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Welcome to my art blog from Tasmania, Australia. I post a little on my various art projects while also working in plant genetics. For more, please try the links to my various art pages or email me at silvergumstudio@yahoo.com.au. Thank you for visiting!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Reading - your ticket to a lifetime of adventure!

Happy festival goers including Norman Jorgenson (L, in Viking helmet), organisers Anne Morgan (in green shirt) and Jessie Majhouri, Christina Booth, me, Wendy Orr, James Foley (hidden), Sheryl Gwyther, and smoke-breathing dragon Brunius
The above title was the motto for the fabulous Bruny Island Children's Literature Festival, Book an Adventure, which was held at Adventure Bay from 15-18 January.  I drove down to Bruny in pouring rain on the afternoon of the 14th January, with author Sheryl Gwyther, illustrator James Foley and all our luggage (including food, market stall and workshop materials) squeezed somehow into the Forester.  James, though squashed, had Sheryl and me in stitches during the ferry trip with the story and images from his forthcoming book as illustrator, My Dead Bunny (a terrifying tale).  On arrival, we had a cuppa with festival organiser extraordinaire Anne Morgan and were shown to our house, where we lit the woodstove and waited on further arrivals - including authors Wendy Orr, Susanne Gervay and many other drop-ins.  The weather never really improved, and we all wore the few warm clothes we'd brought for the entire festival!  Each night the woodstove was lit and we sat around it and talked books... or just fell asleep.
Christina Booth workshop
James Foley workshop
 The festival was a marvellous mix of workshops for children, entertainment including the Nim's Island films and talks about the books and films by Wendy Orr, a Captain Clawbeak play acted by the children, Viking activities, a day for authors and illustrators run by SCBWI, a market, good food and general hanging out.  I assisted at four workshops and enjoyed seeing the different approaches to working with children.  At Christina Booth's workshop, children created drawings of their own imaginary animal.  James Foley brought on some rapid-fire cartooning with facial expressions and body language to match.  Sheryl Gwyther had children write their own adventure story, and Peter Gouldthorpe brought depth with drawing in the third dimension.  I myself learnt something from all of the workshops - how to use reference material creatively, cartoon, plot a story and work with different viewpoints.

Sheryl Gwyther workshop
Peter Gouldthorpe workshop
 At the festival dinner (which was delicious) at the Hothouse Cafe, there was a competition to write the worst possible opening sentence for a children's book.  I am proud to report that I was shortlisted for my entry ('It's my belief, Sergeant, that this strangely dressed stranger was murdered!' curly red-headed freckled Josh exclaimed, peering shortsightedly over the wire rim of his spectacles with a quizzical look in his blue-green, slightly protruberant, thirteen-year-old eyes).  Sadly, I didn't win, but am consoled by the fact that several people thought my sentence was outstandingly terrible.

I think everyone was exhausted by the end, not least the wonderful organisers Anne Morgan and Jessie Mahjourie, but it was really marvellous to have an event of this nature and calibre here in Tasmania, and particularly special to have it on Bruny Island.  You can see some fabulous photos of the festival, including the play and Viking boat made on site, on the festival's Facebook page.

Thor couldn't come, but sent a Valkyrie instead

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