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“All in the Woods” first review through and first from the USA

“All in the Woods” by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Linda S. Gunn, Pixiefoot Press, 2011 UK  ISBN 978-0-9560363-5-3  [release  – 1st August]

Everyone in Pete’s family is moving or adjusting to a move, it seems. Change brings challenges, not least of which are the family’s nosey, new neighbours. Everyone says what they think, but are they right? Things are not always as they seem…  and who is the mysterious little visitor who changes everything? A story that bridges generations, told with humour  and an underlying plea for the preservation of wildlife habitats.

REVIEW by Janice Phelps Williams, USA

“With sensitive and humorous prose, J.R. McRae tells a story of family life, love, and acceptance with beautiful illustrations by Linda Gunn. When Pete finds a furry hero, Ink, to solve his dinnertime woes, a nosey neighbor jumps to conclusions that enlarge as Pete’s grandpa comes to visit. When Mrs. Allan’s mother-in-law, Nanny, and Pete’s grandpa take off for an early-morning drive, the assumptions increase until Ink and Grandpa solve the mystery. Perfect for young readers, this book speaks of a boy and his grandpa, a mother defending her son from gossip, and the surprise of love at any age.”  ~Janice Phelps Williams, author, illustrator www.janicephelps.com

Promotional poster, by Tara Hale, for “All in the Woods”, Pixiefoot Press, 2011

Book Safari – the Journey to Woodlands! Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature

Peter Taylor, the multi-talented SCWBI Coordinator , Queensland chapter, and the Book Safari Coordinator, the inimitable Jenny Stubbs roped me in to help with the Book Safari tents at Woodlands. This was a first for me and proved to be an excellent networking and promotional activity. Opportunity abounded to talk to lots of teachers, students and other writers, illustrators, publishers and editors.  In other words it was reading, hearing, viewing and doing STORIES, pretty much non stop!

Links: Another great blog on the Ipswich Festival of Children’s Literature –

http://misshelenwrites.wordpress.com/2009/09/09/more-on-ipswich-festival-of-childrens-literature/#comment-569

Here is a pictorial overview from the days I was there – 2nd, 3rd and 5th of September.  PHOTOGRAPHS: 1-3 Woodlands;

Woodlands, Ipswich from the approach road

Woodlands, Ipswich from the approach road

The heritage listed Homestead with the Book Safari banner at the entrance

The heritage listed Homestead with the Book Safari banner at the entrance

Why it is called Woodlands.

Why it is called Woodlands.

4-6 Editors, Presenters, Writers and more…

Kristina Schulz, UQP, Leonie Tyle, Random House, Dr. Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Kristina Schulz, UQP, Leonie Tyle, Random House, Dr. Robyn Sheahan-Bright

Julie Nickerson, Cheryl Gwyther, Dee White

Julie Nickerson, Cheryl Gwyther, Dee White

justin D'Ath's very unique book launch

Justin D'Ath's very unique book launch

7-9 Illustrators and workshops…

Behaving like Wild Things at the mask making workshop with Lee Fullarton

Behaving like Wild Things at the mask making workshop with Lee Fullarton

Lucia Masciullo shows us her new books x 2

Lucia Masciullo shows us her new books x 2

Lachlan Creagh inspires us with his own brand of wild things

Lachlan Creagh inspires us with his own brand of wild things

10-13 The nomads at their tents…

Peter Taylor,writer, illustrator, calligrapher and SCWBI coordinator

Peter Taylor,writer, illustrator, calligrapher and SCWBI coordinator

Author/illustrators, Helen Ross of Miss Helen Books and Lynelle Z. Westlake

Author/illustrators, Helen Ross of Miss Helen Books and Lynelle Z. Westlake

Lynelle Z. Westlake using every spare minute to create!

Lynelle Z. Westlake using every spare minute to create!

J.R.Poulter + books, Peter Taylor not losing a moment in the background

J.R.Poulter + books, Peter Taylor not losing a moment in the background

Jenny Stubbs and Book Safari Coordinators in handpainted, South African t-shirts designed for the festival

Jenny Stubbs and Book Safari Coordinators in hand-painted, South African t-shirts designed for the festival

MS Readathon Tent

MS Readathon Tent

14 & 15 Jenny Stubbs and the Coordinating Team outside the Jacaranda Room; MS Readathon Tent

16 – 19 The people who keep the writers and illustrators viable – the amazing folk of the BOOK GARDEN!

