Sunday, March 29, 2009

chairs and poetry.

The last chair I need to report on was the one I made for Amy's 5 year old daughter Samantha, or Sammy as she now prefers to be called. Amy suggested a poetry theme, since currently Sam is really into reading, rhyming, and Shel Silverstein. I went to the library to pick up some Shel Silverstein books, and also grabbed some other collections of poetry for children. I chose several poems that I thought would work for the project, based on length and subject matter, and emailed them to Amy. She and Sammy sat down and read them together, deciding on Hug O' War by Shel Silverstein.
I found two illustrations in my favorite ever childrens book, Oh What A Busy Day by Gyo Fujikawa. I copied and enlarged them to the size I needed for my chair. To recreate these wonderful illustrations with various papers from my stash, I needed 5 copies of each illustration. I simply taped my chosen paper behind the illustration and cut out the individual pieces: hair, face, hands, legs, shoes, dress body, dress sleeve, dress cuff, etc. The reason this process requires several copies is because I may have to cut through part of the dress to get to the hand, or the hair may overlap part of the shoulder. Working with multiple copies makes it easier to cut out every tiny piece. I've done this process once before, with this chair, which was based on illustrations by Cicely Mary Barker.

Once all the little pieces were cut out, I simply glued them all together, using one last (intact) copy of the illustration as a guide. This process takes some patience and sometimes requires a delicate touch. I used a fine pen to draw the children's faces and outline their bodies. I decided to leave everything but their skin undefined, just because I liked how it looked.
This chair has a couple of mistakes that were bothering me at first. Just sloppy mistakes, one involving a smudge and the other involving a crooked placement. I was heartsick over these mistakes at first, but they truly could not be fixed without tossing the whole chair and starting over again, and I did not have the time or resources for that option. I needn't have worried so much; I don't think Amy noticed either detail.

Looking for poetry books took me to a section of the library I had never visited, and I am on a big children's poetry kick now. I stumbled upon the books of Jack Prelutsky, which are full of wonderful illustrations and quirky rhymes. When I can convince the boys to take a break from various superhero books, we have been enjoying Prelutsky's poems very much.

I also came across THIS BOOK, which I didn't know existed, and which I feel it is my right to own. I'd really love to have all of Gyo's books in my collection (yeah, we're on a first-name basis), but this poetry collection especially sings to my heart and my eyes. Mother's Day is coming up, right?

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