It has been a dream of mine to write and illustrate a children’s book since I was a child myself. Back then I would staple together scrap paper and write stories and draw pictures all day if I was allowed to. Later, as an adult, I became a teacher, and I would read stories to the children in my class. I would find myself thinking, “I could do that!” But, for whatever reason, I never could come up with a story, and I didn’t get around to making that dream come true.
Then, just a couple of years ago, I stopped trying to come up with a story, and the story came to me.
By this time, the trajectory of my life had taken a major shift. Instead of teaching young children, which I had loved doing for so many years, I now focused my attention and working hours to being a studio artist. I had even gone so far as to go back to school to get a degree in fine arts, and I became a printmaker, painter and book artist. I made a vow to myself to make art every single day, and for the most part, I stayed true to that vow. As a result, I find that the way I process thoughts and ideas is by creating art. This is how I came to create the little book called ”Building Possibilities”.
One pretty fall day my husband and I were walking out of a market in Fountain Square, when the building directly across the street from where I was standing caught my eye. It was a sweet and simple little brick building, with just a bit of architectural embellishment, but empty and uninhabited. It just hit me what a waste it was to see this building without a current purpose. It struck me how much change I’ve seen in this area over the years and how many businesses have come and gone. Buildings sit empty while new ones are built to order. It feels like there should be a better way. I took a picture of “my” building on my phone.
A short time later, this conversation in my head prompted me to do a plexiglass etching of the building. In the mean time, I invited my imagination to consider all the different purposes this little building could have had in its lifetime. I could see it as a grocery store, a dress shop, a restaurant and so many other things. So after I pulled many prints of that image of my plain little building, I began painting and drawing to create many visions of what the building could look like. Eventually I created over twenty pieces of art that reflected what the life of my building might have been like. The collection was framed and shown in the Artsgarden in downtown Indianapolis. Even though I had spent a year working on these images of my building, I couldn’t get it out of my head. That was when the desire to put words to the story came to me. A friend suggested I personify the building which was just the advice I needed. At that point, the words began to flow, and the story seemed to write itself.
The story of “Building Possibilities” provides many metaphors for people who are going through transformations in their lives. It encourages not only an attitude of recycle and reuse, but also overcoming our fears and embracing change in our lives.