I’m excited to say that Squircle has been honored as a Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Recipient! The Mom’s Choice Awards® is known for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly products. This annual competition recognizes authors creating quality family-friendly products. Parents, educators, librarians and retailers rely on Mom’s Choice evaluations when selecting quality materials for children and families.
I’ve been working with Tippecaone & Dover schools, which will soon merge to form Parkside School for the Arts & Humanities, to create a picture book about community. For the last five weeks the 686 students have been working with me to write and illustrate the book. So far we don’t have a title, but we’ve been working hard on our collage artwork. Here’s how the project has developed…
1. Students in grades K4-8th grade brainstormed with me to find themes within the idea of community. We needed 22 themes as there are 22 classrooms within the two schools. Each student wrote about that theme that was assigned for their classroom. This writing could be either a narrative story or a poem. Students also drew a picture related to the topic. In addition to the students’ drawings and writing, we used pages from the book that each grade is reading (11 books were selected by the teachers to help students explore the idea of community a bit deeper) and sheet music that the students created with composer, Dr. Mark Mantel.
2. With these materials, tissue paper, and glue, we created unique collage paper. The students brainstormed symbols to represent the theme each classroom is working on. These symbols are then created as a collage artwork and incorporated into the larger collage. The finished 22 collages will be photographed and used as page spreads in the book. The teachers will be working together to create the cover for the book.
3. When the artwork is complete we will work together to compose the story, refining the rhythm, wording, and composition.
4. The final book will be released on June 5, 2014 and an accompanying CD of the music that Dr. Mark Mantel created with the students will be included with the book.
Here are some photos of the work we’ve done. The drawings are storyboards of the page spreads. There will be a tree included in each page spread. The tree helps connect the story and symbolically represents the people and community of the story.
“Squircle” is a fantastic representative collaboration between artist/author Andrea Skyberg and students of five Wisconsin schools, creating fabric applique murals and artworks about a central theme of interconnectedness. These completed large murals are woven into a creative story about Evie a girl who carries a ball or red twine, a box and a twig into the forest. At first Evie wants to catch a squirrel, so she makes a trap from her box and then becomes angry when the squirrel eludes her trap. Her first lesson is titled “Duckflap,” illustrated by a beautiful fabric mural of a duck who flaps to set anger free. Evie goes on to learn five important lessons in interconnectedness, living in the present, learning to listen to her inner voice, flowing through life without resisting what happens, and finally, “Squircle,” an experience of coming full circle by sharing a connection with all beings and things. Each enlightenment is fabulously interpreted by a joint project fabric art mural made, and retained by a different school. The narrative pictures in black and white with red twine help describe the inner journey completed by Evie. A truly unique creative feature of “Squircle” is the creative connecting of two words to make a new joint concept, like “Duckflap,” “Fishflow,” “Right -Now-A-Pillar Time,” “Deerly Listen,” and of course, “Squircle.” “Squircle” is a truly wonderful children’s book that has to be savored, published by Wooden Nickel Press, whose mission is described as “to publish books that exhibit an original & inspired connection between storytelling and fine art. Certainly the quality of art and storytelling displayed in “Squircle” is extremely fine, deserving wide acclaim and deeply educational enjoyment. Although “Squircle” is technically a children’s book, easily accessible to those age 6 and up, adults will also find it fascinating and rewarding to read and examine. What a gift to all!
I’ve been really busy on a really exciting project, which I’ll share soon, but in the meantime I have to share my daughter Evey’s new picture book, The Queens of Spring which she wrote and illustrated! I’m very proud of her! Queens-of-Spring-Evey-Skyberg-Greer
I just finished a three week residency with Lincoln school where I worked with kindergardeners and first graders to create quilting squares and banners. The first graders created portraits and the kindergardeners created images of musical instruments and objects from Latino culture. The students appliquéd and then sewed together their images. The finished pieces will be on display in a school exhibition, which is called Celebrating Latino Culture later this year.