Douglas Fussell, author and early childhood adviser

Douglas Fussell, author and early childhood adviser

John Moffatt, Book Garden troubleshooter

John Moffatt, Book Garden troubleshooter

Deb Zavelsky, owner and children's literature supporter

Deb Zavelsky, owner and children's literature supporter

The Book Garden logo

The Book Garden logo

“Mending Lucille” – A Peak Inside

Mending Lucille - cover

Mending Lucille - cover

Mending Lucille has been described as …

“…a book to be treasured by all. It is the story of a young girl and how she copes with the loss of her mother. The illustrations are both stunning and sensitive… Mending Lucille is a story which will help any child coping with the loss of a loved one. It shows that time will heal but you never have to forget. The theme of grief is dealt with in a sensitive and age appropriate manner. The little girl is never given a name. She doesn’t need one. She is every child who has ever suffered the pain of losing someone they care about.”
I loved it.      “The Reading Stack”, Issue 11, August 2008, page 12

Peak inside nowhttp://bit.ly/VQxs1

Part II. Mattias Adolfsson the Illustrative Storyteller

Like all good illustrators, Matias is a storyteller with paint and ink. The joy of working with folk like Mattias, Angel Dominguez, Bernhard Oberdieck, Nick Harris, Sarah Davis and others, is that they can load layers of meaning into a single picture adding dimension to the text. They are also able to add illustrative subplots of their own that augment the main plot and add visual interest. The other joy, and I speak here as a writer, is that their very doodlated sketches and ‘just for me/ for fun’ works  speak, story positively oozing out the edges. I have episodes of  total right brain escapism let loose with Mattias’ tantalising takes on everything and anything and more. Many of the Wacky Wordages on my blog or available for teachers and students and others  via www.sharing-books.com, are the result of such episodes of  creative indulgence.

Characters

Beatnik Dragon [alias Mattias?]

Beatnik Dragon -alias Mattias?

Gnu with G[n]un

Gnu with un Gnun

Monster 4

Monster 4

Person carriage with mini-elephant

Person carriage with mini-elephant

and more characters…

Piggles

Piggles

Sky Dragon

Sky Dragon

The importance of flat sock ironing

The importance of flat sock ironing

Bertie in bath - character in "Improbable Adventures..." with J.R.Poulter

Bertie in bath - character in "Improbable Adventures..." with J.R.Poulter

Jennifer: The comic book element is present in many of your blog posts, you mentioned a course in comic writing/creation. What brought on that deviation? What are you ambitions in venturing into that genre?

Mattias:

I’m not a big comic reader (I used to be though) but I’d like to do some kind of comics/book soon. My priority has to be making a living though, so it’s hard finding time making something like books and comics on my own time without the monetary backing.

Jennifer: The sense of story in your works is strong. Do you have plans for your own children’s picturebook? What about a darkly humorous graphic novel? [You keep tantalizing us with hints of projects underway.]

Mattias: I have a problem with too many ideas at the moment, I need to focus on print and leaving the web perhaps, I spend far too much time doing internet things. Maybe a yearlong web sabbatical would do the trick.

Characters in current book project, “Improbable Adventures…” :

Elery takes off

Henry takes off

Elery

Elery

Henry & ice-cream truck

Henry & ice-cream truck

Jennifer: I find your work inspiring in a dangerously right brain way!

Do you find the drawings evolve themselves from the end of your pen and do their own thing or do you try to control them?

Mattias: I often say that the drawing kind of evolves rather than being planned, but when I look at the drawings I do, or rather, I can see certain themes, I guess that my right brain does know what it wants to draw…

Some of Mattias’ ‘right brain inspired’ series :

Rocket series: Goth Spear Tower Rocket

Rocket series: Goth Spear Tower Rocket

Robot sea creature series: Magnetic Fish 3

Robot sea creature series: Magnetic Fish 3

Domestic Monster series: The Manual Clothesline

Domestic Monster series: The Manual Clothesline

The House Flower Series - House Flower 1

The House Flower Series - House Flower 1

Jennifer: Do you get many approaches from the corporate world? I mean if I were Mojo, I’d want you to design my logo! What are some of the more oddball commissions you have had?

Which commissions do you enjoy the most?

Mattias: I get some approaches but not enough and far too few are oddball, I’d love to do textiles or pottery (not sure about the right name for this). The strangest was doing fashion Illustrations for an English magazine (I’m totally uninterested in fashion). The best commissions I’ve done are when I get a free hand (surprise)!

