Thursday, March 31, 2011

Boatbird and the Caravan of Compassion

Earlier this year a friend and champion went on an incredible road trip to fly kites for the people waiting in Leonora. The kids who are waiting there are real and they want to play. This second episode of BoatBird is dedicated to all children on a difficult journey. Read the first episode here.

Boatbird (Part 2)

Boatbird gazed into the water, into ghosts of boats and worlds turned around and upside down and he quietly remembered the  depth and clarity he had packed into his heart...

...With his last strength, he tossed the boat atop his head and turned his beak from the scene. Would it still float? And how would he make his way to the little brave boat now that he could neither fly nor swim...? (He could not watch.)

The little boat stood.
Like a kite on the water.
And Boatbird realised he was holding onto the end of the line.
He was holding onto his future, and the future was tugging him.
His journey was about to begin...

Boatbird images by Lilly, words by Jo. Ideas, content, and response for images and words and the space between them belong to both artists. All rights reserved.(For all children on a difficult journey)

Monday, March 28, 2011

BIG Kids and Emerging artists

BIG will foster conversations and collaboration between emerging artists and kids. Between schools and the home playroom. Between emerging artists and established names. Between established artists and kids. Between kids and parents. Between parents and artists. Between kids and kids!

Here we feature emerging artist Emma Fishwick, who is a young independent dance graduate with a fledgling (i)fab project in the making. She created and sent in this 'Birds of a feather' response especially for BIG and we love it! Meanwhile, Grace sent in this bright bird all the way from Michegan in the US where she is featured on the fabulous Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty artblog with her siblings. Brilliant bold work, check them out.

Grace, 10, Michigan, USA

And with a drum roll we announce the winner of the paperbird doll giveaway is Chani with her pick of 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak (email us with postal address to see the dolls fly your way!)  Thank you for all your facebook posts and brilliant book comments! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Name your most loved kids book or magazine and win!

We just had to share this gorgeous picture response (below) from Jen Zed to our first ever BIG giveaway as here at BIG we could fill a library just with our favourite books and magazines! We agree it is difficult to pick just one!

I so love watching each of my three children sit immersed with a book or magazine, the range of books scattered from one end of the house is huge given the interest and development of each child is so wildly different.  Slinky Malinki by Linley Dodd is without doubt a firm fave and my nearly 8yrold will still down tools to listen to this one alongside his baby sister. The brother between them is currently immersed in the life cycle of The Very Hungary Caterpillar by Eric Carle and will read any Soccer magazine or Scooby Doo story from cover to cover with his dad! The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, Dr Seuss, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll and Aladdin have been much loved, and we are currently alternating The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley with Geronimo Stilton by Elizabetta Dami and the ever present Shrek magazines!  And of course, being from WA, the incredible Shaun Tan is on the list!

Mr Galliano's Circus was the favourite of my father, and as a result our kids now have an old caravan cubby from their Grandpa out the back! The illustrated worlds of both fiction and non-fiction play such a major part of growing up that my bones are lined with at least a million characters and remnants from so many different pages.  My insides would feature bits of Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, Heidi, Milly Molly Mandy, No Flying in the House, Pookie the little rabbit with wings, and entire bookshops of  titles.  Living in the country my mum joined us up to all sorts of different educational 'clubs' and so we would receive endless packages in the post of magazines and activities. Without the internet, she brought the world to our post box - and with all of the online content now available I still love getting magazines in the mail.

Here at BIG we are fans of many great Australian and international publications and look forward to featuring our favourites (for kids and big kids) in the next few weeks. One of the first mags we will feature is ANORAK, an awesome magazine for kids created in the UK. In the meantime, write one or two of your favourite kids books or magazines as a comment here be in the draw to win the most gorgeous paper bird dolls by Sarah Grenard. Read on!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The BIG paper doll giveaway

Twyla holding Dugong Cat doll
To celebrate the BIG new banner and the beginning of the next BIG stage in the actual making of this magazine we are excited to announce our first ever giveaway! This duet of very apt and beautiful original paper dolls will fly to someone who comments either here or on our facebook page by Sunday night in response to "What is your fav kids magazine or book?" 
I came across the beautiful paper dolls of Sarah Grenard at the Finders Keepers Market  in Sydney and both Twyla and I were enamored. I talked with Sarah between the noise about children and paper. Mostly we smiled at each other. I bought a dugong cat doll for my little bird who held her tenderly for many days until her edges softened and bent.

