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Name: Inga Beitina
Profession: Previously worked in advertising and marketing and coordination of cultural projects.
The co-author of the art book for preschool-age children "Landscape with a little Mula".
Q: How the idea to write children book came to you? And why about art?
A: The idea came from heaven. :) It was a nice day when me and my friend Biruta were sitting in a cafe and talking. I started a conversation about children education and the materials available about educating children in art. She looked at me with a strange expression on her face and said that another friend of hers Kristine Morozova also considers the same question. In the same afternoon I met Kristine and already within a week we went to the Latvian National Museum of Art to talk about possible cooperation and wrote an application to the Riga’s City Council Culture Department to get funding. Then it was January this year, so the first half of the year we were deep inside the art issues. :)
Q: You created this book together with Kristine Morozova. Tell us about your daily routine! What was the most difficult part in the work process?
A: Yes, it is very cherrished serie of books from all of us. Our daily life is as colorful as it is presented in our own book. At the beginning of the process we were struggling and having doubts until we came up with the concept of the book as it is right now. It is important not only to introduce children with the pearls of Latvian classic art, but also of the same importance it is to provide insight into the artistic process of creating and helping to learn more about art techniques and terms. A very significant contribution to the development of this concept was given by the Art historian and co-author of the book Baiba Grinberga, as well as Reinis Petersons who created all the ilustrations. By working together, listening and respecting each other, we really felt the joy that helped as to overcome every difficulty.
Q: How long was the process-from idea to the publishing of the book?
A: Idea came up early this year, and the book came out in the late August.
Q: What was the most interesting part of creating this project?
A: It was the process itself. It is the same as with kids when they are so endorsed in their plays that nothing exists around them anymore.
Q: How did the name of the main character of the book arise?
A: The name of the main character in the book is Mula. She is six years old girl. You are welcome to Museum of the Riga’s Birza, where Mula will participate in the workshops and there you will be able to learn, why she has such a name.
Q: Images take quite an important role in this book. Tell us how did your collaboration with the artist Reinis Petersons formed?
A: When Reinis first heard about the idea he got excited and agreed immediately. Already in our first meeting we saw that he had a clear vision of how the Mula should look like. When he sent the first sketches, it was clear that we think alike. He is our creative support, who visualizes all the ideas. Also many creative tasks of the book are his ideas.
Q: Did your kids followed with interest to the process of making this book? Do they like the result?
A: They are my little sources of inspiration. They were the reason this book was created. They had an active involvement with their suggestions and sometimes even criticism. I listen to them carefully, because I keep in mind that they are our target audience.
Q: Did you read a lot in the childhood? Which was your favorite book?
A: I loved to read, but when you live in a small town, the days are so busy that I didn’t have a time to spend hours of reading every day. I had to help my mom. I was involved in various activities outside school and I had to do my home works. Reading was often my night activity my mother wasn’t too happy about. I have few books that will always have a special place in my heart- Michael Ende’s ‘Momo’ and Jean Webster's ’ Daddy-Long-Legs’.
Q: Is there any book that made real impression on you? What book is now standing on your bedside table?
A: In this moment there are at least 5 books, and there are the art albums among them. :) Recently ‘Julio Cortázar’ short-stories are my source of inspiration. From Latvian literature I loved Gundega Repse some time ago, but now I like to read works of Inga Abele.
Q: Do you think children spend too little time reading books nowadays?
A: I don’t think it depends only to them. Even if they are passive readers they will not refuse to listen to bedtime stories till the certain age. It is also the way to convey the message, that reading can be fun! The key is that adults should not whine about the fact that kid is not reading, they should show initiative themselves. For example, a rhetorical question – have you been together with your child to children's section of the library? If you are, that’s great, if not – I truly suggest that! It is the right place to catch that virus of reading. And the child has a great opportunity to choose a reading material for taking home.
Q: Do you think there is sufficient educational and easy to understand literature for children in Latvian in bookshops?