I just returned from the Society of Children’s Book Writer’s and Illustrator’s conference in NYC. I was able to show my portfolio and meet some great people.
Hearing Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton talk about how they collaborate when writing a book. This was particularly interesting to me since my husband and I work together often.
Mo Williems talking about the story versus the hook (Oh, that’s Deborah!) I think most people were expecting him to be a great speaker, but I was happily surprised to find him entertaining and informative.
Listening to Kate Fletcher, Editor at Candlewick Press, talk about the company and what she wants to publish. I’ve always liked the books published by Candlewick, but finding out more about the company and how they support their authors was really interesting and inspiring.
Linda D’Acquisto created this great video that shows me talking about the pieces in the gallery exhibition, Threads That Connect, which was showcased at the Arts@Large gallery October 19, 2012 – Jan.8, 2013.
My husband has a new middle grade novel coming out in September, 2013 called The Eyes of India! The book is available to pre-order on his website.
Have you ever wondered what happens when we die?
The question has been running laps in Annie’s head for two days since her dog was hit by a car. When her Grandma Evelyn stops by to visit, she begins to tell a story from her past that might help Annie to see the death of her dog in a whole new way.
The story begins in India, where a young Evelyn and her sister, Priscilla, receive the unbearable news that their uncle has died. The two sisters set out for the city of Varanasi with a tour guide to meet up with their traveling parents. Early on in their trip the girls are separated from their guide, setting them off on a journey through the jungle and into hidden villages of India. While the girls try to find their parents, they learn to follow their intuition and navigate with their third eye. From the colorful Holi festival to the funeral ceremonies along the Ghats of Varanasi, the girls make many unexpected friends along their adventure that help them to see the universal connection we all have to life and death.
The Squircle Wish Banners were modeled after the Tibetan Prayer Flags which, traditionally come in sets of five colors representing the five elements, which are said to produce health and harmony. Like the Prayer Flags, the book Squircle has five animal messengers who share an idea with Evie, the main character in the book. Using all five of these ideas, Evey experienced harmony and understanding.
The Prayer Flags are used to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom, and when blown by the wind, they are thought to spread compassion into the world, bringing a benefit to all. The Squircle Wish Banners were created to provide a similar benefit. Each student created her/his banner with a good intention or pledge in mind. S/he selected the colors that represented people in her/his immediate circle of family and friends.
Thread is a main symbol, which represents connection in the story Squircle. It also serves a purpose in the creation of the artwork, connecting together the fabric that was chosen and cut by the students. When displayed, the good intentions and pledges set by the students when they were created their banners, convalesce together creating a powerful energy that benefits all. It also serves as a visual reminder that we are all part of the Squircle.
I submitted an entry for the Tommie dePaloa contest through the SCBWI. They have a great blog with all of the entries. I really enjoyed being part of this contest, as it gave me an opportunity to see a large amount of artwork from some very talented artists. I really like the winning piece done by Sandra Ure Griffin. In fact, it was one of my favorite pieces.
I submitted this piece for the book, Little Women.
We’re all part of the Squircle!
Did you know December 12, 2012 it is the World Day of Interconnectedness? Celebrate with us at the Arts@Large art exhibition, Threads That Connect: Fiber Art & Community!
12.12.12 The World Day of Interconnectedness
4-6pm Reception at Arts@Large Artist & Author Presentation at 5pm I will talk about the multifaceted project I developed to create Squircle, which had me working in collaboration with students from five schools in Wisconsin. This collaboration was inspired by the main message in Squircle – that we are all interconnected!
I got the chance to share a booth with my husband at this year’s Arts@Large Artist Meet and Greet. It was a lot of fun reconnecting with artists I know and meeting new people. There was some great food catered in from Cubanitos. Thanks Arts@Large for hosting a wonderful gathering!