A variety of  output….

New Ideas in Vacuum cleaners

New Ideas in Vacuum cleaners

This is the back of the book "Till mitt barnbarn" Mattias had been working on, it's all the objects from the first page neatly packed.

This is the back of the book "Till mitt barnbarn" Mattias had been working on, it's all the objects from the first page neatly packed.

Jennifer: There is a great ‘new’ interview with Mattias on Design Taxi for the curious. So, Mattias, having barraged you with questions, which one that you DESPERATLEY wanted me to ask, have I left out? Now is your turn!

Mattias: Do you sometimes fret over if you are too much of an illustrators’ Illustrator and may be not have a very commercial style?  The thought has occurred to me lately. I’m trying to get commission work and maybe an art sales rep, but it’s hard and very time consuming.

Jennifer notes: The mechanics of earning a living with art and literature require,  especially in in the early stages of ‘breaking in’,  other work which  seems constantly to threaten to rob that precious and closely guarded creative element, ‘time’, and yet the  art/literature is the raison d’être and the other, the ‘intrusive’ work, merely essential if the writer/artist is  to do something as mundane as eat.

More variations of Mattias’ output:

Parade: on a roll - Some additional drawing to the book Mattias is doing (Bonnier & Carlsen) with his sister as a designer.

Parade: on a roll - Some additional drawing to the book Mattias is doing (Bonnier & Carlsen) with his sister as a designer.

Cooking utensils series - done whilst commuting on the train

Cooking utensils series - done whilst commuting on the train

57 birds and one owl

57 birds and one owl

Early adopters adopting their adaptations

Early adopters adopting their adaptations

Lonely Chinese Tree

Lonely Chinese Tree

A rose is a rose is a rose

A rose is a rose is a rose

And, just to show Mattias does not just do humorous work, but very delicate and detailed pieces as well, I have included the flowers at the end of the interview.

Those of you hungry for more – go to :  http://www.mattiasadolfsson.se/  http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/

Interview with Mattias Adolfsson, the Lewis Carroll of C21st illustrative art.

Cool

Cool

The Addictive Wackiness of Mattias Adolfsson – Sweden’s leading  innovator in the  illustrative arts

Jennifer: I hesitate to ask, your right brain is so hyperactively active who knows what it will let loose, but from where does all this creativity come! Inherited, evolved or from somewhere, dare I ask where, else?

Mattias: Evolved perhaps, but It might have been inherited from my father. My Father was a very funny man, he never got to get an education but I think he had great potential as a Illustrator as well. He came from poor conditions though and had to leave school early.

The Melon Mine Ball House

The Melon Mine Ball House

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

Sketched Whilst Wandering

Sketched Whilst Wandering

The Frontline Sky Ark

The Frontline Sky Ark

Jennifer: As a kid, did you get the bedtime story treatment? What were you favourite stories? What were the illustrations/illustrators you remember most vividly?

Mattias: I really can’t remember getting the bedtime story treatment, but my mother started sticking books in my hands at an early stage (she continued until late in my teens suggesting books, she still does it). I’m rather Euroscentric in my upbringing, my favourite Illustrators as a child where: Oscar AnderssonTove Janson , Kjell Aukrust ,  and with Richard Scarry as an exception to the rule.

Osckar Andersson

Osckar Andersson

Tove Janson

Tove Janson

KJell Aukrust

Kjell Aukrust

Richard Scarry [ Scary]

Richard Scarry / Scary

As for stories, I early got hooked on European (gallic) comics, Tintin and Asterix, I used to read them and still do.

Herge's Tintin

Herge's Tintin

Asterix-Albert-UderzoGroo-Sergio AragonesJennifer’s Comment: I think readers will agree there are some  curious elements of these influences seeping through.

[Mad’s master of detailed mayhem can’t help himself, even his website in seminal form features, Groo, an example of his madcap  characterisations.]

All three artists have an anarchic humour both lauding and subverting utopian ideals and just about everything else in between, Herge, of course, being the subtle one of the three. Where do readers see Mattias flitting in and out of here?

Jennifer: You refer to your love of Mad Magazine’s Sergio Aragones what drives you to detail so transfixing, so almost maddeningly effusive? It is an art in itself to take in all of some of your creations at once! [Can we accuse you of having anything to do with behind the scenes of Where’s Wally?]!

