Today we’re visiting author and illustrator, Jessica Love! Her debut picture book, Julián is a Mermaid (Candlewick, 2018), is the story of a young boy who loves mermaids and dresses up like one. And, under the loving acceptance of his Abuela, joins others in a costumed parade. Gorgeously illustrated, the book was a 2019 recipient of the Stonewall Book Awards, sponsored by the Rainbow Round Table of the American Library Association.
My fiancé and I moved to this piece of property just as the lockdown was kicking into gear. We are both artists (Daniel is a furniture maker) and had been looking for some land with buildings we could both work on for years.
When we found this place it had an old barn for his woodshop, and a one room schoolhouse which we would convert into my studio. The schoolhouse was not insulated, had no running water or electricity and was the place of residence of three, 6 foot long black snakes.
Over the course of several months, Daniel transformed the place–he put in windows, did the electrical wiring, and even some ad-hoc plumbing so I could have a functioning sink. He built custom cabinetry, insulated the whole building, hung drywall on the ceiling and made beautiful maple plywood wall finishes, with custom paneling.
The result is that every surface in my work studio was lovingly hand-made. I get to work inside a present.
The snakes still live around the building, but we respect each other, and keep our distance. I consider them my co-workers.
Images courtesy of Jessica Love