Tag Archives: bulletin board

Happy as Kings Bulletin Board

img_4992

Presumably, successful kings of prosperous countries who are beloved by their people and enjoy a reign free from war or internecine conflict.

Look what I made while I was almost too depressed to stand up! Except for the placement of the attribution it’s almost perfect. Good thing the “ALL” is in caps. It sort of mitigates some of the bitter sentiment here. We should all be happy. There’s plenty of stuff for everyone. I’m sure of that.

The quote–or poem, rather, as this is a poem in its entirety–comes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. I didn’t remember it from my childhood, but came across it in my copy of the book, which the Girl was reading for her English class poetry unit. That’s the whole sentiment. My copy of the book belonged to my mother as a child. She wrote her name and address on the frontispiece when she was a little girl. So that’s wholly sentimental.

The black letters are based on the Minya Nouvelle Regular typewriter-style font. The other letters are, of course, of my own devising. The chalkboard letters were created by hand-tearing each letter rather than cutting.

This piece took about 4 days, working an average of 2 1/2 hours a day. I hope it doesn’t blow away like the last one did.

E Pluribus Unum

img_4315

Of course, she did much more than most people, with much less than most people. 

Usually, my holiday bulletin boards are sort of cheerful and joy-themed, but last night, while considering my intentions, I decided that there was a message that everyone needed to hear. E pluribus unum; one nation, indivisible, a house divided against itself cannot stand; we are one. If we can’t find a way to come together, to heal the rifts between people that brought us the most polarizing and depressing election of my almost-42 years on this planet, we can’t expect to achieve much of anything.

After settling the theme of “unity,” I researched for a while and found a lot of wonderful quote, most of which were a bit sophisticated for my primary audience, a number of whom are still learning to read. This Helen Keller quote summed up the intention in words that your average 8-year-old can understand.

Before anything else, I had already decided I wanted to go font-heavy, to use fancy lettering, which takes 4 times as long, but used to be a mainstay of this genre for me. Once I had settled on the quote, I chose the typeface by searching “19th century fonts” and “victorian fonts.” These letters are based on  Longdon Decorative. I smoothed out a few of its peculiar bumps, but otherwise feel like this cut letters are pretty faithful representations.

No visual imagery really jumped to mind, except maybe hands, reaching or helping. Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow and add a picture if one comes to mind, but I doubt it. Had I more time, I could have come up with something, but I was already 45 minutes late to help the Girl with her report about Jane Goodall, plus getting sick due to the overwhelming stench of the laminating machine. Someone said that they might have changed the type of plastic used in this machine, because they’d actually relocated it to the next room and it still smelled twice as bad as when it was behind the library desk. My head still hurts from those noxious fumes. At any rate, it seemed important to have this bulletin board and this blog post available first thing Wednesday morning.

So, what do you think? Can we just try to love each other? And if that’s too much, maybe acceptance? Tolerance, at a bare minimum. Can’t we just tolerate one another?

Night with Robert Frost: Autumn Bulletin Board

img_3236

I’ve also been acquainted with the night. 

People seem pretty eager to jump into the spirit of October this year, and my last bulletin board was looking kind of shabby, and I’m just completely focused at this moment, so I took 3 days this week (just under 6 hours total) to put up my October bulletin board, which is always my favorite one of the year.

I was thinking bats, because it’s practically the only trope I haven’t hit in the many years I’ve been doing this. Then I looked for a poem, and found “Acquainted with the Night” by Robert Frost. You can read it in the link; I was working in the rain, so the lighting was terrible when I took this photo. But you get the gist. I decorated the calaveras with Sharpies; everyone in Tucson loves calaveras and I could envision them amidst the candles and piles of marigolds, although I wish I had more time to work on them, maybe make a couple more.

The poem is also in Sharpie. It’s not my best lettering; I’ve kind of been doing a lot of lettering lately and my hand just wasn’t in the game and I was feeling really rushed. The school is having a 60th anniversary party on Sunday and there’s more work to finish up the comic book: resizing the cover and editing the blog posts down to 400 words a piece.

When I wrote those words, it didn’t occur to me that they would exist off the internet. Hard copies seem to change everything.

Malala Yousafzai and Love of Learning

IMG_2141

We should learn everything and then choose which path to follow. ~Malala Yousafzai

Considering my final message of the school year, I really wanted to do something that spoke to the ideas of unity and acceptance and love, concepts that seem widely absent from the world this year, and decided to choose a quote from Malala Yousafzai, the education rights activist. If you don’t know about the amazing life of Malala, you should check her out. In a nutshell, she was an 11-year-old girl living under the Taliban when she was asked to blog about her experience as a schoolgirl in a country where education for girls was outlawed, and she began to speak in favor of education and against the regime. Four years later, the Taliban shot her in the head to shut her up, but she survived, and kept at what she had been doing, and went on to win a Nobel Peace prize and some other things too. She graduated high school and went on to open her own school. I don’t think she’s yet turned 20.

It seems like a lot of the problems in our country are predicated by a lack of comprehensive education, a sort of selective myopia about what education means, and what’s important, which is why I chose this quote. You can’t make informed decisions if your schooling has massive lacunae. You need science and literature to understand your world, and you need a good overview of science and literature. You can’t for example, teach science and literature but deliberately leave out the workings of evolution and stories about sex  and claim that you know the shape of the world.

