In the vein of Linda's post about how she met Grace I thought I would tell some stories about how I met the Blue Rose girls crew (since reading Linda's post was so fun). I first met Grace and Linda in a studio class my junior year called "Picture and Word". I remember them always sitting together (I think they had just come back from study in Italy), it was clear that there was a strong bond and I admired their friendship as well as their work...
But the first time an idea was planted in my head about who Grace really is as an artist was when I came upon an artist's book (a hand printed/hand bound book) that Grace made called 'A Forest for the Trees'... it was on display at the end of the semester on a classroom table, a beautiful story about Grace, her family, and her childhood. By the time I got to the last page my eyes were full of tears and I felt utterly moved by this very raw truthful expression of who Grace is. Unlike many of the other assignments students tack up on the walls, it was honest without being overly explicit or sentimental or didactic. It just felt true.
It was years later before I got to tell her that- after graduating and moving to Boston and getting a job at Houghton Mifflin, one day one of her promo cards came across my desk and I wrote her back... since then she has been a personal and professional inspiration that I am so grateful for!
Linda also made quite an impression on me, before we ever got in touch or became friends. In college she would come to class wearing knee high lace up boots and big skirts with petticoats, just like the characters in her illustrations. What stood out the most to me then, and now, is the way Linda's life is interwoven with her work, right down to the clothes she wears! She has always been one of those people who finds inspiration where other people overlook it, and incorporates it into this grand vision that is ever evolving.
This is especially obvious recently, with her work in puppetry and performance (which includes roller derby and, yes, firespinning!) It might seem at first that these things would be at odds with eachother, in particular with children's book illustration, but instead they just seem to me to be facets of a complex and philosophical artist who is constantly pushing herself to try new things and understand life through creative means.
Okay, enough gushing, I will have to get to Libby, Alvina, and Meghan next week... I hope at least this gives new readers a little of the appreciation I feel for the ladies on this list!