Art lifted from a book’s pages

Lo­cal il­lus­tra­tor/au­thor cel­e­brates book launches at Gallery Strat­ford Steel­box Art Lab


This week­end’s ex­hibit at the Gallery Strat­ford Steel­box Art Lab will fea­ture art lifted from the pages of lo­cal au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor Marthe Jo­ce­lyn’s chil­dren’s books.

To cel­e­brate the launch of three new books, Jo­ce­lyn is invit­ing her fans and their par­ents to ex­plore 20 years of her il­lus­tra­tions dur­ing her in­ter­ac­tive art in­stal­la­tion, en­ti­tled Scis­sor­house.

“I’ve never ac­tu­ally had an art ex­hibit of my work be­fore. Once in a while at a book sign­ing there would be a cou­ple of pieces, but I’ve never re­ally thought of my­self as an artist. So (af­ter vis­it­ing a friend’s ex­hibit), I sud­denly went, ‘Maybe I could do that too,’” Jo­ce­lyn said.

Although her ex­hibit fea­tures a se­lec­tion of framed il­lus­tra­tions from all 40 of the books she’s had pub­lished since she be­gan her ca­reer as a chil­dren’s au­thor/il­lus­tra­tor in 1994, Jo­ce­lyn is most ex­cited to in­tro­duce peo­ple to the il­lus­tra­tions from her lat­est books, Sam Sorts, One Red But­ton, and One Piece of String.

Sam Sorts teaches kids sim­ple math and or­ga­ni­za­tional skills as they fol­low the main char­ac­ter, Sam, as he sorts the toys in his room, while One Red But­ton and One Piece of String are pic­ture books in which the il­lus­tra­tions are based around ei­ther one red but­ton or one piece of string.

“A pic­ture book is a kid’s first meet­ing with art, and the books that you looked at as a lit­tle kid are the ones you re­mem­ber,” Jo­ce­lyn said. “That’s kind of thrilling for the artist, to know we’re mak­ing that kind of im­pact, and for the kid it’s like, ‘Oh wow, this is art that I have in my hands ev­ery day.’”

And while their par­ents may en­joy just look­ing at the il­lus­tra­tions Jo­ce­lyn has on dis­play this week­end, her young fans will have the op­por­tu­nity to take some in­spi­ra­tion from One Red But­ton and One Piece String and cre­ate their own works of art.

“Hope­fully we’re go­ing to make a big col­lage to­gether, and I have a bunch of th­ese stick­ers and red but­tons to be art prompts,” she said. “Is (the red but­ton) a nose? Is it a stop­light? Is it a pizza? They can read the books, get some ideas, and then make them on their own. While their par­ents are look­ing at the art, they can make art.”

The Scis­sor­house ex­hi­bi­tion will be open at the Gallery Strat­ford Steel­box Art Lab (in the YMCA’s Downie Street park­ing lot) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fri­day through Sun­day. Both of Jo­ce­lyn’s books and her in­di­vid­ual il­lus­tra­tions will be avail­able for pur­chase. gsim­mons@post­


Lo­cal chil­dren’s au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor Marthe Jo­ce­lyn is host­ing an ex­hi­bi­tion of her il­lus­tra­tions en­ti­tled Scis­sor­house at the Gallery Strat­ford Steel­box Art Lab this week­end in cel­e­bra­tion of the launch of three new books.

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