Sarafina Fiber Art

Sarafina Fiber Art

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Journey of a First Book

I have written and/or illustrated a handful of stories and books.  Each is a spectacular visual and emmotional delight, written with a brilliant edge and with illustrations so full of life you will be transported to another world just by gazing upon the page.  But you can only find them on a dusty shelf in my abandoned third floor studio.  And that's after you dig through piles.

I am feeling very optimistic about finally finishing a book - seeing it the whole way through - a process made easier with the abundant choices for self publishing and the help and support of the Sarafina Staff.

First I had to make the wolf and other characters.  Nothing quite like the feeling of extreme inspiration and the creative process.  When I get supercharged I can remain quite focused no matter how difficult, large, and cumbersome the task.

And the Girl:

Both Wolf and Little Red were a joy to create.  They would have been fun even as the end result, but knowing that I would also be using the characters for a photo story book gave me even more tidbits on which to chew; tiny details, movement, accessories, opening and closing eyes, clothing and such.  There are other characters as well.  Two North Country critters, the grouse and snow hare, a butterfly, and Big Wolf as a pup.

The entire cast was ready to go.  Go where?  At first I was going to use our local state park as the setting dragging my family out for outings to scout pretty places.  But then I pictured the High Peaks Region of the Adirondacks, where my Mom and Step Dad spend their summers, and suddenly that was the only option.  My family gave me full support to leave for a 4 day weekend (2 driving, 2 working), and I set out with the gang on the 8 hour trip to my Mom's home int he ADKs.

Big Wolf startled me when I came around the side of the car to gas up...

 It was a long drive but a smooth one.  My Mom offered great support, feeding me and showing me some of her favorite picturesque places around her home.  Fortunately, her home is at the top of a mountain with an amazing view so I did not have to hike up 3 miles to get to this outcropping, just step out the door...

My bubble was burst when I unpacked my car realized that I had forgotten my tiny tripod and had a moment of self pity and doubt.  But, like most set backs, it was not insurmountable. I took my crew, camera, and accessories out into the woods. 

Mostly I worked in the woods, spending a lot of time on the forest floor.  Cursing the characters for not remaining in the precarious positions in which I had placed them.  Every shot was a management of light, scale, scenery, and balance.

I think this set up fell over about 12 times before I got the shot.  Every time I had to get back up off the ground, pick off all of the forest floor ruble from the wool, set it back up, and crawl back to the camera.  There are worse ways to spend a day, but it was frustrating.

Then I would take a moment to stop and smell the roses.  I looked around and saw the most amazing vignettes of forest floor

Another slightly daunting task, was the fire shot.  I watch a lot of survival shows, and so I know I am practically an expert.  You would not believe how difficult it is to build, light, and maintain a tiny fire!  Finally my Mom suggested I use a candle, which worked brilliantly.  I am a survivalist failure but I got a decent shot.  I ate the chicken/grouse too.

There are 34 full color pages in this book.  Talbot is helping me make every photo the best it can be and fix what I was not able to control, with his mad photoshop skills.  We are hopefully only a week or two away from sending them to be printed.  Please keep an eye out through for the end result of this year long project.