Monday, June 20, 2005

Reading Journal Entry: My Jim

Told entirely in dialect, this first-person narrative features Sadie, a slave emancipated during the Civil War. While making a quilt with her granddaughter who was born free and is trying to decide whether to marry and move west, Sadie is inspired to tell the story of her own separation and loss. In particular, Sadie recalls her husband Jim, and their two children. Jim was sold away and later escaped to freedom with none other than Huckleberry Finn (a detail that is not further developed.) As Sadie tells her story, three objects play recurring roles-- an African bowl that came from her own grandmother, a small knife inherited from her mother, and a hat that had belonged to Jim.

I had a lot of fun making the illustration for this book. After glazing the pages with a mixture of Golden's Yellow Oxide fluid acrylic and Soft Gel Matte Medium, I added a touch of soft red by pulling a sponge across the pages in a few places. I wrote the title with a #1 Mitchell nib and walnut ink. It doesn't show up very well in the scan, but I drew in some tiny lines on the letters with a dark brown Pitt artist pen (size S) to simulate the look of ones carved into wood. Since a small knife plays a recurring role in the story, this seemed apropos.

The main characters kept their hands busy making a quilt while the story progressed. This gave me the inspiration for making a paper quilt on the right-hand page. I actually used my sewing machine to stitch around the woman's picture, although the other "stitches" are drawn with a micro pen. The triangles were cut from bits of scrapbooking paper and attached to a piece of sticker paper. I even mitered the corners of the quilt's border for a more authentic look.

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