Books bring friends to­gether

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

Two friends are work­ing on a very spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion.

Mata­mata res­i­dents Dolly Var­den-Cham­bers and Ed­ward (Eddy) Dean are putting a few chil­dren’s books to­gether. Dolly writes, and Eddy il­lus­trates.

They’ve been friends for eight years but it seems longer, judg­ing by the ban­ter and fun they share talk­ing about their project. It’s very much like a brother-sis­ter re­la­tion­ship.

The two are work­ing on a few books Dolly has writ­ten, Clara the Story of a Snail and Sto­ry­time with Aunty Dolly, two books in one, as well as Nick on Stage and most re­cently Ac­cord­ing to Amy.

Dolly is an artist, per­former, di­rec­tor and also has a pas­sion for writ­ing. She started Clara many years ago, but it was shelved.

‘‘I’ve been writ­ing most of my life, I wrote Clara but didn’t do any­thing with it. Af­ter my hus­band died I aban­doned all my things and now I am get­ting back into gath­er­ing all my bits of pa­per into books. I am de­ter­mined to get them all done.’’

Dolly says she ap­proached Eddy as she knew his artis­tic style would make per­fect il­lus­tra­tions.

‘‘I can paint, but I can’t do what Eddy does,’’ she says of her friend.

‘‘He has a unique style and it re­ally suits the books.

‘‘The pic­tures sell the book, as much as the story.

‘‘We en­joy what we are do­ing and feel quite proud,’’ says Dolly.

This is their first time work­ing to­gether and if their ex­pe­ri­ence on these projects is any­thing to go by, they both agree it’s cer­tainly not go­ing to be the last.

‘‘We had a lot of fun do­ing it.’’ says Eddy.

Eddy took three weeks to work on the il­lus­tra­tions for Nick on Stage, com­plet­ing a few pic­tures a day. As he reads the story, he imag­ines the il­lus­tra­tions.

Also a ded­i­cated writer, Eddy has been putting ink to pa­per, or typ­ing on an old fash­ioned type­writer, since he was about 11-years-old.

He has a col­lec­tion of over 200 books. He says many were sel­l­otaped to­gether, and over the past few years, he has been get­ting the tat­tered taped pages prop­erly bound.

‘‘It’s all for the plea­sure of it. It’s the icing on the cake, if it ever gets pub­lished, or read, but I would still do it even if it didn’t. You can’t not do it. You get this idea in your mind, and there is noth­ing nicer than sit­ting down with the type­writer and get­ting stuck into it. You get lost.’’

Ed­ward Dean and Dolly Var­den-Cham­bers have pro­duced chil­dren’s books to­gether.

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