A photo of our table, with Michael’s elephant, which will be one of the illustrations in his new book, The Eyes of India (March 27, 2014). Also, on display are Pipsqueak dolls, Ragadoodles, Squircle Wish Banners, and of course, my books!
It’s been so amazing giving my author presentations and leading art workshops in the beautiful gallery at Arts@Large, surrounded by all the artwork from Squircle! I’ve had a great time with students dancing in the moment, standing still and proud like yoga trees, and shadow boxing our ‘anger monsters’ to some sweet Rocky theme song music! We’ve also made some spectacular Squircle appliqué banners which get to be displayed in the gallery for the next exhibition!
Join me and my dear friend and awesome yoga instructor, Haley, as she leads a family yoga session based on the concepts of Squircle! It’s going to be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
Family Yoga WorkshopSaturday December 1, 1:00-2:00p - Children ages 5K – Grade 5 + 1 Adult
Join Haley and Andrea Skyberg, the Author of the NEW Children’s Book Squircle, for a fun Yoga workshop based on the timeless lessons from Andrea’s new book. $10/Pair , $5/Additional Participant
Participants MUST PRE-REGISTER by Friday Nov. 30 at 8:00p
What a beautiful opening reception! I had so much fun reconnecting with the teachers and the students that I worked with on this book project. The Arts@Large staff did a fantastic job of creating a magical gallery space that was truly inspired by the book! They even made giant thread spools with red thread! Check out the photos…
Have you ever lived in Now-A-Pillar Time?
What’s a DuckFlap?
And do you know how to Deerly Listen?
Squircle follows a little girl named Evie who tries to catch a squirrel and ends up wandering through the forest on a magical adventure. Along the way, she unexpectedly meets a circle of woodland friends who give her guidance so she can know how to live in the moment, listen to her inner voice, and go with the flow of life. Using these tools to overcome negative emotions, such as anger, confusion and loneliness, Evie finds her joyful spirit. She realizes that she’s never alone, and in fact, she’s connected to everything around her, even the squirrel.
I’m so excited that Arts@Large will be showcasing the artwork that was created for the book, including many of the students appliqué banners as well as the large fabric murals!
Here are the details…
Threads that Connect: An Exhibition About Fiber Art & Community
Gallery Opening, reception & book signing – October 19th from 5 to 8 p.m.
Walk into the pages of Andrea Skyberg’s new children’s book Squircle.
This exhibition will feature the artwork created for Squircle, which includes the five large fabric murals made in collaboration with local Wisconsin students, as well as the free-motion machine embroidery pieces created by Andrea. Smaller appliquéd fabric banners, inspired by the book and created by students, will also be on display.
Participating schools and community partners include: Arts@Large, Fairview Charter School, James Fenimore Cooper School, St. John the Evangelist School, Waukesha Community Art Project (WCAP), and 95th Street School.
Gallery Night Opening – October 19th from 5 to 8 p.m. Gallery @ Large, 908 S. 5th St., Milwaukee, WI 53204
I’ve really enjoyed working on the pages of Squircle. Most days (and nights!) this summer I’ve been in my studio listening to audio books while using my sewing machine to create free-motion embroidered pieces while my daughters play next to me in their playroom. It’s been a wonderfully meditative process.
Most days when I emerge from my studio I’m covered in little scraps of fabric that eventually molt off of me and scatter themselves around the rest of the house. Slowly but surely the large fabric murals for my new book, Squircle are getting finished. Music has been such a huge inspiration while I’ve been creating.
Here’s a list of what I’m listening to now…
Ceremonials by Florence + the Machine
Is Your Love Big Enough? by Lianne LaHavas
Boys for Pele by Tori Amos
The Score by the Fugees
21 by Adele
Colour the Small One by Sia
Mouths to Feed by Karen Elson
Blink the Brightest by Tracy Bohnmam
Extraordinary Machine by Fiona Apple
Lungs by Florence + the Machine
Living in Clip by Ani Difranco