The story of the project
Anthea’s Garden is about a little girl who has a series of dreamlike, magical adventures. She has shrunk to the size of a mouse and explores her garden where she finds a runaway pot plant, her giant cat, fairies dancing, and a parade of insects. Set in a suburban backyard in Melbourne, the story encapsulates the magic of childhood through the power of the imagination and children’s instinctive fascination with nature.
Anthea’s Garden is a tribute to Anthea McKie (1980 – 2003): a close friend and fellow creative artist. Anthea had wanted to illustrate children’s books and I had intended to ask her to illustrate the pictures for this work, when I learned of her unexpected passing. Instead, the themes explored in the musical content became a reflection of my memory of Anthea herself. Her interests, and things that she loved inspired the creation ofAnthea’s Garden.
The History of the project:
Commissioned by Carmen Chan for her Master’s recital entitled “Children’s Games”,Anthea’s Garden was originally a piece of music written for solo percussion (marimba, vibraphone and glockenspiel) and multimedia (completed May 2003). With illustrations by Kelly Hobbs, this first edition was premiered by Carmen on the 12th of June 2003. The sheet music for this 2003 edition was never published and appeared in its entirety in concert only once. As it was originally written for a Master’s recital, the music was intentionally quite technically difficult to play. Over ten years later, Carmen suggested that I arrange the piece for percussion duo to ease its level of difficulty and to make it more accessible to less advanced players. I immediately embraced this idea, however the inclusion of another player opened up a range of musical possibilities that were previously impractical. For this reason, the new percussion duo version of Anthea’s Garden, while referring closely to the 2003 edition, has been significantly rewritten.
I’ve always loved illustrated children’s books. The original Anthea’s Garden had simple black and white pencil illustrations that were projected onto a screen as the music was being performed. This intended to convey a similar construct as a children’s book, but music was used instead of words to convey the story, with much left open to the imagination. It wasn’t until I had my first child however that my love of illustrated children’s books was re-ignited, and it is perhaps because of this reclaimed love that my interest in creating a children’s book with a new edition of Anthea’s Garden came about. Anthea’s Garden began as a collaboration and I was again interested in finding out what could be achieved by sharing this project with other artists. This is where the very talented artists’ Ailsa Wild (author), Simon Howe (illustrator) and Collision Theory (percussion duo) come in.
I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such incredibly talented artists with such a diverse range of skills. The first time Ailsa worked with me she was a circus performer, just a few years on, she has authored two children’s books: The Squid the Vibrio and the Moon, and Zobi and the Zoox, appeared frequently at writers festivals and in circus shows and has recently been picked up by a publisher to write a series of fiction books. As much of this project was organised while I was living in Hong Kong, her experience, involvement and support has been invaluable in ensuring that things ran smoothly back here in Melbourne. The project has been over a year and a half in the making. I finished the new percussion duo edition of the music for Anthea’s Garden in May 2014. I returned from HK to Melbourne to record the music with Collision Theory(Arwen Johnston and Amy Valent Curlis) and I was completely blown away by how awesome the music sounded on the big resonant instruments of vibraphone, marimba and glockenspiel. Working with the musicians of Collision Theory and with sound engineer Frank Pierce was incredible, and I can’t wait to see their live performance ofAnthea’s Garden on the 31st of October & 1st of November (details for this event can be found at www.katherinerawlings.com ). The recording for the music was completed in July and the words in December of 2014. Simon our illustrator came on board in early 2015 and has been working tirelessly over the last few months to bring the visual elements for the Anthea’s Garden project to life. I think Simon’s illustrations speak for themselves. Simon has always continued to surprise and amaze me through his unique vision and the incredible quality of his work. The culmination of all these artists work has far surpassed anything I could have imagined and resulted in the production of a truly beautiful children’s book with music.
Now we need your help! The book is in the final stages of completion and we are working hard to ensure that this book will be delivered to you well in time for Christmas. We are asking you to support our project by pre-ordering the book on Pozible
so that we can cover the costs of production, printing and postage. We also need your help to spread the word. If you know anyone with kids or someone who just loves music and picture books, sharing this campaign with them will be absolutely invaluable to its success. Thank you for your support and all that you do.
The Anthea’s Garden book is for kids 3 years old and over. The music is for all ages.
How the funds will be used
Some of my other work
Much my music can be listed to for free on the homepage of my website www.katherinerawlings.com and at http://www.katherinerawlings.com/some-of-my-works/…