Rustle-rustle, pyuuuu pyuuuuu, wshalalalala. On a fine autumn day, Windy, waking up under the tree, notices the sound of winds. Windy loves a windy day when she can fly a kite. She enjoys a blue kite flying in the blue sky, but it goes away with the high wind… ‘Windy’ by Robin Mitchell and Judith Steedman, is a story about a girl who looks for her blue kite.

A Vancouver-based artist, Robin Mitchell, and a graphic designer, Judith Steedman of Steedman Design, are the makers for the Windy Series. Besides children’s books, Steedman works on designs of exhibition catalogues and magazines. She won the prize for the Alcuin Society 2001 Book cover design Awards for THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO: THE STORY OF A PUPPET (written by Carlo Collodi, published by Simply Read Books) and the 3rd Mohauku Show by the exhibition catalog ‘Brian Jungen’ (published by the Contemporary Art Gallery). Steedman’s works convey a visual and sensuous curiosity through patterns and textures of the materials to the reader. In ‘Windy’, Mitchell and her unique world are fully and thoughtfully expressed.

Each scene made by Michel and Steedman is a combination of a background made with paper crafts and a craft doll. A scarf streaming in the wind and a blue kite wandering in the sky are made to show the feeling of a material in three-dimensions. Bright, colorful origami, Japanese paper, and fabric show these two designers’ interests in material. The reader cannot take his/her eyes off the decorations on each page while Windy looks for her kite.

Mitchell and Steedman have been making a book about Sunny, who appears in ‘Windy’. He is a good friend of Windy and loves to play music. As there is a how-to-make kite in ‘Windy’, ‘Sunny’ comes with a soundtrack CD. Local bands like ‘Piano’ and the Destroyer make music for the book. The reason why it is loved by both children and young people must be that Mitchell and Steedman’s interests are fully and directly expressed.

Besides those, Steedman publishes ‘Made magazine’ and ‘Inside Magazines’ (Gingko Press) with freelance critic / curator Patrik Andersson. Andersson, who has studied the relation between magazines and pop culture, features Vancouver’s emerging contemporary artists and established international designers in his articles. Steedman puts her efforts into cultural, elaborate magazine-making.

We give ourselves over to culture and follow seasonal or trendy things. As Mitchell and Steedman share the long-lived ‘pleasure’ with the reader through ‘Windy’, and as Steedman and Andersson make ‘Made magazines’ after analyzing pop culture, we aspire to seek hybrid ideas and designs, make sure of essentiality, and acquire originality in multicultural Vancouver.

Without forgetting to express our own nature, we’d like to enjoy life just like Windy…

Text and Photos: Aya Takada from SML-(6j6)

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