Mattias:

I think the main influence in this is the books of Richard Scary, (where’s Wally is not something I have seen, but I’ve heard it mentioned often). Sometimes I get a craving for leaving the very detailed work as it is hard to take it in, it is lousy as traditional art.

[Note from Jennifer: No, Mattias please don’t. We LOVE the detail!]

"Soupilification" Tree

"Soupilification" Tree

Big Red Animal Bus

Big Red Animal Bus

Sargasso

Sargasso

Death-Star

Death-Star

The detail is mindblowing and maniacal and insidiously addictive. You could study it for hours and still pick out new facets.

Jennifer: I think I mentioned to you once how your incredible machines reminded me of the crazy inventions depicted by Heath Robinson last century. You feature many maniacal machines in your work, what is the fascination?

Mattias: I’m not sure, to be frank I’m not that into machines, sometimes I use the drawing as some kind of meditation, they start to live by themselves.

[Jennifer: The Machine has a life. Mattias’ machines have a humour and character like no other I have seen comparable.]

Horse Powers

Horse Powers

City Dweller

City Dweller

Jogger

Jogger

Migration2

Migration2

Jenny Wagner once said that no children’s book should have a mchine at its heart. In the case of Mattias’ robottic house machines, I would have to disagree. They verge into the realm of the Iron Man, I Robot and even Bicentennial Man. There is a drama and pathos about them that mitigates against the sometimes bleak black humour of civilisation gone  in search of itself.

Jennifer: The architectural elements of your work have also been compared to Hayao Miyazaki. What inspires you particularly about brick, stone and wood construction?  You tell how you started out to be an architect but diverged. How did that come about?

Mattias:

I love buildings and especially of the older kind. Though, when I started studying Architecture, I soon found out that I wasn’t too good designing modern houses. So now I can design what building I want, not having to think about the dwellers.

Captains

Captains

Floaters

Floaters

Church

Church

Ship of the Desert

Ship of the Desert

Oltec-Space

Oltec-Space

Jennifer:  Your recent scholarship sojourn in Greece produced a wealth of work which we all saw evolve over the months on your blog site. Tell us about winning the scholarship and where you see the outworkings of that experience taking you?

Mattias: Well winning was not that hard, it goes to professional Swedish Illustrators ( and I guess not too many can leave home for one month). I’d love to do more traveling and drawing but, in order to do that, I’d have to finance it in some way, maybe via some magazine.

Jennifer’s note: Mattias sketched the most ordinary and extraordinary and made them all ‘art’. He interspersed his online blog diary with the mind expanding mischief his followers have come to love. These, not necessarily from that period, exemplify. [For more still, go to http://www.mattiasadolfsson.se/  http://mattiasa.blogspot.com/ ]

Grumpy disher - dishwasher/toiletcleaner

Grumpy disher - dishwasher/toiletcleaner

House Flower1

House Flower1

Left Dragon

Left Dragon

Learning to Fly

Learning to Fly

Over Ambitious

Over Ambitious

Interview with Marek Wysoczyński, inspirational initiator and director of Project Smile

Update: Project Smile goes to France – http://smilesprojectfrance.wordpress.com/#comment-16

All about Project Smile – the international goodwill outreach to children and their families.

Jennifer: Hi All! I am interviewing Marek Wysoczyński, Director of the Bureau for the Promotion of Culture, Gdansk, Poland. Marek, would you tell my readers something about yourself and your background, your experience with large scale exhibitions leading up to Project Smile?

Marek:

I studied law at the University of Gdansk where I received my Master of Arts in History degree. I was an actor in the German language Theatre Logos and also a teacher of German. I was a history guide in the Central Maritime Museum, an archivist, teacher of history and a manager for special events. At that time, I created a series of concerts entitled “Music on Water” which have been presented by me on a regular basis since then. I was the director of the Baltic Centre of Culture. I organized the Millennial Concert for Emma Kirkby. I was awarded a Gdansk Millennial Medal. I created the Franciscan Centre of Culture in Gdansk and organized music festivals called “Musica Mariana”.

Marek Wysoczynski generating smiles globally!

Marek Wysoczynski generating smiles globally!

