For Show and Tell At Work Day I decided to talk about my winter beauties (that's me with Estelle from last winter).
My work? I am a graphic designer, working with individuals, universities, and companies large and small, to bring their words, projects, and ideas to life on paper and online. My company is Composition 1206 , and if you're interested, I love to have you take a look at my online portfolio.
So that's work, this is show and tell. Assembly of Grand Pursuits (AGP) is my passion project. I started AGP because I love finding and experimenting with new hobbies, projects, and activities.
That's how I began making my Winter Beauties.
With the exception of just a few years early on, I make my own holiday cards. But nine years ago I was struggling for ideas, and it was getting close to figuring it out or letting it go, which I dreaded.
And then it snowed. I'd seen some creative snowmen in a magazine, and as the snow fell I had my answer: make a snowman, take a photograph, and create a card. It turned out to be a good idea—and a keeper—nine to date!
It takes over two hours to build each one.
My hands get stiff from the cold, the neighbors get curious, and if I start too late in the day, the light begins to fade. I raid the refrigerator, pilfer garden beds (anything that pokes up through the snow is fair game), go to the beach, walk through the woods, and scan the side of the road for dried flowers, pine boughs, pine cones, seashells, seaweed, and fruits and vegetables for supplies. Frilly toothpicks hold things in place, and I use scissors to trim arborvitae sprigs, rhododendron leaves, and greens for noses, mouths, and eyelashes, using as much natural material as possible.
Each time I set out I'm nervous I won't come up with a "beauty." It's a lot of trial and error trying different materials. A neat trick I discovered if I'm struggling is to take a photograph and look at that. It gives me a new perspective and I can more easily see what's not working. And with the final images, just like people, each beauty has a good side—better from the left, shot from above? Yes, that's it!
It was only after making about five of them, I thought to take a photograph with each one. When I showed my mother one of the first selfies I took, she laughed and said, "I had no idea how big they are," and she's right. I could make them smaller (that might have prevented the unfortunate topple of at least one before I was finished!), but it's easier to have a bigger surface to work with. The bigger the snowball, though, the harder it is to push and lift when I get back to where I want to build it.
SnowGirl (pictured below) was my first. She came to life during a December snow storm and greeted us in the backyard for a good five days before warmer temperatures took their toll, causing her cranberry teeth to loosen and fall to the ground. She was quickly and gracefully dismantled.