Today I happy to bring my first giveaway of the giveaway season. This is one team, a mother and her daughter, that has completely inspired me. Marie and Ellen began their work together two years ago to make a dream of theirs come true…to bring their vision of a book close to their heart into fruition. In their words:
“The first of the Wheel of the Year Books, Solstice Moon Solstice Sun tells the story of one of nature’s great turning points–when the hemisphere experiencing the winter solstice turns from the darkness of the longest night towards longer days and the promise of spring. The winter months are a time of rest, when the Earth’s energy is stored in roots and within the slowed metabolisms of hibernating animals. All life must adapt or perish. Just like little Owlet, winter can weigh us down and we need reassurance that balance will be restored as earth circles the sun. Like Owlet and his mother, our ancestors, were keenly aware of the natural world. They told stories to explain the transition and observed the winter solstice with festivals such as Yule and Saturnalia. Along with humorous touches (Mama Owl’s fluffy pink slippers and a mouse infested house) Solstice Moon Solstice Sun features traditional symbols and powerfully symbolic characters.”
Welcome Ellen, Marie, and Solstice Moon Solstice Sun!
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.
Marie: Well, I’m a 52 year old mother of nine children (six boys, three girls) between the ages of 27 & 7. We’ve home schooled for the past 18 years. During that time I’ve continued being a journalist and fiction writer. BC (before children) I was a private and public school teacher.
I was lucky to come from a home, where my parents—especially my dad—read me wonderful stories and invented even better ones– where what I thought counted and where imagination and self-expression was encouraged. I was constantly dreaming up stories—passing the time walking home from school… in school when I was bored.
One of the reasons we decided to home school was to allow our children the space to think outside of the box—to express themselves freely and explore areas of interest (like blacksmithing, bluegrass music, becoming a master cabinetmaker, spending time in a Buddhist monastery,) that they might not have dared had they had more conventional schooling. So far it seems to have worked out pretty well as all of our children from eleven on up are wonderful currently artists and/or musicians who are successfully finding their way in the world.
Q: How did Solstice Moon Solstice Sun come alive for you?
Marie: I follow a nature-based spiritual path and feel a deep connection to the earth. The Earth is our Mother—tangible and living. We couldn’t exist without her. Solstice Moon Solstice Sun fulfills a need for well written, beautifully illustrated stories that help children dream, wonder, explore, and love the natural beauty all around them. It’s human nature to fight to preserve and protect what we love. I want to help other parents foster that love of nature in their little ones. I believe that it’s our duty to nurture this wonder and, in the process, to refresh and strengthen our own awareness and connection to the Earth.
Marie: Ellen is an award winning artist who has her masters degree in fine art and sculpture from Towson University. Her work as been featured in solo and group exhibitions including The Baltimore Museum of Art in Baltimore, MD and the Biggs Museum in Dover, DE. She recently gave up teaching at Delaware College & Design to work for a blacksmith in upstate New York. Although she has a blacksmith shop set up in both Delaware and Maryland,with a anvil, forge, welder ect. she decided to take the opportunity to lean more about the craft and move to New york. Normally she creates forged wearable steel attire for women and large scale drawings which can be seen at www.ellendurkan.com. However I asked her to illustrate Solstice moon Solstice Sun, she took on the challenge and ended up showing a completely new side of her abilities as an artist. She used vibrant colors and fun animal characters to make they story appeal to children. Being the oldest of 9 children she has read her fair share of children’s books and has noticed what kind of images children like. As a child she always got a kick out of animals characters with human traits– like wearing clothes or having human furniture in their homes, so she wanted to incorporate that into the her images.
Q: What has working and collaborating on this book together with your daughter been like?
Marie: It has been a gift and a wonder. Ellen is an award winning sculptor, blacksmith, and visual artist. Illustration is a whole other dimension of her artistic talent. LOL We call it (after the Sears jingle) “the softer side of Ellen” We started the project as mother and daughter, but after nearly two years of collaboration, I think that we’ve really come to respect each other’s craft and collaborate as friends and partners. It was a truly magical experience to watch Ellen bring the characters to life with her amazing artwork. She’s got such a bang on sense of when to apply humor and when to allow the profundity of the symbolism to shin through—not to mention her incredible attention to quality and detail (look for a mouse on every page).
Q: What advice do you have for others out there who also have big ideas with wishes for them to come alive?
Marie: Stay positive. Whether great or small, every achievement is the result of a dreamer who took action. Pursue your dream with purpose and intent. When you experience a setback, learn from it and keep moving forward. Get creative. Network, and find resources like Kickstarter to help you reach a larger audience. You’ll grow as you stretch yourself to achieve you dream. Best of luck!
Today Marie and Ellen are giving away a copy of their fresh off the press book, Solstice Moon Solstice Sun to one lucky reader. (Please note that this giveaway is restricted to US and Canada only due to shipping costs.)
To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment below!
For a second entry hop on over and “like” the Solstice Moon Solstice Sun facebook page and come back to leave a second comment.
This giveaway will close Friday at 8AM and the winner announced within this post shortly after.
Thank you so much to Marie and Ellen for their inspirational work! I can’t wait to see what comes next! To purchase this beautiful book, amazing artwork, or stay tuned for any new books, you can visit Marie and Ellen at Brigid’s Hearth Press or on their facebook page.