Friday, June 24, 2016

Introducing Fifi Colston

Graduating in Wellington with a Diploma of Visual Communications Design, Fifi freelances with fingers in many creative pies. She is a published junior fiction novelist, children’s book illustrator of more than 30 titles and was a long standing television presenter of arts and crafts on firstly TVNZ’s ‘What Now’ and then ‘The Good Morning Show’. Fifi is a veteran of Wearable Arts; a finalist and award winner over 20 years with 22 entries in show. She has also worked with Weta Workshop, 3 Foot 7 Productions, Pukeko Pictures and The Production Shed in the New Zealand TV and film industry as a costumier, puppet maker and illustrator. When she has a moment, Fifi visits schools and community groups, inspires budding artists and writers and runs workshops in creative process.

All the answers relate to The Red Poppy

My husband’s grandfather Rothwell, wrote postcards to his fiancĂ© Hilda, from 1914-1918. Particularly poignant were two from France; they said simply “Am O.K” and “Keep smiling!” I was in the process of scanning and blogging these cards for the family when I read David’s story.  Jim’s letter home never mentioning the horrors of the trenches struck an immediate chord with me; those cheerful words from a young man, disguising the reality of his situation. Rothwell did come home from France to be a husband and father, but was far from ‘o.k’; dying just a few short years later from the cruel ravages of his war experience. Illustrating this book was a journey through his time for me. I visited the Army Museum in Waiouru (a must see- really great!) studied WW1 uniforms up close (collected by passionate people), grew red poppies, (harder than you'd think) photographed mud (outside our house) and rubbed chalk pastel until my fingers were raw. I learned much about pastel illustration technique, but more about the horror and sadness of war. 

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