On Display: World War II Aircraft Models

In memory of the 76th anniversary of World War II and in honor of Veteran’s Day, Livingston resident Bob Carley is displaying some of the aircraft models he has so passionately and painstakingly made over the past 50+ years, in the Livingston Library’s display case.

In his own words, “I have been building World War II airplane models since my teens. As a child I watched my father build and fly control line and remote-controlled airplane models. This started my love of building model airplanes. I always enjoyed reading about World War II and was fascinated by the fast and competitive pace of technological development needed to create the best and most advanced aircraft to gain air superiority. Some of the smartest scientists and engineers helped to make these masterpieces. Pursuit planes, bombers, dive bombers, torpedo bombers, aircraft carrier planes, trainers, seaplanes and cargo planes are just some of the aircraft designed for this war. “

Bob does intensive research including on the markings, the nose art, and history of the plane,  to make sure each plane, from both inside and outside, is as authentic as the real airplane. All of the coloration and patterns on each plane are realistic. It takes him approximately three weeks to build one plane. Bob has read countless books, watched many documentaries and movies, gone to airshows, and joined many history and modeling groups due to my passion for World War II aircraft. 

Says Bob, “ Due to necessity during the war, the creation and technology of the real aircraft was an amazing feat for this period in time for both the allies and the axis powers. My models depict a realism of aircraft in 1/48th scale. Over the years I have honed my skills to make certain that each airplane I built was true to this period in history.”

Bob’s uncle was a ball turret gunner on the B-24 Liberator. Using websites and information from the National Archives, he was able to find a lot of information about the crew, their missions, and his uncle’s capture and time as a POW. 

Adds Bob, “I made an exact replica of my uncle’s plane in his honor to showcase as part of my display. Making this model was a labor of love and it is one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy viewing my models and reading about their unique history.”

The display can be viewed during Library hours until the end of November.

-Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

On Display: Pysanky (Ukrainian Decorative Eggs)

This October the Livingston Public Library showcases the unique decorative creations of egg artist Jennifer Santa Maria.

Pysanky, also known as Ukrainian eggs, is a folk tradition that is both art and prayer. The method can be likened to batik – patterns are drawn on the egg with hot beeswax, which then protects the covered areas from the dye that is applied. By repeating this process with different colors of dye, a multi-colored pattern is built up. Finally, the wax is removed to reveal the colors that were covered up at each stage.  To create an intricately designed egg, a special writing tool draws on the egg with wax.  As the egg is dipped in various saturated dyes, the wax preserves each step.  When the wax is removed, the final design is revealed.

Jennifer’s approach to this medium is untraditional in that she explores and experiments with mathematical concepts (self similarity, tessellation, golden ratio, etc.) in her work.  Having been practicing the art for about 11 years, Jennifer says that “she enjoys the therapeutic and soulful process of creating intricate designs on eggs with melted beeswax.”  Though associated with the spring, she practices the art all year round and uses the wax from her two beehives and eggs from her own chickens. She works with untraditional dyes as well.  Whereas, most practicing artists use a limited color palette, Jennifer works with dyes ranging from lavender to seafoam green. “I use a traditional kista (the tool used to draw with wax) and an electric one for more detailed linework,” she adds.

Jennifer is a high school art teacher in Tinton Falls and has exhibited her decorative eggs in various settings such as Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton NJ.  She has been teaching pysanky classes on the East coast for several years from Vermont to Delaware in artist retreat centers, libraries, art museums, galleries and private sessions in intimate spaces, keeping this ancient art alive every spring. 

“ The finished product, with its intricate designs and symbols, does not suggest the meditative process involved” according to Jennifer. “A great deal of patience and concentration is required to complete a single egg, but it is very rewarding to reveal your hard work when the wax is taken off. Since I am not of Ukrainian heritage, use religious imagery, and deeply appreciate the traditions and culture, I refer to my work as “batik eggs” , she adds.

The display features some colorful and exquisitely designed eggs created within the past 3 years.  Speaking of the pieces on display Jennifer further  comments, “My tastes combine a few motifs and design elements from the Art Nouveau movement and Greek pottery.  Other more mathematical works in this display pay homage to MC Escher and the current visionary art movement”.   The exhibit can be viewed during Library hours till the end of October.

Archana, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian