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    책 내용
    'Snowflake Bentley,' winner of the Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book, was published by Houghton Mifflin Company. The book takes children back to the days when farmers worked with ox and sled and cut the dark with lantern light. It introduces Wilson Bentley, a boy who loved snow more than anything in the world and is determined that one day his camera would capture the extraordinary and unique beauty of snowflakes.
    Committee Chair Barbara Barstow said, '"Snowflake Bentley" has a beautiful and thoughtful design, a poetic and informative text, distinguished illustrations, universal appeal and resonance. Mary Azarian, a Vermont artist who loves snow as much as Wilson Bentley, has created strong and skillfully carved woodcuts that portray sensible, sturdy characters and a timeless rural landscape.'

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그림작가 정보
  • 메리 아자리안(Mary Azarian)
  • 1940년에 태어났으며, 목판 일러스트레이터로서 명성이 높은 어린이 책 화가입니다. 대학에서 회화를 전공했고 버몬트에서 아이들을 가르쳤습니다. 농촌 생활을 여유와 아름다움을 시적인 언어와 목판화로 조화시켜 칭송을 받았습니다. 1999년 『벤틀리의 눈송이 Snoeflake Bentley』로 칼데콧 상을 받았습니다.

    “I began drawing and painting at an early age and fell in love with woodcuts when I did my first relief print in the fourth grade. It was a 3”X4” lino block of an angel with “NOEL” at the bottom. It was a valuable lesson in the need to reverse words when doing a woodcut. The finished print read “LEON”.” – Mary Azarian

    Artist Mary Azarian tills her Vermont garden as skillfully as she carves her unique woodcuts. Exposed to rural life when she grew up on her grandfather's Virginia farm, her real expertise in cultivation came from on-the-job experience in adulthood. Her gardening ability is the direct result of her chosen country lifestyle; necessity, however, led her to work as an artist. Following her graduation from Smith College in the early 1960s, Azarian and her husband moved to northern Vermont to live off the land. The difficulties of subsistence farming soon led to the need for outside income. An opportunity arose for her to teach in a one-room schoolhouse, and she accepted the position. The prospect of teaching, let alone teaching eighth graders, filled Azarian with fear. She had not taken education courses in college, and a preview of the austere classroom heightened her anxiety. Before school began, she produced a set of alphabet posters both to enliven the room and to keep from thinking about the upcoming challenges of such a teaching assignment. The dread she felt soon gave way to enjoyment as she and her class had fun learning from one another. She taught school for several years until the impending birth of her second child made working outside of the home difficult.

    Like many unexpected events in life, this classroom experience opened up new fields of opportunity for Azarian. She did not plan to be an artist any more than she planned to be a teacher; in fact, she had planned to major in medicine. However, her strong interest in science gave way to the delight she found when studying printmaking and etching at Smith under artist Leonard Baskin. She changed her major to art. This college training enabled her to work at home as a woodcut artist after she gave up teaching. Printmaking provided her the kind of work flexibility a young mother needed. "I was amazed that the business was a success, and thus began my thirty plus years as a printmaker," the artist recalls. After Azarian was awarded a grant to produce a set of alphabet poster with a rural theme, the Department of Education printed a set of her posters for every primary classroom in the state. The prints seemed perfect for a children's book; but although Azarian had illustrated a cookbook with her prints, she discovered that the New York publishers she approached had no interest in woodcut prints for children's books. Time passed and David Godline offered her the chance to publish her alphabet posters in book form, "A Farmer's Alphabet(1981). Other books followed.

    In the late 1990s, Azarian enthusiastically agreed to illustrate a book about Wilson Bentley. She had already touched on his life when illustrating "Faraway Summer;" his love for snow, a passion she shared, drew Azarian into the story. Her admiration for Bentley grew as she researched his life in Jericho, Vermont, and learned of his life-long dedication to photographing snowflakes. On an appropriately cold and snow-encrusted February morning in 1999, Azarian received work that she had won the Caldecott Medal for "Snowflake Bentley." Today, Mary Azarian remains content to confine the subject matter for her work to the animals, people, places, and activities she knows best--from those in rural New England to the medieval rural scenes that first sparked her interest in woodblocks. She confronts the challenge of interpreting an author's words by seeing the task as an opportunity to learn and to grow. The work is sometimes difficult, but it is never dull. "My medium, hand-colored woodcuts," she admits, "is a bit unusual and, by its very nature, makes a strong statement."

