Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ex Libris

When I was a very little girl my Grandmother used to read to me. My favorite book was called "The Animal Fair." I wanted the poor woman to read it over and over and over. I don't know why I liked that book so much, but I did. She read it to me so many times that I memorized it. But I wasn't happy with that, I wanted to be able to read the words, so she set about teaching me to read when I was barely 3 years old.

I didn't go to kindergarten, but when I started first grade I was already reading at a pretty advanced level. Back in those days they had a reading program where you could read at your own pace. By second grade I was reading 7th grade equivalent books. Oddly enough they put me in a remedial class in 3rd grade because they though I was slow. Later they found out I was incredibly smart and just bored with all the drivel they were teaching me. Go figure.

However, learning to read at such an early age set me up for a life long love affair with books. One of my favorite things to do is go to the book store. It's only the 11th and I have been to Barnes & Noble three times this year.

On the second trip I got a new craft book. I don't know if you're like me...but I LOVE craft books. I have four book cases full of nothing but those. I have tons of other books too. My dream is to someday have a house with a library room in it.

Despite buying all these craft books, I have never made a single thing out of any of them, nor do I ever intend to. I have a stack of craft magazines I can't let go of that would probably reach the ceiling if I stacked them all on top of one another. I also have a whole trunk full of patterns that I have never made and never will.

Now if you don't have that gene you probably don't understand why I would have these things. The short answer is I like to look at the pictures. I gain inspiration from them. I have the patterns for the same reason, I like to see how people put things together. It helps me envision a new pattern when I sit down to make one. Craft books inspire me. I remember seeing a wonderful Christmas stocking in one book that inspired me to make a bear vest years ago. That's how those inspirations work. The vest didn't look anything like the stocking, but something about it connected in my brain and spurned the new idea. I looked at a pattern for a cute penguin and it gave me the information I needed to create a pattern for a pig. It's hard to put how that process works into words. I just know it works.

Many bear artists I know sit down and sketch out what they want to make as a whole before they make the pattern. I have never done that, I don't know how to do that. I don't even know why I would want to do that. Even in art class they always wanted us to block out what we drew or painted. I never did that, I just sat down and started drawing my picture as I wanted it to be. Every artist has a different process that works for them. I just picture something in my mind and if I can't quite turn a two dimensional pattern into a three dimensional image in my brain I go look at my stash for inspiration. It works.

I have countless other books on every subject under the sun. They say that someday books will be obsolete and everything will be accessible online. I hope that never comes to pass. There is nothing better than the scent of a new book...or a very old book. When I was little I had an odd notion that if people completely stopped reading a book the characters in that book would die. In retrospect I guess that's kind of true. As long as I am on this earth and have eyesight, I will continue to love and read books.

1 comment:

julietk said...

It is so true that learning to read early is the way to a lifetime love of books. I was the same and so is my son. I have always dreamed of having a Library room too and a craft room :)Juliet

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