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An Artist in Our Midst at Mulberry Street Library: An Interview with Anastasia Sorrenti
Anyone who visits Mulberry Street Library can't help but notice the wonderful bulletin board hanging in the Children's Room. Created by the Library's very own Anastasia Sorrenti, a full-time clerk with a penchant for design, these original displays tie a seasonal theme to well-loved children's books each month. This month's display is a celebration of Dr. Seuss, whose birthday was on March 2.
We sat down with Sorrenti to discuss her process for creating these special works of art. We hope you'll stop by Mulberry Street Library to check out the Children's Room bulletin board soon!
How do you come up with your ideas for the bulletin board?
I've gotten ideas for the bulletin boards from all over the place. Sometimes I'm inspired by an idea I found on Pinterest, or a random illustration from a picture book, or an idea from a fellow coworker. I usually start with a theme and search for inspiration from there.
What kinds of materials do you use? What's the most unusual material you've incorporated into a bulletin board?
I think I've used a little bit of everything for the bulletin boards. Construction paper, tissue paper, pipe cleaners, paper, yarn… I use pretty normal materials, but one time I crocheted a scarf for Merlin, the Mulberry Street owl — I'd say that was pretty unusual!
What's your process for creating a bulletin board? How long does it take from start to finish?
After I figure out the theme and general idea of a new board, I go out to the grid I set up on the wall outside of the Children's Room office that's the size and shape of the bulletin board, so I always know how much room I have to work with. Once I measure and figure out the general sizes of things, it's just a matter of drawing and cutting! Since I'm only able to work on it a little bit each day, it does tend to take a while. Depending on how detailed the design is, it can take a week or two. Cutting out all those shapes and letters takes up a lot of time!
What's your favorite bulletin board so far?
Oh gosh! I think I'm partial to the National Poetry Month bulletin board from last year. It was covered in raindrops that had children's poems about rain on them. I love rainy spring days! A very close second is my Snowy Day bulletin board (based on Ezra Jack Keats's classic, The Snowy Day), which I'm planning on hanging up in my craft room at home.
Do you have favorite children's books and children's book authors and illustrators that inspire you?
There are so many books that I loved growing up, I don't think I could pick just one! The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is one of those books that I read all the time as a child, and even as I read it today, I'm touched by how magical it is, not to mention how beautiful the illustrations are! I would also love to do a bulletin board inspired by The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Maybe it'll be my next one!