    Azarian shows respect for the children who read her books in much the same way she respected the students in her classroom. "I try to do each illustration as well as I can, regardless of whether it will be viewed by a child or an adult," she explains. "I think it is a mistake to talk down to a child. Early in my career, I did a book cover that showed a man feeding a live mouse to an owl. Everything had gone well design-wise with this cover and I was very pleased with it. However, a horrified editor called me with the news that I would have to redo the cover. She considered the subject too gruesome for a children's book. I should add that the text had mentioned feeding the mouse to the owl. I complied, but I have always regretted that I didn't defend my choice. I know that children don't need or even want to have things toned down."

    Three cats--Phoebe, Trey, and Big Kitty (also know as Barn Cat)--and her beagle, Hilda, keep Azarian company now that her three grown sons (Ethan, Jesse and Tim) have left home. Her time is split between the studio and the garden, and she finds inspiration in both pursuits. She relaxes by reading, playing tournament bridge, and listening to medieval music. The artist continues to use the 1880 Van der Cook proof press she purchased years ago. It is probably no coincidence that Azarian selects a medium and a press that require physical strength, much as gardening does. She works rapidly when carving her woodcuts, mimicking the fast-growing plant varieties selected for Vermont's brief growing season. Printmaking is repetitive; therefore, Azarian particularly enjoys book illustration because it is a one-time process. She researches the subject matter, plans the book, and flies into action. She sketches directly on the basswood block and then cuts into the block with her Japanese tools. Azarian describes the desired result in these words: "My favorite moments in illustrating a book come when I am able to suspend conscious thought and let my hands and eyes work, guided by the well of creativity that nourishes all of us. No matter what you may choose to do in life, if you can find that magic moment, you will be happy in your work."

글작가 정보
  • Jacqueline Briggs Martin
미디어리뷰 / 독자리뷰
    오늘도 눈꽃송이 사진 한장을 위해서...^^
    별점 :
    작성자 : 그림책박물관
    조회수 : 90

    눈결정체 하나하나 모두가 똑같은 모양은 단 한개도 없다는 사실을 맨 처음 알아내고 평생 눈결정체를 사진으로 남긴 벤틀리의 이야기입니다. 

    그 당시 버몬트에 살던 사람들에게 눈이라는 것은 먼지처럼 흔한것이어서 어느 누구도 눈의 모양 따위에 관심을 두지 않았지요. 

    사실 똑같은 모양이 단 한개도 없다는 사실이 흥미롭기는 하지만 눈사진만 평생을 찍고 있는 사람의 마음은 어떤 것이었을까... 생각해보게 됩니다.

    소열마리값을 주고 아들에게 현미경카메라를 사주시고, 겨울내내 눈을 채집해 사진만 찍어대는 아들을 바라보는 부모님의 마음도 헤아려보게 됩니다.

    벤틀리는 분명히 알고 있었습니다. 내가 하는 이 일은 세상에 바치는 나의 선물이라고.... 그리고 그 마음을 누구보다 이해하고 계셨던 부모님이 계셨습니다.
    가끔 내가 하는 일이 의미없게 느껴지고, 급기야 내 자신이 무가치하게 느껴질때... 이 책을 꺼내듭니다.

    누군가에게 한장의 눈꽃송이 사진은 아무것도 아닐수도 있지만, 세상에 주고 싶은 선물을 더욱 온전하게, 더욱 아름답게 남기고 싶은 마음으로 바라보면 단 한장의 사진도 함부로 할 수가 없었던 것이지요. 
    내가 이 세상에 남기고 싶은 것은 무엇일까요? 
    오늘도 놓치지 않고 소중히 간직하고 계신지요? 
    어떤 순간에도 희망을 놓치지 말고 눈송이 한장 쌓아가는 오늘이 되길 바랍니다.


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