I emailed Sarah to say thank you. She emailed back to say she would love to be involved in BIG and offered to make a doll as a gift for one of our readers. I wrote back to say thank you.

Not long after that a package arrived with a note that said:
Here are a couple of friends - a girl and a duck (I say)while Hester my daughter is quite firm it's a pigeon. Anyway, we did agree that she is wearing boots.

Paper Duck-Pigeon doll
Sarah Grenard
Paper Doll
Sarah Grenard

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

On the road, dancing

I have just returned from Melbourne where there was much dance. It was massive. A collision of past and present crossover worlds saw me walking between shows with this BIG thing quietly dancing in my pocket. In a back street I met an artist photographing a 'happy pile of rubbish' and he gave Nadia a tiny red paper paper crane from his 'pile' of hundreds.We will feature his work soon. For now, we take in the beast of the new BIG banner and begin to press 'send' on links and connections we have been so patiently waiting to reach out to. It is a second BIG lift off. Phase two of many.  The birds below fly from nomads, Paea is a dancer currently touring in Europe (today Portugal), and Bonnie Grace is travelling Australia with her family in a van of endless adventure. We will feature more on 'BG' very soon. Like them, BIG is at large on the road, and we invite the adventure of it all, both great and small. Have wings, will travel.
Paea, On the Road, Brussels, Europe

BG, 8, On the Road, Australia

Paea Leach, On the Road, Europe

Monday, March 21, 2011

Little Boat Tree and BIG beginnings

With Lilly and I in overdrive with BIG business plans and strategic futures, I come back to thinking about the beginning of all this. Until now, we have simply been running, flying, driving. But with some seriously BIG concrete currently taking shape, and our gorgeous new blog banner (thanks to the brilliant Maree Oaten), I stop for a second to shake my head (again) at how it all went 'go'.

She Loved Her Like an Ocean, Gentle and Wild,  Lilly Blue

 A prologue to BIG Beginnings:

After the birth of my two marvellously mad boys
I could not let go of the call to have another baby.
I even 'heard' footsteps of a third child, a girl child.

After miscarriage and marriage meltdown over the thought of 'three', my very much wanted daughter eventually joined us in December 2009. 

When she finally arrived, 
I wanted to give her something. 
A marker of her birth.
A gift for a  longed for daughter from her ecstatic mother.

My maternal grandmother (who died when my mother was only two) was an artist, my mother a singer, and I now a dancer. 
I couldn't imagine not continuing the maternal line and the particular imagining that had run through blood for so long (she will no doubt become a statistician!).

Unpacking the landing of gentle and wild
So when I found Lilly's work online on her blog and at Art 2 Muse,  I knew I had found my gift. With 3 kids now, the particular work I fell in love with was too expensive for me so I wrote to ask if I could buy an unframed print or negotiate payment options for the framed version. As an old friend from a particularly memorable and rich period of my Island life (Tasmania circa 1998), Lilly met me generously and wholeheartedly. A deal was made and the work flew to me, and to Nadia Rose. And fittingly, it was this unexpected prologue of child and art that inspired my initial BIG invitation to Lilly (and her YES).
Lilly and her Little Boat Tree are on a journey of oceanic proportions. We have had much discussion about how our other 'worlds' fit with and within BIG and we will reveal more of that as we know it ourselves. After a hiatus on the blog because of BIG, Lilly is now back there as well as here, and if you haven't found her already I can promise you will a little bit fall in love with her and her divine blog Little Boat Tree. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Family - A flock from the same nest

Blue bird
Noah, 3 yrs
This beautiful flutter of birds flew in together from a family living in a fairy tale house full of creativity, laughter and love.