As for now, I am  director of the Culture Promotion Office and organize various concerts and novel exhibitions all over the World. I was a co-organizer of the Festival of Culture of Europe in Georgia and organized an Opera festival in Dubrovnik. Every year I organize special carol concerts in Palestine and Jerusalem and, last year, I organized one in a Turkish bath in Skopje. The Office, together with the Goethe Institute, organized a series of Polish song concerts sung in German in Paris and Alexandria. My artists performed Ave Maria concerts in various languages (including Arabic) in the Cathedral in Cairo and also in churches in Turkey, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia. They also sang for SFOR soldiers in Bosnia and NATO soldiers in Kosovo. There was also a concert for the Jordanian princess and a Russian song concert organized by the Russian Embassy and the Polish Embassy in Tunisia. The Office promotes musicians, actors and international co-operation in the field of culture.

I organized an exhibition of 1000 autographs as a part of the Millennial Anniversary of the City of Gdansk. That was the start of the idea to collect autographed smiles for Children’s Hospitals and also for other Institutions.

Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, creating a Smile for Marek's Project Smile

Polish Prime Minister, Donald Tusk, creating a Smile for Marek's Project Smile

The exhibition presented annually during the Polish Films Festival in Gdynia and in Perpignan, in the Institute of Polish Culture in Budapest and during the Festival of Good Mood in Gdansk. The exhibition was also presented in Chelmno in the Town Hall. In May, 2008 the exhibition was presented in Insurgentes Gallery in Mexico and in June in the Children’s Hospital named after Maria Curie Sklodowska in Romania and in Children’s Museums in Italy and in Poland.

Jennifer: In the midst of a very busy position, you have managed to inspire others with a ’brainwave’, the simple but wonderful, empowering concept of an exhibition of ’smiles’ from celebrities of all ilks from all over the world! What started it all? How did you come up with Project Smile?

The Prime Minister's Smile!

The Prime Minister's Smile!

Marek:

When, in 1980, I received my first autograph, that of Kalina Jedrusik, I never thought I would have over 1000 of these footprints of human existence – small pieces of art, as I call autographs, because people often draw something near their signature.

Whilst collecting autographs, I was also thinking about sharing my joy of life with the community and comparing it with the transient keepsake that comes from contact with personalities. The first time I managed to show them was at the Millennial Anniversary of Gdansk, when they were shown at the exhibition entitled “1000 autographs for the Millennial Anniversary”. I observed the people visiting the exhibition and saw their joy and surprise. Generations – grandparents, parents, children and grandchildren, all together, explaining to each other who was who. Young people did not know older actresses and the older generations had no idea about rock musicians.

Smiles & autographs

Smiles & autographs

After the Gdansk exhibition I began to dream about sharing my passion, about sharing my joy with others. Then I got the idea of collecting autographs accompanied by the picture of a smile. The first idea was to show “Project Smile’ in children’s hospitals, but it soon appeared that smiles drawn by the Jordanian Queen, Krzysztof Penderecki or Liza Minelli pleased adults too. What is more important, adding a smile also pleased the people whom I ask to draw them. A smile is possible to create in a moment, even in the most difficult times. When we look at a child’s smile, even if we are in mourning, are ill or in trouble, we smile instinctively.

An autograph itself is calm and quite like a fresh painting, as it  “reveals the mortal hand” not only in the poetical dimension but also in the dimension of common, fleeting life. At least it is the visible sign of our having passed by.

Smiles joined with autographs are something to introduce joy into our lives and into hospitals both for children and adults.

When I started collecting smiles I wrote:

A Smile, it is a drop of crystallized Joy
When a child smiles at us we smile, everyone, everywhere!
A child’s smile is pure holiness, a gift of life
Not to be sullied by the evil of unhappiness
When giving sick children our warm smiles
We return their own smiles to them
And remind ourselves of the smiles of our own youth!

A child's Smile

A child's Smile

We received from archdiocese Honiara a smile from the Archbishop of the Solomon Islands and his poetic quote:

Smile and the World smiles with you,
Cry and you cry alone.

Jennifer: At a time when the world is in the grip of an economic crisis with all its hideous far reaching effects for individuals and families globally, we needed this project. It is inspiring! Would you share with us some of the reactions you have received to the project?

Marek: A Smile is good at all times, for any kind of situation, even the ‘commercial’ smile of the stewardess in a plane, a smile puts people at ease, it welcomes.

As for a drawing smile for the project , all kinds are good and sometime the drawing of the smile brings the person to remembering deep into their past, sometimes with tears as they remember the bad and good times of childhood.

Children in hospital react very, very well. In Macedonia, in a Rehabilitation centre, a girl who was very seriously ill, drew a smile with her legs and told me : “the miracle is that I can do this before I die soon, to help other children …”

In other city, in Poland, I prepared that smile-performance with children. The Mayor of that city and his co-workers thanked me because he …was smiling himself, for the first time in 20 years.

Infectious Smiles!

Infectious Smiles!

Crisis is bad, but it will seem shorter, be alleviated somewhat when we all start to smile – I tell this to children in hospital : “children should start every day with a smile and finish the day with a smile”.  Smile, and the trouble will do not have time to become a problem, the same can be done in the world of politics and economics. Smile and the future will be better – the trouble will be smaller. A smile is the best sort of help because it is financially very good to receive….its costs only 1 second of your time to make and of course its “cost” =  a good tooth-brushing , LOL !

Jennifer: The collection is growing by the day. How many smiles have you received to date? On average, how many arrive daily?

Marek: Its depends , sometimes I get a whole package from  various countries, sometimes one envelope but with 20 smiles from a school of design where the professor set an examination task for students to create a smile.

Sometimes there is a day without a smile in the postbox , but there is a smile on my face ….to make that  “empty” day a better one!

The Smile that grew in to GRIN!

The Smile that grew in to GRIN!

My friends like to talk with me about the project. I sometimes think the exhibition idea is my wonderful life sentence. I have ambassadors of the smile-exhibition around the world.

I like also to collect smiles in person – as I organize cultural events. It provides me a good entrance to different meetings and, somehow, I can nearly always put myself behind the scenes.

What I try not to do is not to ask for a smile in restaurant venue…but then I eat slowly as does  the ‘star’, the evening’s special guest, and I hope to obtain a smile from them outside the venue when they finish…

Getting Polanski's autograph and the actress, Szykulska, and the children's hospital

Getting Polanski's autograph and the actress, Szykulska, and the children's hospital

Jennifer: You have not one but a number of ‘smile’ exhibitions planned. Tell us about them and what is involved in setting up such an exhibition in such far flung places?

Marek: The number of smiles is not limited; I think that it is already a part of my life. I hope very much to create a Smile Museum or Smile Gallery.

The idea is ongoing, one pilgrimage of smiles, because the plan has always involved the drawing of smiles by children in Poland for children in other countries and so on

The idea is to show this exhibition in children’s centres of all kinds, not only hospitals but also as a temporary exhibition in various institutions.

Smiles that lift the spirits!

Smiles that lift the spirits!

Jennifer: I understand you are hoping to produce a special catalogue/book of the exhibition to help raise funds for children’s hospitals in Poland. Can you tell us more about that?

Marek: That is good question, there are many organizations which help children in a financial way, our goal is “only” to make them smile ….

As the reports of doctors, psychologists and parents indicate, the exhibition is like a medicine, a tonic. It shows people all over the world care about sick children, children in pain. The children know they are not forgotten!

Also, what is very important, the exhibition of smiles helps “normal” people working in hospitals, not only doctors, but also cleaning teams and last but not least the parents visiting their children. It lifts their spirits!

The exhibition is also a good thing for festivals  and for other events.

Marek's Smile!

Marek's Smile!

The idea of a catalogue is always there, and we produced one as a booklet for the Polish Festival of the Good Mood, and when we visited children in hospital with a leading actress, the children were given one each.

In collaboration with Children’s Organisation, KIWANIS, we also produced a booklet in Polish and English. (You can see that catalogue on that website, where you can also find my smile.)

Jennifer: What is the most unusual ‘smile’ you have received so far? Are there limitations on the type, size or presentation of the smile and what happens to each submission to prepare it for exhibition?

Marek: The smiles have no limitations ever. We have made a smile

*    in a children’s garden in Lodz

The variations and varieties are endless as imagination!

The variations and varieties are endless as imagination!

*      on paper on whole floor area,

*     the sportsmen put their smile on t-shirts,

*      but also on a boxer’s hand,

*      we got a sculpture of smile and

*      a smile on glass –

Each and every smile is very unusual … very individual!

But maybe the most touching was a smile by a child in Macedonia …with her mother drawn without face because she was left by her mother

Very different smiles – maybe I would mention the autoportrait  by  regisseurs Jerzy Skolimowski and Roman Polanski  or a Bishop’s smile-picture which reminds of one  of Picasso’s works….

The Picasso-style Smile

The Picasso-style Smile

Jennifer: There must be all sorts of stories of how you met celebrities like Polanski and other AMAZING people! How did you persuade them to give you ‘a smile’?

Marek: When I started the collection, I asked people in person for ‘a smile’. I still do if the opportunity presents. The meetings with notable folk can sometimes be very funny but sometimes very short!

