What will you find at Cut + Paste Bookshelf?

  • Art lessons inspired by books written for children and teens
  • A creative way to engage students in reading
  • Lessons for your child or student to complete on their own, as a family, with friends, or as a class

Are you a teacher? Do you have a favorite book you read with your class, and would like to have an art lesson for that book? I take suggestions, and if I have enough suggestions for a particular book, I will create a lesson. This is something I do in my spare time, so I am unable to create lessons for all the amazing books out there, but I’d love to have a list of requests to work from!

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Cut + Paste Bookshelf is something I work on in my spare time, and I aim to connect with you as quickly as possible.

I’m Betsey, and I love to read and make art. I have fond memories of reading as a child – from reading “Bread and Jam for Frances” over and over, to being entertained for hours with the Babysitters Club series.

A native of the pacific northwest, I found my way to Winston-Salem, NC almost 20 years ago after graduating with a degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Western Washington University. After two years of living in the town I now call home, I started looking for a volunteer position that would allow me to use my creative writing background. A friend told me about Arts For Life, a NC nonprofit that taught art to pediatric patients at our local children’s hospital. I called the next day and quickly found myself volunteering to teach creative writing to all ages. It was the perfect collaboration of my passions – creative writing, teaching, working with children of all ages, and visual arts. I brought in children’s books and combined them with visual art lessons. As this happened, the staff discovered that I was a self-taught artist, and my time quickly switched to teaching visual arts. This was an incredible joy for me, as I loved creating art as much as I loved writing. After six months of volunteering, I was offered a part time position with Arts For Life, and from there went on to become the Program Director for the Winston-Salem chapter. In 2016, I received a special recognition for the Arts Educator Excellence Award, and that was such an honor to be celebrated alongside some incredible arts educators in our community. I recently celebrated 15 years with the organization! It’s been wonderful to work with our team as we adapted to teaching online. I encourage you to check out Arts For Life Anywhere for fun video lessons you can do with your children – they are available for everyone!

One of my favorite things on my monthly to-do list was writing curriculum. I couldn’t wait to test out different materials and enjoy the process of creating something that would bring hours of joy to children. Over the years, our team developed an extensive library of lessons and we were able to put them into a rotation, no longer needing the monthly written lessons. I would still come up with a lesson here and there, but missed that part of my job.

When we went into quarantine due to the pandemic last spring, I found myself saddened by the fact that my daughter was missing the creative part of school. She attends an art based school, so I was happy to discover that the teaching team there found a creative way for the students to complete their final project after reading Tuck Everlasting. She chose to design costumes for the characters and I was reminded of my love of combining children’s books and art lessons. Then, a friend that works at a local bookstore, Bookmarks, called me this summer and asked if I could help come up with some art projects for children’s books on their summer reading list. As we were talking through how to share the lessons it occurred to me that I could create a space for the parents and children to visit and find step by step instructions with images of the completed artwork, as well as in process work. I was so inspired by the first books she shared with me, I knew I couldn’t stop there. Then, there was the uncertainty of school in the fall and I was reminded of the creative way my daughter’s teacher engaged her class in reading and I wanted to offer a place for teachers to come for ideas that would spark a love of reading and creating. And that is how Cut + Paste Bookshelf came to life!

Who am I outside of teaching?

I am a mother to an almost eleven-year-old who also enjoys creating art and reading. Like me, she enjoys all artistic mediums and can be found making art in our home studio when she’s not outside. She is bright and energetic, gives the best hugs, loves her Doodle, Mabel, and skateboarding.

I am married to a creative partner. David attended SCAD, and after years in graphic design, is currently back in school for his MSW at UNC. He’s also an amazing woodworker that has filled our home with his craft.

I am an artist. I dabble in all mediums because each one allows me to express myself in a different way. I had my first solo show in 2019, a collection of mixed media embroidery and printmaking. You can find my artwork on my artist instagram, @betseymclawhornart.

I am a reader. I am almost always reading one book and listening to another. In 2020 I started creating watercolor book stacks of the books I read each month. It is my dream to commission book stacks and paint people’s favorite books for them.

Thank you for joining me on this creative journey! I hope you open more books and find projects that inspire the children and teens in your life.