The Night Before Christmas
by Clement C. Moore, illustrated by R J Watson
This revved-up version of the classic poem follows St. Nick on his much anticipated journey around the Big Blue Marble and ends with an exclusive interview with the jolly-maker, himself. Watson's cast of elves, along with the ultimate aviator, flying his unique high-and-low-tech sleigh, make this New York Times bestseller a favorite holiday read.
This book was set in Port Townsend, where Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and team flew over every rooftop. St. Nick did a fly-by of our 125 year-old courthouse, syncing his watch with the time on the clocktower.
Artist friends and family posed as elves, each wearing turned up shoes, inspired by Bulgarian hopanci dance shoes.
The Port Townsend Aero Museum loaned vintage goggles and flight cap for this project. Feeding my fantasies.
I used my father as inspiration, since he was also an aviator and built experimental airplanes in the 1920s. Using bailing wire and Harley Davidson motorcycle engines and hand-carving the propellers, Dad would test-fly the contraptions himself.
My father had thirteen crash landings. After his last crash my mother informed him it was either planes or her.
As you can see my first interview with Santa made me pretty nervous, but it inspired me to make my own rocket control panel on a black board. I loved drawing dials, gages and things that a pilot might need.
St. Nick's cockpit is equipped with an espresso maker to aid in his epic globe trot, along with Mrs. Claus' honey-do shopping list. Read more about the technology in the Q & A at the end of the book.
My extraordinary editor, Maria Modugno.
Artist and family friend, Maitland Hardyman, modeled as St. Nick. His dog, Alfred, also made his modeling debut in this book.
Polaris was the model I made to boost the project into reality. It was crafted with papier mache and found-objects.