I’ll have to wait to see rosebuds. Snow’s predicted tonight. In the meantime the Library of Congress is celebrating with Spring Fling pop-up exhibits, music and tours. Everyone’s invited!
Last fall I zoomed to an era long before smart phones and social media with a visit to Tribune Showprint. It’s a workshop full of printing presses dating as far back as 1878. Known for years as the printer of the Benton County Tribune, the shop also made posters for store windows and outdoor advertising. As we admired the presses in operation, owner Kim Miller told the story of how she and her husband moved machines from Fowler, Indiana, to their current location in Muncie — all overnight to preserve the reputation as the oldest continuously operating print shop in the country.
At the studio of the Book Arts Collaborative next door, we admired books and letterpress cards designed by local artists and students from Ball State University.
I learned that before the invention of modern duplicating machines or carbon paper, clerks used special copy presses. The clerk placed an original document — with the ink still wet — against a sheet of thin onionskin paper. When pressed together, the papers printed a mirror image! The text on the copy could be read from the back when held up to the light from a window.
On returning home, I focused on ideas for design sessions with teens. I pulled out my copies of Creative Bookbinding by Pauline Johnson and Cover to Cover by Shereen LaPlantz and tested techniques for decorating papers and sewing hard covers. The students, under the direction of Erika Lucas, completed their projects in March. I stitched two books then and plan to sew again this week.
On April 21 and 22, 2017, the Collaborative and Tribune Showprint will host Interrobang, a festival celebrating the craft and the art of the book.
A sunny afternoon and we couldn’t resist drawing outside.
I looked in my bookshelf and pulled out a copy of Nature Drawing by Clare Walker Leslie. Beyond the front door we sketched blue skies, puffy clouds, cherry trees and architecture — inspiration all around us.
Dancing. In my dreams. Last month I broke my femur. Thank goodness the surgeon put it back together. Now I’m painting and thinking about dancing. Maybe in the spring.
One of my favorite fairy tales is The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm. I have A Little Golden Book published in 1954. The story is retold by Jane Werner with pictures by Sheilah Beckett. I love the colorful dresses, the trees studded with leaves of silver, gold and diamonds, and the mystery of it all. Where do the princesses disappear to in the night?
What is your favorite fairy tale?
A fox ran past our house the other night. I spotted it under the streetlight. My neighbor saw it, too.
My favorite book from childhood, The Anthology of Children’s Literature, included “The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story” by Joel Chandler Harris. You might also remember the story from the Disney movie, Song of the South. Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox trick each other. The fox catches the rabbit with a very sticky ruse, the Tar Baby. To avoid becoming barbecue, the rabbit pleads, “Please don’t throw me into the briar patch!” Of course, the fox flings the rabbit straight into the thicket.
Virginia Hamilton retells this story in her anthology, The People Could Fly, and the rabbit cries, “Hot lettuce pie! This is where I want to be,” as he lands in the briars — free and safe.
Peter Spier’s The Fox went out on a chilly night features a roguish fox that fares better. He races through town and country and arrives home with dinner for a den full of kits. Emily Gleichenhaus sings this melody on the CD for her program, Sing Books with Emily. You can catch her performances for children at libraries in Northern Virginia.
Note: I noticed today (May 14, 2015) that my copy of The Fox went out on a chilly night, the seventeenth printing, has only “The Fox” capitalized in the title. The other words are written underneath in lower case. As the photo on Emily’s web site shows, more recent printings capitalize using familiar rules, The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night.
Betty Crocker’s step by step cookbook for kids taught me to make Long John Silver Sandwiches, Canned Peas Deluxe — just think of the gastronomic flair — and Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes. Of course, I had lots of on the job experience with my mom, my grandmothers, a very talented dad and generous aunts. I loved the illustrations in Betty Crocker’s 1957 edition. On the cover, the young fellow is tasting, while the girls whip up the batter by hand. Imagine my surprise when I noticed that boys do all the campfire cooking and girls do most of the serving and dishwashing. Thank heaven for all you feminists out there, because my husband knows how to wash dishes!
Now I’m inspired by authors, who write about food and celebrations with friends and families. Here are just a few:
French toast by the author of Dream Boy and How to Behave at a Tea Party, Madelyn Rosenberg
Recipes for griddle cakes, turkey soup, blueberry pie and more by the author of Emily and Carlo, Marty Rhodes Figley
A review of The Bakeshop Ghost by Jacqueline Ogburn in Books Together by Anamaria AndersonWhat a Way to Start a New Year! A Rosh Hashanah Story and The Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle by Jacqueline Jules
This Gingerbread Man has adventures all year round. Look for him in books by Laura Murray.
update December 9, 2014: For those of you who are curious, the well-known illustrator, Gloria Kamen, created the drawings for Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Boys and Girls.
The anthology includes a short biography of Lear, who was born in 1812 as one of twenty-one children. He began his career as an illustrator of nature studies and was known for his colored drawings of birds. While living in the home of the Earl of Derby, he entertained the children with silly rhymes and drawings, and those high spirited activities lead to the publication of his first Book of Nonsense. As a landscape painter, Lear divided his time between Britain and the Mediterranean. The article in the Anthology of Children’s Literature says that he taught drawing to Queen Victoria, but using a quick internet search, I’ve been unable to confirm the fact. Please let me know, if you find a source that gives an account of teaching the queen!
Lear is famous for his limericks, and you can find more information about his life and writing at the web site for the Poetry Foundation. One of my favorite poems is this verse about the Quangle Wangle. In March my first grade students will learn about animals and their homes. I hope to have them draw their own version of the tree with the Quangle Wangle and his houseguests!
The Quangle Wangle’s Hat
by Edward LearIOn the top of the Crumpetty TreeThe Quangle Wangle sat,But his face you could not see,On account of his Beaver Hat.For his Hat was a hundred and two feet wide,With ribbons and bibbons on every sideAnd bells, and buttons, and loops, and lace,So that nobody every could see the faceOf the Quangle Wangle Quee.IIThe Quangle Wangle saidTo himself on the Crumpetty Tree, —“Jam; and jelly; and bread;“Are the best of food for me!“But the longer I live on this Crumpetty Tree“The plainer than ever it seems to me“That very few people come this way“And that life on the whole is far from gay!”Said the Quangle Wangle Quee.IIIBut there came to the Crumpetty Tree,Mr. and Mrs. Canary;And they said, — “Did every you see“Any spot so charmingly airy?“May we build a nest on your lovely Hat?“Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!“O please let us come and build a nest“Of whatever material suits you best,“Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!”IVAnd besides, to the Crumpetty TreeCame the Stork, the Duck, and the Owl;The Snail, and the Bumble-Bee,The Frog, and the Fimble Fowl;(The Fimble Fowl, with a corkscrew leg;)And all of them said, — “We humbly beg,“We may build out homes on your lovely Hat, —“Mr. Quangle Wangle, grant us that!“Mr. Quangle Wangle Quee!”VAnd the Golden Grouse came there,And the Pobble who has no toes, —And the small Olympian bear, —And the Dong with a luminous nose.And the Blue Baboon, who played the Flute, —And the Orient Calf from the Land of Tute, —And the Attery Squash, and the Bisky Bat, —All came and built on the lovely HatOf the Quangle Wangle Quee.VIAnd the Quangle Wangle saidTo himself on the Crumpetty Tree, —“When all these creatures move“What a wonderful noise there’ll be!”And at night by the light of the Mulberry moonThey danced to the Flute of the Blue Baboon,On the broad green leaves of the Crumpetty Tree,And all were as happy as happy could be,With the Quangle Wangle Quee.