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12 Blogs of Christmas: A Beautiful Mess

One thing I definitely need to have on my blogroll are craft blogs.  You never know when the perfect craft idea will come along and suddenly – presto magic – you have a complete program idea ready to go.  So we are wrapping up the 12 Blogs of Christmas with one of my favorite craft blogs.

Blog #12: A Beautiful Mess

A Beautiful Mess is a crafting/DIY blog done by Elsie & Emma.  That’s really about all I know about them.  This blog has a such a clean layout with a great graphic presentation.  Also, lots of great ideas.  Their Instagram Canvas Wall Art post started a revolution in both my home decorating and programming.  I am quite literally obsessed with this project and if you are in any way related to me, then you got some type of Instagram Canvas Art from me in 2013.  And if you are one of my teens, you probably attended my program on 10 Things You Can Do with a Blank Canvas (part 1 and part 2).

A Beautiful Mess has sections on crafts, photography, recipes, decor, fashion and beauty.  The crafts and decor sections are most usual in program planning inspiration, but I like learning about the photography.
Some of my favorite posts include:

This Family Photo Bookshelf Project

This post on making your own foam stamp

They have a whole collection of posts on book making

This post on displaying photos in your home (some of which would work at the library or as a program)

And this post on making a pinhole camera, which totally counts as tech programming in my book 

There is also an A Beautiful Mess iPhone App, which I have not used so I can’t give an opinion on it.   

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere: Beth Revis on the Real Fauxtographer

I am a huge fan of Margot Wood, the Real Fauxtographer.  Her photography is beautiful and I can’t help but think, it must be so amazing to be a novelist and stumble across something like this.  What must it be like to discover that you inspired someone in this way?  So I put out a call to artists that have inspired Margot and Beth Revis answered.  I am particularly glad that it was Revis that answered, because Margot’s pictures inspired by Across the Universe is hands down my favorite of them all.  It is a stunning portrait in and of itself and, if you know the story of Across the Universe, it brilliantly captures the essence of the story.  Margot talks more about her project in a previous post, but today I talk with Beth Revis to learn how she stumbled upon The Real Fauxtographer and what it is like to be someone’s muse.

Q & A with Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe

Photo by Margot Wood, inspired by Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Tell us a little bit about your novel Across the Universe and how you came to write it.

The short answer is that Across the Universe is a murder mystery in space. I think I ultimately wrote it because of a lifetime spent with awesome books. There’s a little bit of every book that inspired me in there–the setting came from Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap (an enclosed space with a killer trapped with victims), the twist at the end came from reading Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief (I adored Gen), and much, much more.

How did you come across Margot Wood’s picture inspired by Across the Universe?

I’ve been following Margot’s fauxtography since she posted the picture of Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I thought it was brilliant how she combined a love of books with a passion for photography. When she posted some more pictures, a few people sent her tweets asking for some from the world of Across the Universe–and I totally jumped on board, excited by the possibility. Fortunately Margot was able to get a copy of the book and made the picture–it was so cool to see it come to life through photography!

What does it mean to you as an author to inspire other artists in this way? What kind of response do you have to something like this? What kind of response to people like your family and publishing house have when they see the photo?

I think it’s amazing. I’m constantly inspired by others’ arts–not just through music (which is the most common type of inspiration for me) but also film and visual arts. I get story ideas by looking at paintings or from scenes in movies; I try to evoke emotions or twist words in the same way as music does. So seeing something I’ve done help inspire someone else’s art is a amazing experience. It turns art into one big creative cycle: art begets art, and that is a truly wonderful aspect of the human experience.

Do you feel like her picture captures the essence of Across the Universe? How do you think it speaks about your novel?

She did a great job creating the feeling of Amy being frozen, the starkness and loneliness of it all. I love that she played with the visualness of the original book cover in the re-imaging of the scene, but I think the most important thing is the way she captures the coldness and pain of being so very alone.

What other types of feedback have you received about Across the Universe?

In terms of creativity and art, there have been some wonderful responses. I started a “Creative Contest” earlier in the year, and the entries were so varied and amazing, from a quilt to music to paintings to sculpture to jewelry and more. You can see a full gallery here: http://www.bethrevis.com/fan-art/

There’s also a Deviant Art fan page here: http://projectarkship.deviantart.com/gallery/

A Million Suns, the sequel to Across the Universe, came out in January of this year. Can you tell us a little bit about what we can expect to happen? Will the story continue beyond A Million Suns?

In Across the Universe, Amy and Elder discover that Godspeed is fueled by lies–there are secrets and conspiracies that they must uncover to find the truth of the society aboard the ship. In A Million Suns, Elder learns just how dangerous it is to rule a society in a space ship. Chaos abounds–and in the third and final book of the trilogy, Shades of Earth (January 2013), they discover what’s waiting for them outside of the spaceship Godspeed…

I want to extend a special thank you to the talented Beth Revis for taking the time to participate in this Q&A.  You can visit Beth Revis at her website.  Her debut novel, Across the Universe, has appeared on the New York Time’s Bestseller list. You can also follow her on Twitter @bethrevis.

