Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Book Launch -- Once Upon a Liverpool

Liverpool Town Hall played host today to the launch of a fabulous new children's book by textile artist, Maria Saunderson.

Through beautiful and colourful images, each one a photographic reproduction (by Wing at Wings Studio) of Maria's fabric collages of the major moments in the Beatles' hectic career, the book re-tells the Beatles story in a way that is both fun and interesting for children.  Each of the 12 scenes was crafted using at least 150 pieces of fabric as well as beads and sequins. The project took Maria two years to complete and was a labour of love. 

Some of Maria's beautiful art on display
at today's book launch
Managing Director of The Beatles Story, Jerry Goldman, said: “This book is beautiful. It will help parents and grandparents tell the story of the Fab Four to their children and grandchildren. It really is something for all the family and the images are something else.” 

Nothing seemed to sum up this sentiment better than than two of the guests at today's launch.  Colin Hanton attended, along with members of his family.  As the original drummer for the Quarrymen, Colin was there when musical history was made and today he was sharing his story, with the help of Maria's images, with his grand-daughter, ensuring that the story of the Beatles, and the legacy that he helped to create, was being passed on to future generations.  

The past and the future of the Beatles legacy:
Colin Hanton, with the artwork depicting the Quarrymen's
performance at St Peter's fete on July 6 1957. Beside him,
his grand-daughter proudly shows the picture of her grandad
and his mates in her signed copy of Maria's book.
The book begins, ‘Once upon a Liverpool’ and documents famous events such as when the Quarrymen played on an outdoor stage at St Peter’s church fete, the Beatles trip to Hamburg, The Sergeant Pepper album and the last performance at the Cavern. 

Heading for Hamburg!
Maria from New Brighton, said: “The Beatles’ story is epic and it’s ongoing. It was difficult to know where to start and where to end. It wasn’t until I was invited by Jerry Goldman to have a look around The Beatles Story attraction that I was able to choose specific points to focus on and most importantly where to end the book. I continuously researched it while I was stitching the illustrations, as I wanted to make sure that the details were right which on occasion has proved difficult, as facts about them seem to change on a regular basis."

“There’s one scene where the Beatles are playing on the rooftop of Apple and Ringo was wearing a red, PVC Mac. I recreated this scene for the book and noticed that the buttons on his coat were on the wrong side. After even more research, I found out that Ringo had borrowed his wife’s coat as it’d started to rain and John had borrowed Yoko Ono’s fur coat.” 

Maria also confessed that she would 'raid' her husband's wardrobe when she needed a certain button, or piece of material.  George, at Abbey Road, is wearing pieces cut from her husband's jeans!

Maria is an ardent supporter of Alder Hey Hospital.  At the official launch of the  book, at Liverpool Town Hall on July 17, Maria presented the hospital with one of her original pieces to aid in fund-raising efforts for the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital Imagine appeal. 

Presentation to Alder Hey Hospital
The appeal further benefitted from an auction held during the launch of another of her hand-stitched pieces of Beatles artwork, this one framed with a poem from the beginning of the book.  The stitched piece features John Lennon looking down on the world and was inspired by the words of Imagine; it has a little submarine, the Liver building and a peace sign. 

Jerry Goldman, Maria Saunderson, with the piece of art
auctioned in aid of the Imagine Appeal
Maria is a freelance textile artist whose work has featured in many of the leading craft magazines. This is her second book, the first ‘The Brave Little Ferryboats’ told the story of how Liverpool’s famous ferryboats the Royal Iris and the Royal Daffodil got their title Royal – it is also illustrated through the medium of fabric collage. Both books are designed to be read in schools, as part of the curriculum. 

Liverpool attraction The Beatles Story is supporting Maria in her endeavours and will be selling the book through its shop - both in the store in Liverpool’s Albert Dock and online.  

More of Maria's fabulous art on display at today's book launch
The book is available to buy, priced £5.99 from The Beatles Story shop at http://store.beatlesstory.com/ and through Maria Saunderson’s website at http://www.stitchnfriends.co.uk/beatles.htm  


  1. Wow what a lovely book and story to go with it

  2. So glad that the Book Launch was a great success - the book is an amazing work of art that should be seen and read by all! Wish I could have been across the pond to share the celebration! - Leslie Samuels Healy aka BeatleTripper

  3. I truly admire the dedication she gave in putting all this together. She is one talented lady at crafts. They are really nice to look at. An they suit the kids.