Tuesday, May 22, 2012

"Pioneers, O Pioneers!" Ethan's Graduation Gift

My husband and I spend a good deal of time thinking about what to give our son for a graduation gift. I had originally wanted to give him something for college, something like a laptop computer. My husband had bigger thoughts. He wanted to give Ethan something that would last, something that would not get used up or become outdated. I had not even considered that angle and agreed with him once he mentioned it.

We thought about many different things including a book on first aid/ outdoor medicine since we know that Ethan's future holds many adventures. His thesis panel needed suggestions, so I passed on that title.
We were still searching for something more personal, a real memento of the event. The obvious choice was the "Pioneer, O Pioneer" poem by Walt Whitman that is Ethan's favorite poem and an important part of his senior thesis. Once that was decided, I needed to figure out how to present it.I started with a simple, green background. I was inspired by this poster:

When I tried it with the poem, it did not look good. It was simply too plain. Then I tried putting an image, sort of like a watermark, behind it. That just looked cheesey, like a 1970's vintage motivational poster. Then I pulled out my favorite rust textures, some grunge overlays and frames from the ever generous Shadow House Creations. Once I came up with something that Larr and I liked, I asked for feedback from a couple of my artsy friends. Mark, the owner of Husky Signs, and Kohlton's father, printed out the image on a 20"x24" scale. Once framed, I was happy. It was a real challenge to work with so much text and have it still look good. Our hope is that Ethan will remember how much we love him, how proud we are of him and how much promise his life holds. Out hope is that this simple gift will remind him of that when he looks at it.

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