In the case of Jose Cura, I was at the opera in Berlin and, after the show, I got to the backstage door and knocked on the garderobe. He answered himself and told me “come in”.  He was under the shower. So I backed out and waited.  After some minutes, he came out and, with a big smile on his face, he drew a ‘Pagliacci’ ….he had sung Pagliaci in the opera that night.

In Berlin I had also a “tragic” meeting….can you imagine, I was in the same restaurant as Lauren Bacall…but it was a very prestigious restaurant such that if I had asked for a smile/autograph they would have made a security photo of me and then I would have been blacklisted there and in other such places as well!

Smiles layered on Smiles

Smiles layered on Smiles

As for Roman Polanski – he was opening a sculpture in Sopot – he was on the redcarpet. Nobody was allowed to put a foot on that carpet, but I did! That is how I got a selfportrait of him!

At the same festival Faye Dunaway was also a special guest, but by then I was 1000 km away. However, my wonderful mother is also very supportive of the smile project. She asked, in her broken English, and, yes, I have the smile drawn by Faye Dunaway!

The security guards of First Lady of Poland, Maria Kaczynska, were very “unhappy” that I asked her to draw a smile. But she told the strong men, to stop and let me be, “it is for a good goal”.

All the time the people, when I ask them to draw a smile, I get the answer, ‘oops I am not good at drawing’. My answer is always, ‘it’s for children and children are not judging the art’.

The Polish MP, Iwona Guzowska, is a former boxer. She liked the smile project so much that she even created a parliamentary group in the Polish Sejm – Parliament “smile group”. She collected smiles on sports items.

It's the SMILE not its artistic style, that matters! Winning Grinners!

It's the SMILE not its artistic style, that matters! Winning Grinners!

The smile project – the collection – it is growing into a very special collection – one of a kind in the world. It is also unique, because smiles are made using a variety of methods, and they are not only on paper, but also as pictures, on music programs, on film posters, on books, cd or on very curious paper types. Children from round the world send me smiles for the project. This is very special because of the very different types of smiles from children, for example, from India or Moldavia. Yet, amazingly, these same smiles sometimes match up, the same exactly, the same type of smile as if it was made by one and the same hand, even though it is a smile from a Polish child or from Mexico. As for Mexico, the smiles are made there by children with Downs Syndrome who are taught by Professors of Art Academy from Mexico City.

Smiles, inspiring more smiles!

Smiles, inspiring even more smiles!

The collection is for children, especially sick children, to make them smile and so help them heal!

Jennifer : Marek, tell us what the Smile project is achieving and continues to achieve:

Marek: I hope very much to be involved in a number of a smile exchange exhibitions, a pilgrimage of smiles.

I think there is a good idea to connect smiles made by celebrities and those by children  – the children are encouraged and inspired by the  interest and support for the project by the celebrities.

For children in “western” countries creating smiles  for a poorer part of world bring them closer to those with less advantages, fewer opportunities than they have and fosters  a caring attitude and brings knowledge.

For poor children, it is maybe their first possibility to give somebody something – this brings dignity and feeling of being able to contribute; this is empowering.

And for children from harsh, very problematic parts of world this also provides a very interesting way to help others, help, in return,  a part of world from where the help is coming to them; it brings a sense of reciprocity that might not come any other way. It brings a sense again of dignity and achievement.

Smiles from East and West!

Smiles from East and West!

I think such exhibitions – such exhibitions exchange is a very unusual project for helping and informing people about the plight of sick children worldwide, for bringing artists, writers, musician together with also opportunity for promotion of their work and for sponsors to bring their product before the public in a way that promotes them as a company that cares and is involved in more than just making money, but also in giving back to those in need – the use of a company logo could be connected with a ‘smile’ by being  included in a special promotional logo.

Jennifer: Marek, what are you plans for the future, what is your next big project?

Marek: Dear Jennifer ….of course asking you to help me to show that exhibition in your city ….my very simple dream, which is an ever evolving, growing plan, ….to show the smile exhibition and to draw smiles around the world!

Jennifer: Finally, how can people get in touch with you to find out more about the project and give support?

Marek: I would like to be in touch with people, the more the merrier! They can talk to me and learn more about project smile at www.promocjakultury.pl

The best way to support project smile is to draw a smile and send us, to ask famous and /or interesting people to draw a smile and, last but not least, to invite our exhibition to their place – to the smallest children’s school, to the farming community, or to a big children’s hospital, to a film or other festival or to Sydney Opera House…..