And, of course, you should keep your eye on the Real Fauxtographer to see what she does next.  Visit the Teen Programs in a Box table of contents (TPIB TOC) to find a variety of art project and programs you can do with teens to turn their love of lit into art.  You can also visit my post where I discuss how the Real Fauxtographer reminded me how I turn my photographs into lit inspired art.

The Real Fauxtographer: YA Lit + Art = Awesome (Guest post by Margot Wood)

A couple of years ago, I was googling “The Perks of Being a Wallflower quotes” when I stumbled across a beautiful photograph with a quote from the book on it.  This is when I learned that all over the Internet people were making beautiful art from their favorite YA books.  Since then, I have become fascinated with the mingling of visual art and ya lit.  I was thrilled (and awed and amazed and stunned) to stumble upon the amazing Margot Wood.  She is a photographer and YA reader who creates photographs of some of her favorite YA books.  How does she do it? What inspires her? I am honored to introduce her to you today.

Hi everyone! I am so thrilled and honored to guest blogging here at TLT. As an avid teen book reader and library go-er, I love knowing that passion for books and support for libraries is still alive and kicking in today’s digital age.

So anyways, I guess I should introduce myself and tell you all about this fun project I’m working on. My name is Margot Wood and I am a digital designer by day and photographer by night. Two of my biggest hobbies are reading YA books and taking photos and this winter I was trying to come up with a spring project to work on (something I like to do every year) and this year I decided to combine my two loves into one amazing project: a series of photos inspired by my favorite young adult books!

Why young adult books? Well, I  have received so much from them. I mean I get to go on an adventure with each book and I wanted to honor these amazing stories and since I can’t draw, paint, sculpt or writer music I’m using my camera to pay tribute to the authors and the genre that has brought me so much happiness.

In addition to just having a blast trying to do these photos, I have found that this project has really kick started the creative side of my brain. This project has given me something to think about, plan for, work towards and have fun with. 

So, how did this idea first come to me? Well, I was reading The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan and thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be a really cool photo if Mary was standing in the woods and zombie hands were grabbing her?” So then I decided to quit waiting for someone else to do that photo and just do it myself. And here’s the finished product:
You can read the full story behind this photo (and all the others) on my blog, therealfauxtographer.com but I was so happy with the way that photo came out that I thought “Hmm, maybe I should do more of these!” The next thing I did was make a list of all the YA books I’ve read and narrow down that list to my favorite ones, then narrow that list down to the ones that would make for really cool photos. Since the Forest of Hands and Teeth photo I have produced approximately one photo per week, one for each book and I have six photos in total so far. Here are a few of my favorites:
Based on ASHFALL by Mike Mullin
Based on DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE by Laini Taylor
Based on ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis
I am having so much fun with this project, and I’d like to invite you all to join me! Grab your cameras and take a photo inspired by your favorite book!
But before you head out, here’s some advice:
-Go into your photo with an open mind. It’s easier to get a successful photo if you already have an idea of how you want it to look or the style or theme of the photo, but be flexible with the results. If what you originally wanted to do isn’t happening, make adjustments as you go along with whatever is available to you at the time.
-Have a problem? Get creative with your solution! For that Across the Universe photo I needed some way of making it look like Amy was being cryogenically frozen. So how the heck was I going to do that? Well, after doing a little research on Flickr for “frozen portraits” I found a few pics that inspired me. Frozen glass! But how do I get my hands on frozen glass? Well, I used the glass from a picture frame, wiped it down with Listerine (to get that blue color) and stuck it in the freezer! Problem solved!  
-Pick a book that inspires you. It’s important to choose wisely with your books, only go with one that really speaks to you or left you with an impression. Don’t have one in mind yet? Head to your library and tell your librarian about the project and ask for a recommendation for a book that would be fun to do for the project. Since I’ve started this project most of my photo ideas have come from books that people on Twitter have recommended to me!
-Interpret at will.The nice thing about my project is that I can do whatever I want with my interpretations. That means it can be a literal interpretation of a scene, character or title or you can do something that gets the mood or feeling of the book, or it can just be anything that reminds YOU of the book. This is art, it doesn’t have to be accurate. You make it what you want to make it.
Now that you have some advice, get out there and start taking some photos! I can’t wait to see what you come up with and stay tuned for more photos from my series. Happy reading and photogging!
This is a great way to get your teens creating and expressing themselves; to engage them in literature.  After meeting Margot and following her project I realized that I had been doing a form of this on my own with the pictures that I post here on my blog, though without the high level of skill and talent.  My homage to the Real Fauxtographer can be found here.  And throughout the Teen Programs in a Box you can find ways to get your teens creating ya inspired art whether it be through the Book Quotation Celebration, creating haunting photos inspired by Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, or creating a Angel fiction inspired 3-d book cover starring your teens.  You can find those programs and more in the Teen Programs in a Box Table of Contents.
You can follow Margot on Twitter (@margotwood), on Facebook and at her blog.  Stay tuned in here in the coming weeks as authors Beth Revis and Mike Mullin discuss their reaction to their photographs and share their amazing books with us.  Beth Revis is the author of Across the Universe, a great science fiction race against time to save the lives of those on board a spaceship built of secrets and murder.  Mike Mullin is the author of Ashfall, a spine chilling dystopian tale of what happens when volcanoes erupt and the world is covered in ash.
Please be sure to leave Margot a comment in the comments letting her know how awesome she is, what book you think she should do next, or share art projects you have done with your teens based on ya lit.

