Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mazza Museum Summer Conference 2017

In 2008, mere months after Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman came out, I had the privilege of speaking at the Mazza Museum in Findlay, Ohio, a wonderful place dedicated to the art of the picture book.

It was then and there where I met fellow creators-turned-friends including Tad Hills and Marla Frazee.

Thanks to the grand marshal of Mazza, Ben Sapp, I returned on 7/17/17 to kick off the three-day 2017 Summer Institute. This time, I again met a fun group including
Jane Dyer, Jeff Ebbeler, and Sherri Rinker:

Special thanks to teacher and professional storyteller Kevin Cordi for one of the most dynamic introductions I've ever had—ever heard.

Alas, I was looking forward to seeing friends Barbara McClintock, Drew Daywalt, and Matt Phelan, but all were speaking on days 2 or 3, after I was gone (I could not linger because I had to present at the Scholastic Summit in Virginia the following day).

Two kind volunteers, Catherine and Karen, picked me up at the Dayton airport—but didn't take me straight to the hotel as I was expecting. First they surprised me with a visit to the nearby business of Katherine's husband Doug. He builds Batmobiles. As one does.

Yes, that's his job. He takes orders for either the 1966 TV show version or the 1989 movie version. It takes about a year to build one (over the body of another car).

I did not order one. I can't pull off Batmobile.

Part of the lovely care package waiting for authors in our rooms included boxes of local chocolates wrapped to look like our books.

Another highlight of the whirlwind trip: since late 2015, thanks to an enterprising fellow named Dan (shown below), the Mazza makes molds of the hands of their visiting authors and artists. Which hand? The hand we create with, of course. (Yes, writers type with both hands so we go with whichever hand is dominant.)

Renata Liwska and I went into the goo at the same time and both lived to tell the tale.

I can't explain what the goo is but it a) doesn't smell, b) doesn't stick to your skin, and c) feels like thick yogurt. We had to keep our hands in the goo for eight minutes. 

Mazza will display the hand molds alongside our work.

Let's see if they follow through on either of my suggestions: face molds or ice sculptures.

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