If you must zealously guard your deficits in case something that clashes with your beliefs slips through, then your beliefs are probably not as not as strong as you think they are. Learn about the things that scare you and then evaluate whether or not they’re useful (and why they’re frightening). And that means actually learn. Don’t just be like some people and sit in the classroom with your fingers in your ears, or demanding the teacher reconcile observable phenomena with your preconceived notions. That’s not learning. Science means you look at the quantitative data, not just the parts that validate your story. Literature means you look at the entire human experience, not just the parts that are pretty and clean.

Technically, and from an artistic perspective, this is one of my less ambitious bulletin boards, but I think the kids will enjoy it. Those are real strings on the balloons, and they move when the wind blows. Someone will probably pull them off. Oh well. It took 4 days total, although the first day I just put up the background because I was busy. Then it took a couple hours to make and paste the letters, a couple hours to make the rainbow and the books, and a couple hours to finish and hang everything. The Girl was there to help me, because her school got out a week before mine, and she helpfully pointed out, 3/4 of the way through the rainbow, that I had arranged the colors backward, probably because I haven’t had a good night sleep in weeks. Then she said that it was OK, because the rainbow was unique, like Malala.

So tired.

Good at Heart

IMG_9561

You can tell which letter I did yesterday and which I did today, because yesterday’s letter are all too skinny. Still, a cool effect.

Some bulletins boards I make for the kids, but every once in a while I make one strictly for me. Hopefully the kids enjoy and get something out of it, but I needed the reminder. The lift.

The quote, of course, is from Anne Frank, written not terribly long before she and her family were betrayed to the Nazis and sent to the death camp where all of them, except for Anne’s father, died. About 70 MILLION people died in World War II. But Anne was right. In general, people are really good at heart. Just sometimes, they fall for the darkness. The darkness seems to be cyclical. And catching.

The political situation in America right now is terrifying to me. The darkness has a platform and a voice, but I have to believe that the light always prevails. Still, I cried in the car going home after I made this bulletin board, contemplating all the commonplace hatred that has bubbled to the surface of society in the last 20 years.

The butterflies refer to the poem “I Never Saw another Butterfly,” and the eponymous book in which it appears. It’s a collection of poetry written by Jewish children who were interned at Terezín, the Nazi’s “model” camp outside of Prague. While Terezín wasn’t a death camp, over 90% of the Jews who went sent there did not survive the war. The single yellow leaf is a reference to Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl, a book that should be required reading for human beings. It’s partially a Holocaust narrative, but it’s also a manual for life, written in a time of death: a light in a the darkness.

The moral of the story is that you have to remain hopeful, or the darkness will swallow you.

Making Mistakes: A New Year’s Bulletin Board

IMG_8965

It’s not perfect, but I learn as I go.

For the first bulletin board of 2016, I knew there would be flowers. The quote came afterward. Monday, I went in just to get the background up, and it took all of Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon to finish the project.

Originally I planned to make an assortment of very different 3-dimensional flowers, but I started with the big one, and it ended up taking me almost 3 hours and it didn’t even look exactly how I wanted it (it would be better with twice as many petals) so I ended up experimenting with another method of getting a (smaller) flower with many petals and some dimensionality, and then, at the very end, I threw on a bunch of simpler (but still complicated) really small ones in the same color scheme.

IMG_8960

You can really see the dimensionality.

For the quote I was thinking of Anaïs Nin: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” But then it seemed like Nin could possibly be a little racy for an elementary school if some impressionable young person decided to look her up. Or if some grownup decided she was inappropriate. It’s really an outside possibility but people can be pretty touchy about literature, and she’s strongly associated with erotica, so I decided to err on the side of caution and go with Gaiman. We have 2 of his books in the library: Coraline and The Graveyard Book. I edited the quote just a bit for length. It’s still so long that there was no  time to cut out the letters.

IMG_8963

You can tell where my hand got tired at the end. 

Flowers in the Desert Bulletin Board

Remember kids, measure twice, cut once.

Remember kids, measure twice, cut once.

If you don’t recall the New Wave band Big Country and their hit single “In a Big Country,” go ahead and familiarize yourself with this seminal work of early ’80s pop music. It’s got a catchy beat and a good message. If you’re not familiar with ’80s music, don’t get freaked out by the intro. Just go with it.

Yesterday, I wrote down some quotes that I thought of using for the holiday bulletin board, and I stuck them in my wallet, and then I left my wallet at home when I came back and couldn’t remember the quotes. This song gets stuck in my head sometimes, though, and the clock was ticking. Long story short, because nothing got started yesterday, this one really came down to the wire. I didn’t have any extra time, and ended up going 45 minutes over my budgeted time, which explain why I screwed up the text so badly. I can’t believe that last E got stuck on the sun. It’s really upsetting. There are like 12 things I could have done differently to avoid that situation, but there it is. When you don’t schedule properly, and you rush, things don’t come out as well. All of the Es are too big, and I knew they were, but these were from the second batch and I was too frustrated to make a third, and now I regret it.

So full of regret was I that I forgot I already had a blog post for tonight and started a comic, which is now finished, to I have tomorrow’s post as well. Bonus, I guess.

Also today: an article I wrote one Panels.net about Angela: Queen of Hel.