The Faux Fauxtography (Teen fiction and photography)

Margot Wood is a lover of YA lit and calls herself the Real Fauxtographer.  She has a blog where she takes pictures inspired by her favorite YA fiction.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really should because she does some amazing photography.  If you are fan of this blog you know that a lot of my teen programming ideas involve having teens create their own teen fic inspired art projects.  From illustrating their favorite quotes from books to recreating book covers with a picture of themselves on the front, there are a lot of ways that teens can cross art with fiction.  The two are wonderful dance partners, to say the least.  Because I am a huge fan of the Real Fauxtographer, I thought I would share some of the pictures that I have shared here in the last year inspired by my favorite teen fiction.  They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so I hope that Margot is flattered.

Miss Pereregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I had just finished reading this book when I took a shot of my then 2-year-old and accidentally cut off her head.  To me, it evoked the pictures in the book and inspired the Teen Program in a Box outline for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.  I still love this book and the TLT Teen Reviewer Cuyler recently shared how much he loved it too.

The Hunger Games

While going camping one weekend with 40 plus Girl Scouts (why yes, yes it was torture thank you) it rained a lot. And I do mean a lot.  But that weekend my daughter did some archery and inspired a post called Be Your Own Katniss.  And every time I looked out the window I was sure I was living my own dystopian nightmare in a ruined world full of 40 shut in preteen girls.

While walking home from school one day I was taking pictures of my pre-teen and she got sick of it and shied away from the camera.  To me, when I saw this photo, it evokes Hannah Baker.  Every time I look at it all I can think is this is what Hannah must have felt.
You may have heard, but I love love love the book Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.  It is a superbly written book that speaks to a topic I feel passionate about.  And it is beautifully written.  While taking a walk one day I came across this tree with a heart carved in it and the initials turned out to be relevant so I snapped this pic.
In contrast I took this picture of a bench in the park and it reminded me of how they felt in the Delirium society that if they removed love they would have more control but as we all know, you can’t really control nature – or human nature.
I am a huge fan of zombie novels and post apocalyptic fiction, for reasons that I have explained. One of the more recent ones to hit the shelves involves a strong, independent young woman named Alex who is saved by the very fact that she is going to die from a tumor in her brain.  That book is Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.  I took this picture of one of my very favorite teens, Val, and it evoked the feeling of Ashes for me.

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson is the tragically beautiful love story of star crossed lover.  The language of this story has always stayed with me and emphasizes the idea that sometimes two people are meant, are destined, to come together in life.  One day as I sat watching my two daughters snuggle together, I thought about this book and how in their own way they two were meant to come together.  This picture also inspired my TPIB idea The Book Quotation Celebration.
This is the only picture that I purposely took because I was doing a publicity piece for The Downside of Being Charlie and the upcoming contest with Jenny Torres Sanchez for The 2012 Project.  In her debut book, a young man named Charlie uses photography to help express himself.  This is a heartbreaking and inspiring contemporary novel.  You should check it out.

Variant by Robison Wells is another wicked cool dystopian with some phenomenal twists.  This picture isn’t so much inspired by the book as it is an actual depiction of someone reading the book – but up in a tree.  It was just too fun not to include.  People should read more books up in trees.
 It is this picture, however, that better evokes something from the novel itself.
So here’s a tip: If you do a google image search with the name of a book that you love, you can often find some amazing art inspired by it.  Or you can always create your own.  Share your favorite teen fic inspired art by linking to it in the comments and let me know what you think of mine.
Check the TPIB TOC (Teen Programs in a Box Table of Contents) for a lot of great activities that you can use with your teens to create their own teen fic inspired art.  Be sure to check out the Embrace by Jessica Shirvington inspired 3D art project where your teens become the cover models for their own angel paranormal fiction.
Other art resources from TLT:
and More