I was inspired by the fun I had in creating this piece for the Treasures from the Library Attic Show 2 years ago.

 Bonus: Manon said they had a source for free cigar boxes that the artists could use for frames.

Preparing for the lunch date, I knew it was the right time to cut into my extra special, water-stained copy of The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats that I found at the Barn of Opportunity last year. 
 This is a book that I remember so vividly from my childhood.  Flipping through it is intensely evocative for me. Every image brings me back.  It was perfect to use as an example of shadow box illustrations for the artists at SpinOff.

 I found a suitable frame at GoodWill and started cutting and gluing.  I was pleased at the result.  Even had enough paper with the 4 endpages to cover the frame itself.

I added a touch of Olena's glitter glue inside the glass to represent the snow lying off Peter's snow suit.

On to another favorite find. We Were Tired of Living in a House, by Liesel Moak Skorpen.

This is another book from my childhood.  I think I must have fantasized for hours when I was little about joining these characters as they "packed [their] bag with sweaters and socks and scarlet leaves and gold..."

When I approached the shadowbox project for this book, I thought about how I might go beyond the book illustration and create a new place (background) for the children(foreground) to move to when their raft and their tree house and their cave didn't work out.  But where?  The Barn of Opportunity brought me the answer I needed with a 2011 calendar featuring the "Wonders of the World".  The children could now pack up their sweaters and socks and move to...

Machu Picchu, of course!

(Another dismantled shadow frame from GoodWill)

Thank goodness that the children decided that Machu Picchu was a bit drafty and they liked their house best.

Just like I remembered.


  1. Hi Kate, the Ezra Jack Keats book with the "peep box" that this project (coincidentally) reminded me of is "The Trip" - another terse, poetic chunk of childhood transport AND a great kid project idea which could involve water-stained illustrations of old favorites. I'll bring by my own lovingly used copy of "The Trip."

  2. These are fabulous! I was at SpinOff for a few minutes on Friday... one of my young friends is doing artwork there now.


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