Smiles to encompass the globe!

Smiles to encompass the globe!

Jennifer: Charles George Walker wrote a poem inspired by that famous old proverb, quoted by the Archbishop of the Solomon Islands,  and used it for the title. I think it reflects your belief in the joyous spreadability of a Smile:

Smile and the World smiles with you, Cry and you cry alone.

Smiling is infectious, you catch it like the flu.

When someone smiled at me today, I started smiling too.

I passed around the corner, and someone saw my grin.

When he smiled I realised, I’d passed it on to him.

I thought about that smile, then I realised its worth.

A single smile just like mine, could travel round the earth.

So, if you feel a smile begin, don’t leave it undetected.

Let’s start an epidemic quick, and get the world infected!

May your smile project spread like the sunshine it brings into others’ lives!

You can find my own smile in the exhibition and here on Sharing Books for free download.

Jennifer    :))

“Mending Lucille” WINS Crichton Award ; Nominated for the Family Therapist’ Award!NS

MENDING LUCILLE WINS THE CRICHTON AWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“Mending Lucille” has been nominated for two very important awards in Australia, the Family Therapists’ Award and the Crichton Award! It has WON the CRICHTON!

Sarah Davis has won “New Illustrator of the Year” in the Crichton Award for her AMAZING  art work in our picture book, “Mending Lucille” [Lothian/Hachette Livre].

It was also voted one of the 10 best children’s books for 2008 by the New Zealand Listener, the leading journal of review in New Zealand.

I am so thrilled Lothian/Hachette gave me the opportunity to go search for an illustrator and that  I found Sarah on the internet! Despite having no funds to pay Sarah for it, her  spontaneous “love it” for the manuscript persuaded her to do a sample for Lothian – the rest, as they say, is history! Thank you Sarah from the bottom of my heart for agreeing to take on the manuscript of a relative unknown and for ‘seeing’  what it had to say!

Here is the site announcement   – http://cbca.org.au/crichtonaward.htm

The annual Australian Family Therapists’ Award for Children’s Literature is awarded by the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy (ANZJFT). A book for older readers, and one for younger readers, are awarded  for being the best books of the year to be useful for therapists in practice. A list of books recommended for use by therapists is also announced by ANZJFT. “Mending Lucille” has been nominated for the Young Readers/Picture Book Award.

Being Nominated for the Family Therapists Award is  deeply meaningful for Sarah and myself . It recognises the contribution our book has made in tackling a very sensitive topic, the loss of  a parent or central carer, and in making available to therapists, counselors, teachers and others involved with children in such a traumatic loss, a resource that is seen to be able to help the child at their point of need.  Adults too have responded  to the book and have found reading  it very therapeutic in helping them deal with such a loss of their own, often buried deep in their past.

Here’s hoping Sarah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cover of "Mending Lucille" by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Sarah Davis [Lothian]

"Mending Lucille" by J.R.Poulter, illustrated by Sarah Davis, Lothian

Melbourne Bush Fires, 2009 February – Tribute to the Rescuers and Fire-Fighters – The Journey – Ron Chironna and Jr.R.Poulter

Ron ‘s amazing picture inspired the poem, “The Journey” which both celebrates the role of the rescuers and the fire-fighters, and highlights the traumatic events they were dealing with moment by moment. The courage and dedication of such unsung heroes is what it means to be ‘my brother’s keeper’! I am so grateful there are people around like this – inspiring wonderful role models for our children in a world which seems to be increasingly full of hatred and violence and selfishness – TO THEM!!!

The Journey, text by J.R.Poulter, art by Ron Chironna

The Journey, text by J.R.Poulter, art by Ron Chironna

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SciFiery Wordage – Thomas James and J.R.Poulter

Leaving - Post-Industrial Pipescape

“Pandamonium” free teacher, librarian, home-schooling resource

Pandamonium by J.R.Poulter, illustration by Joy Streuerwald

Pandamonium by J.R.Poulter, illustration by Joy Streuerwald

“Pandamonium” is available to download free from http://www.sharing-books.com.

Topics include :
weight loss, diet, healthy eating, exercise, group activity, nutrition

This poem poster features a poem that is part of  a collection called “Of Catalumphs and Hippograffes” written by J.R.Poulter and illustrated by Joy Steuerwald which will soon be available to download from Sharing Books.

ENJOY!!!!.