I periodically make my way to Providence, RI - it's only just over an hour from Cambridge, and it really is a special little city where (as a RISD alum) I have plentiful good memories. This past Sunday I found myself not only strolling the sidewalks of Providence on a brilliantly sunny Ocean State afternoon, but attending an event held on the RISD campus itself, in one of my all-time favorite buildings - the Edna Lawrence Nature Lab. Established in 1937 by Edna Lawrence, a RISD graduate and faculty member, the Nature Lab is housed in a studio building at 13 Waterman St., and it holds an absolute mountain of natural history treasures, many of which are available for handling and investigation, and some are even loaned out to students. From the RISD website: "Its hands-on natural history collection and studio environment offers the opportunity to examine and explore the patterns, structures and interactions of design in nature." And that it does, in spades.
This past weekend, the Nature Lab also made a perfect venue for a live animal drawing workshop organized by the New England chapter of the SCBWI. Amongst the taxidermy, skeletons, and other artifacts, RISPCA Humane Educator Laurelin Sitterly kindly coordinated the transport and set-up of 6 live companion animals for an excited group of illustrators to sketch: a dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, tortoise, and African grey parrot - all rescued critters, and all impeccably mannered. Huge thanks to children's book illustrator Christina Rodriguez (RISD '03) for arranging such a terrifc afternoon, and to RISD and the RISCPCA for their generous sponsorship of the workshop.