Each with their own unique view, they soar side by side.
Clara, 11yrs
Katrin, the Mama bird

Trash bird
Anna, 9 yrs
Markus, the Papa bird

Cracked egg
Julia, 7 yrs

Sunday, March 13, 2011

View of the world in flock and detail.

Zoe, 3.5yrs, Melbourne
   Pittsburgh crows #1, Maribeth Joy, Chicago, USA

Pittsburgh crows #2, Maribeth Joy, Chicago, USA

Watching the big picture unfold and thinking of each life
looking to land in the aftermath.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coat of many colours

Teresea Stieben, Coat of Many Colours; Peacock, Canada
Logan, 6, London

I was at the beach today
Sand and wind in hair
Child and flighty friend
Babe squealing in wild delight
Coloured, streaming abandon
My back warm with laughing
A rare morning.

These rich, bright birds both fly from 
the ends of faraway winters.

 We send them BIG sun. xx

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Leaf and Little Branch

The BIG logo is fast growing on a Little Branch. Lilly and I muse and chatter excitedly over the drafts sent to us by the amazing Maree Oaten and then sleep with castles and birds and boats and ocean fonts all swimming in front of our dreamscapes. 

The attention and ongoing navigation between the domestic/professional/BIG spheres is noisy, demanding, untamed and without prediction. On some days we are tired and a little bit broken and on other days we soar. We now have a 'dropbox' housing shared documents including the new BIG business plan and the very BIG list. We prioritise and get to things when we can, balancing the BIG picture with the ongoing 'work' of it, a crazy and vulnerable way to begin. The only way for us. All in, all at once. Multi-coloured-tasking.

As I go to post this draft of Lilly's, I check in with the Leaf blog and read Cath's latest post on serendipity. Timely as we launch into the next 'stage' of this making of a BIG magazine. How Lilly and I reconnected here after twelve or so years still has us both shaking our heads in wonder at our sudden landing in the same BIG sky. Every BIG connection, child, artist and idea we meet provokes, inspires, fuels and challenges our future steps.

Here Lilly introduces and shares the story of Leaf
I found Leaf  through Story one night when i should have been asleep.  I was searching online for  place/idea/business, where everything could live and new things could be born; concept, brand, ethics, ecology, diversity, heart, imagination, connection, hope, humanity and responsibility. I was looking for a different ways of seeing and telling stories for children, and for ourselves, side by side. And then I found Leaf, and sat for a while in the trees, and wondered about the woman who created it. I wrote to say thank you, and share BIG with her, and invite her to contribute a bird,or a story about flight, or an idea that might spark a skyward journey. She wrote back:

My Little Bird

I loved him from the first moment I saw him.
To the rest of the world, this bird is a mark on paper – a graphic to be sold, shared, enjoyed briefly, then discarded.
To me, he represents the realisation of dreams.
He is the marker that pinpoints my journey into the unknown world of running my own business – one which finally brings together all that is ME, as wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, traveller, creative, entrepreneur, woman; of who I have been, and who I will become.

From him, a whole business has been born, and with it, the hope that I will bring joy, intimacy, insight and creativity to other people’s lives.

I dream big dreams. Often they keep me awake at night, as I shiver in fear at their sheer magnitude.

This little bird reminds me that every journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. He is my first step.

Cath Connell
Owner and Creative Director of Leaf. Paper for Life. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Emerging artists

Barney, 8

Mia Holton, Perth

Wandering through Finders Keepers Market in Sydney I came across 8year old Barney standing alone behind a stall. Big smile, confident and engaging. Not only was the card I fell in love with illustrated by him, but the business of creating and selling cards was his also! I have a suspicion we are going to see more of Barney as BIG grows and we begin to gather our young editorial team. Barney's 'bird match' above is by Mia Holton, a multi-media artist of exceptional talent.
All flight to these two emerging, original and inspired ways of seeing the world!

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