Huxley Public Library Program Coordinator Cathy Van Maanen had an idea to have a simple directional sign post in the library.
“I saw a simple directional sign in another library’s post and thought it would be fun to have one in the Huxley Public Library,” explained Van Maanen.
Van Maanen called upon local artist Jessica Leeds to help her out.
“When Jessica offered to do the painting, I had no idea what a beautiful piece of art we would end up with. It is a fantastic addition to the library’s art collection and a fun conversation piece for all our patrons,” added Van Maanen.
Leeds said she was inspired by the idea of a direction post in the library. She said that she had seen a few and decided to not just paint words on the arrows, but to do more of a dimensional sign.
Leeds began with the Emerald City, using high heel shoes in dimensional and silhouettes to show figures, the castle, the brick road and poppy fields. She tells that her mother made the witch’s hat. The Emerald City, from “The Wonderful World of Oz,” written by L. Frank Baum and published on May 17, 1900, tells the adventures of Dorothy in the Land of Oz after she and her dog Toto were swept away from Kansas by a cyclone.
“I used multimedia in all the signs, but the Hogwarts sign with the broom and the wand, which I made from sticks from my yard and ornamental grasses, were complete multimedia,” Leeds tells. Hogwarts is the fictional school of witchcraft, the British school of magic for students age 11 -18, and is the primary setting for six books in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.
On the Whoville sign, Leeds was able to bring to life the fictional town of the same name. “Whoville is the setting of both “Horton Hears a Who” and ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,”’ tells Leeds. Whoville was created by author Theodor Seuss Geisel, also known as Dr. Suess.
A very popular book, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” an 1865 novel by English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll, is shown as Wonderland on the library post. According to Leeds, she created this sign by hand-painting the events shown on it. “It shows Alice’s tea set and a pocket watch that the rabbit was obsessed with,” she said.
Everyone’s favorite, Winnie the Pooh, comes alive in the Hundred Acre Woods, as Christopher Robin and his good friend, Winnie the Pooh, travel in the woods on adventures. Leeds added a beehive and bees, of course.
The Shire from “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” reflects on the region in both novels. The Shire is the region of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional earth settled by Hobbits.
“I am currently working on a couple more signs that will be added to the directional pole,” Leeds tells. “I piece them together as time allows me to. I work on them and then put them away. I can’t say how long it took me to complete the ones that are on display now, maybe five full working days. It’s mostly something fun that I can do for the library.”
Working in the Huxley Library was a first-time job for Leeds.
“It was my first job when we moved to Huxley,” she explains. “The library ladies that were here at the time was my family. They helped me through my first pregnancy and they will always have a special place in my heart. When this opportunity came up for me to do something special for the library, it was my way to give back and leave my mark in the library.”
Take the time to check out this exceptional directional sign. The whimsical side and a whole lot of talent is there to be enjoyed by all ages.