A Reception at Highlights Foundation

I am pslice-of-life2articipating in #SOL18. Thanks to the twowritingteachers blog team for creating this wonderful space to write, read, and respond!

Earlier this week I went back to read an e-mail from Highlights Foundation – an invitation to a reception for illustrator Shadra Strickland for her book illustrations in A Child’s Book of Prayers and Blessings: From Faiths and Cultures Around the World, a 2017 publication.  If you don’t know this book, it offers a collection of kid-friendly prayers that are stunningly arranged on pages filled with extraordinary images and colors.

I was busy and there were a thousand reasons not to make the trip, but I decided the diversion would do me some good. I contacted George Brown, who graciously told me to come and bring my husband. The almost three-hour trip was serene and easy to drive – little traffic, open roads, and beautiful countryside laced with snow. When we arrived, we walked into the great room filled with tables covered in coffee-colored tablecloths. Food and drink was everywhere. And stunning prints that had been framed and hung on the walls – all Shadra’s work.

The eating extravaganza included stuffed yellow and orange peppers, knockwurst wrapped in bacon, hot spinach and artichoke dip, shrimp and grits in tiny glass bowls, pulled pork sliders, cheeses, fruit, and a bowl of warm chocolate sauce for dipping marshmallows, strawberries, and pineapple slices. Servers circulated the room with hot hor d’ oeuvres.  My husband was happy!

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I knew I would buy several copies of the book along with beautiful note cards with Shadra’s paintings on them. I eyed the prints – I was in love with at least three of them, but they were numbered prints, and I couldn’t justify spending $500, even for a smaller one. Maybe in the near future I would consider it…

Alison Green Myers, a National Writing Project fellow and a faculty member at Highlights, introduced Shandra to the audience (approximately forty to fifty artists, writers, Highlights faculty, community members). She talked about a group of students who had viewed the artwork and were asked to offer one word to describe the illustrations – how the artwork made them feel. Some of their responses: love, faith, prayer, family, hope, wonder, beauty.

Shadra talked about her process – she worked in reduction linoleum cuts, a new process for her. Follow the link to read more. http://www.scottponemone.com/shadra-strickland-illustrator/  A Child’s Book of Prayers and Blessings was the first time she had used a printmaking medium (difficult and time consuming), and she shared with us it would probably be her last!

She read some of the prayer/poems. Then we were able to purchase books and prints. Shadra, of course, signed. If you attend a Highlights workshop this spring, summer, and fall, you will most likely be welcomed by Shadra’s paintings that hang on the wall. It was worth the trip, a delightful way to spend the afternoon!