A: Yes and no. If we take a look at past 20 years, I must admit that bookstores definitely have changed for good! However, if you study deep the world of book publishing offer, then it seems that our publishers, with a few exceptions, are trying to jump after demand – for example, a stack of Winnie the Pooh and others Disney's global editions for kids- Cookbooks, coloring books etc. But the books, that offer parents and children activity methodologies, encourage exploratory and cognitive spirit, are still minority of the whole tender.
Q: Which are the favorite books of Darta and Kurts?
A: In this Autumn Darta was excited about Enid Blyton’s ‘The Mystery of the Secret Room’ and Kurt’s favorites at this moment are the book series of ‘The Wimpy Kid’. Most of all they love bedtime stories and I am trying to read them with a pleasure, because I know that it won’t be an eternal process. Then we read all the tales in a row from old book series like ‘The Worlds Folk Tales’.
Q: Where is it possible to purchase the book "Landscape with a little Mula?"
A: You can buy it in the Art Gallery ‘Room’ in Riga, in Gallery ‘Laipa’ in Valmiera and in these bookstores- ‘Jana Rozes Bookstore’, ‘Globuss’, ‘L-Book’, ‘Valters & Rapa’ – all over Latvia. It is possible to purchase it in the ‘Janis Roze’ online shop too! Buy it here! If you are interested in purchasing multiple copies at once, do not hesitate to write to me personally - email@example.com
Q: I've noticed that the little Mula’s prototype has already immortalized in the charming dolls, can they be purchased along with the book?
A: Yes, we have ordered the the first Mula dolls, at the moment they can be purchased straight from us- authors.
Q: As far as I know, together there were planned four parts of series, each devoted to a particular genre of art: ‘Landscape’, ‘Portrait’, ‘Depictions of Animal in Art’ and ‘Still life’. Are you already moving on with the next project?
A: Yes, now we have started work on a book about Animalia or Animals in Latvian art. Finally, the pig will take the place of honor! :) But if serious, than we work really hard to make other two projects- ‘Portrait’ and ‘Still life’ come to a live!
Q: I couldn’t miss that quote in your Facebook page "Spending time with children is more important than Spending money on children." I can’t disagree, although sometimes it feels like adults are buying these things more for themselves, realizing unfulfilled dreams of their childhood :) How do you choose to spend time with your family?
A: I think there is nothing bad to finally fulfill your dreams and tell your kids about them! It is like two happy gains for one price :) We love to go out together, even if it does not happen very often. Our heaven on earth is Valga, in Estonia- where John's mother`s family home is. At this moment house is not permanently inhabited and when four of us are there all alone, I feel deep harmony between us. Probably because there we can heat the bath, build the headquarters, sneak through the loft, light the fire in the garden and go pick mushrooms. I miss all that in Riga.
Q: What to you, as a woman, means time for yourself?
A: I have an old dream that I have not fulfilled yet. Go to the other side of the world by myself for some time. Then I will be able to answer this question.
Q: What do you need to be in harmony with yourself?
A: When there is a clear vision in my head and ideas of how to realize it, then there`s peace. If I don’t worry about things that I can not affect, an inner peace and joy for a successfully spent day comes as a gift. :)
Q: Do you have a feminine weakness? What is your "treat" when you are entering the store?
A: I love big things, like- massive jewelry, large dogs, huge cars and houses with large windows. And, probably, it will never change.
Q: What do you think is a must have for a woman to be called ‘beautiful’?
A: Imagine! The sun is bright. There is a holiday dining table - lace, dark blue velvet, bright red lipstick, Lana del Rey, the sound laughter, the time to listen, strong opinion, wisdom. Did you saw it? :)
Q: Song of the moment?
A: Anything from Regina Spektor!
Q: Is there anything special that you’d like to wish to your readers?
A: Have a day full of success! Because it is the one piece of this year’s puzzle!
Inga with her family
Darta & Kurts
Book's opening Event. Photos by Kristine Milere & Iveta Berzina
Co-authors of the book. From the left: Baiba Grinberga, Kristine Morozova & Inga Beitina