Inspired By... Abeltje

It's again the 10th of the month and time for the "Inspired by" creation! But what is Inspired by? Every month awesome Marsha and I choose a subject to be inspired by. It can be for example an idea (link)a product (link)a person (link) or a book (link). Or anything! Then we make something inspired by that theme or a piece of art and share it with you and each other on the 10th of the month.

You can browse the past "Inspired By" posts from here (link).

This time the theme we used was a book. We have used books before, but usually they have been novels, written for adults. This time we chose a children's book. I'm not totally sure how we ended up in there... might be through Jip and Janneke, written by the same author as this book, Annie M. G. Schmidt, and illustrated by Fiep Westendorp. Marsha sent my kids Jip and Janneke t-shirts way back and they have been my daughters's favorites ever since. I also know that both Jip and Janneke and their writer as iconic in the Netherlands, the same way we could feel about Moomins and Tove Jansson here in Finland. 

My husband and I take turns to read to the kids every night. We have been doing that since they were babies so we have read quite a few books along the years. First we read picture books or books with just a little text but as the kids got older, we moved to more and more text. Nowadays we read novels, finishing a book in a week or two. We've read The Lord of the Rings, the whole Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter series and several others. We are always in the hunt of new, good books to read. My favorite so far are the "Sammon vartijat" series, written by a Finnish writer Timo Parvela and set in modern times but a lot of references and background history in the Finnish national epic Kalevala. What I've come to realize during the years of reading to my kids is that there's a lot of good children's or youth's literature but there's an equal amount of really ill-written and terrible literature for them. I love to find a good book - so good that it captivates me and keeps it's hold, playing with different levels to adults and kids so that everyone gets something out of the experience. 

That being said, it was only natural to me that when we chose this subject for Inspired By, I went to the library and lent out the book in Finnish so I could read it to the kids. (Well, I couldn't have read it in the original language anyway as I don't read Dutch!) It was fun to include the kids to the Inspired by as well, even if I decided the project myself. Actually, it would have been fun to include the girls more to the process and maybe share three IB projects today! Need to remember that for future! 

The book is about a boy and a magical elevator. Abeltje has just gotten his first job as an elevator boy in a warehouse and the very first day on the job he pushes a wrong button in the elevator and it shoots up in the air carrying a few passengers with it. There's Abeltje of course, but also Laura, Mr. Tump and Miss Klaterhoen. Later the company gets an addition of a rabbit that Laura brings in. The elevator flies around the world and the passengers end up in different countries and have different adventures. More about the book here (link) and about the writer here (link).

As the book is written in the 50's some of the story seemed a bit outdated, but it was a fun read anyway. When I tried to think how to use it as a source for inspiration, I failed at first. The obvious solution would have been to make an illustration of the book, but somehow that not seemed the project I was after. So I let the time pass and put the book in to back of my head, kind of let it simmer and maybe something will pop out. And it did! I started to think more and more about the bunny in the story. It isn't a huge character but it's jolly and it knows how to balance on its front paws. 

Another big leap was when I put two and two together. I've been following Anya Keeley on Instagram for a while. I absolutely adore the characters she makes! They are so full of personality and have strokes of ingeniousness in them! You can find her website here (link) and the Instagram here (link). So I decided to have a go to make a balancing bunny. 

I made the base of the bunny using wire and then covered it with some cheesecloth to have a surface where the pieces of paper would stick. I remember doing something similar when I was a kid, but then we used wallpaper paste as the adhesive as I used gel medium this time. 

I wanted the bunny to "contain" stories so I ripped a few pages of old story books I have in my stash and used those in the making of the bunny. I also had received a sheet of music and threw that in there as well. It was fun to work with old paper as it was so sturdy and brittle! It didn't behave at all like I imagined it would! I thought to be able to bend and mold it into shapes but no, it was way too sturdy for that and if I tried to push it into a shape, it just snapped to pieces. So I thought to make the shape and then finish the edges with another layer or just cut them but while I was working, I really started to like the rough, a bit edgy look. It seems to give more character to the whole thing than a smooth surface.

My first idea was to use pieces of paper to make the form and then paint it in the end, at least with a see-through "wash". But when the creature was ready, I really likes the color of the old book paper showing so I left the bunny unpainted. What I did paint was to spool I used the bunny to balance on. The red came from the cover of the book as it was the color of Abeltje's uniform.

This was a really fun project to do! It took me back to my childhood, let me experiment something new and taught me about old paper. All in all, a great Inspired By! But now it's time to go and see what Marsha has created this time (link)! I doubt it being a bunny, but who knows! 

Thank you for stopping by today and wishing you a wonderful start to the weekend!

Materials: Prima Marketing, Talens


Marsha Valk said...

Hahaha, this is fab!!!! I didn't expect this! But it's fun!

And we need to do a little what's app bookclub session, because I want to know what your thoughts were!

Nathalie Kalbach said...

This is super awesome!!!Love it!

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