Elizabeth_Layton project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$100 pledged of $30,000 goal
backer

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

By Judy Cross
$100 pledged of $30,000 goal
backer

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

Since Elizabeth Layton's death in 1993, her powerful message of hope and healing has faded through the passage of time. Our purpose for this funding venture is to rekindle interest in the art and life story of this remarkable woman, our grandmother.

Fearing the truth might be disconcerting for many people, Grandma Layton left many of her life stories unsaid. However, not unwritten. She left hundreds of notes, poems, short stories, journal entries, letters, and pictures to sort through and record. Our mother, Kay (Nichols) Russell, was tapped to write Grandma's biography, but she died before the actual writing commenced. However, mom spent many years researching our ancestors; she organized all of the boxes, and filled our heads and hearts with family legendry.

Through this project, we have learned so much about our Grandmother, our family, and ourselves, and are convinced this is a story that must be told. Many newspaper and magazine articles have been written about the drawings and Grandma Layton’s impact on our society. However, her art was simply the reflection of her life lived. This story, titled "Signs Along The Way", is about the life and personality of the woman who holds the looking glass.

We will explain why this book has already been printed and published, without going through the typical channels of using an agent and/or publisher. After months of research and over 30 rejection letters (e-mails), we decided to do all the work ourselves. In this day and age authors are expected to do most of the promoting, and even have to pay for their own books for book signings (at a discount, of course!). In addition, the three of us have been in the printing business most of our lives, and know how to do the prepress work.

"Signs Along the Way" is designed in the style that Elizabeth read her books, beginning at the end. We feel it prudent to include snippets of the Prologue at this point, as it explains the colorful text, special features, and the unconventional format: In order to simplify both the writing and reading of her story, we have colored all of Grandma’s words green, the color of her beautiful eyes. That way we didn’t have to keep saying ‘She said’ or ‘She thought’ or ‘She wrote’… Also, we have integrated excerpts from The Wellsville Globe’s “Convers-ation” column that was written by Grandma’s mother, May Frink Converse. These Convers-ation passages are purple. Finally, we have colored sister Carolyn Maude’s letters blue. The sisters were very close, and her correspondence gives valuable insight into Grandma Layton’s life and character. The completed manuscript contains 360 pages, 97 photographs, 13 themed drawings, 13 sketches, and a Richard Crowson editorial cartoon. Since it obviously had to be offset printed, and had so many color photographs and colored text, we felt that a typical publisher would find the printing cost too high to risk taking on unknown authors. And we couldn't bear the thought of being asked to edit out any part of Grandma Layton's story. She never sold a drawing, “I’m afraid if I put a price on them, the miracle might disappear”, she said. But she donated many of them to certain charities, benefits, and causes. After her husband Glenn's death, the collection of contour drawings was donated to the Lawrence Art Center in Kansas. Therefore, we have no inheritance to draw from, and our personal funds have been pretty much depleted by printing costs, website development and maintenance, and correspondence to and from Grandma Layton's incredible fan base. What a treasure it is to be able to read what Grandma was thinking as she went through her amazing life. Not everyone is privy to that. And she wanted to share it. She wrote her words, and drew her pictures, for all of us to see, and Carla, Kathy, and Judy feel compelled to share her story.

"Signs Along The Way" was a true labor of love for us. With your help, we will be stronger advocates for Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton and her message by promoting her biography/memoir, assisting Don Lambert with reviving tours of her artwork, and sharing her other works that encompass her powerful legacy.

Other Works by Elizabeth

Her story became her art - her art became her story.

Desperate to fend off the recurring depression, Elizabeth spent most of her fifties and early sixties writing short stories and poems, often illustrated with pen or pencil sketches. Due to the mountains of papers she left behind, we estimate she must have spent hours each day writing, rewriting, and sketching. However, no matter how many stories, sketches, greeting card ideas, and poems Elizabeth sent to magazines and other publishers, people were still not listening. Hundreds of rejection slips followed her submissions. Ironically, many of these story themes and early sketches would appear years later in the drawings that changed her world.

Several of these stories and sketches have been included in "Signs Along the Way", along with one of Elizabeth's profound poems titled, "Transverse Shadows", where she describes her experiences with electroshock treatments (not an easy read). Following are some of her other works:

Postpartum Lullaby

A poem and drawing by Elizabeth Layton. A powerful piece, this poem expresses the grief and hopes of motherhood, describing events and mothers both unsung and renowned. Elizabeth began this poem in the 1950's and continued to revise and expand it for twenty-five years.

My Foal's Tale

A baby book for horses! Sometime in the spring of 1990, Carla and her daughter Shannon were looking at her brother's baby book when Shannon said, "Why don't we make a baby book for horses?" We did! When we asked Grandma Layton if she would illustrate it for us, she gave this response... "Dear Carla, Good to hear from you - my you are all busy! Yes, I would like to try that. But first off, why don't you do it yourself? Your horses are super. Mine look like dogs or cats or hippopotamuses."

Long-legged, lovely innocence - Grandma Layton has captured the very essence of foalhood in these delightful drawings. Shannon recently worked her digital magic and added color, the booklet is playfully beautiful, whether you are horse crazy or not! 

DIGITAL REPRODUCTION OF DRAWINGS

Because Elizabeth's drawings are composed of poster board and colored pencils, several tours of the art have been discontinued, as continual exposure to the elements - particularly light - is harmful to works on paper. Copies of the original drawings will keep the originals safe from the rigors of travel and possible theft. We intend to make digital, full-sized copies of at least seven original drawings, reproducing more as funds allow.

 The $10,000 Reward:

 A set of 2 framed and matted original "Grandma" Layton Drawings titled "Grandpa and Grandma All Dressed up for CHAUTAUQUA Days"

Creative Team

Two star additions to our creative team are Shannon Snyder (great-granddaughter, daughter, and niece), and Don Lambert, journalist and Grandma Layton “discoverer”. Shannon works with Carla and Judy at a large screen printing/digital/offset factory as the LEAN facilitator. She has the organizing and team building skills that keep us focused and moving forward with this project. And so much creativity! Of course, without Don, Grandma Layton’s drawings would have remained hidden under her bed. From “Signs Along the Way”: “I remember staring at the big green eyes in the drawing. I could not leave them. I laughed, I cried. The humorous, yet painful, figures in the drawings kept staring back at me. I knew then I’d do something more with these drawings than my typical story.”

Shannon has designed a website, www.elizabethlayton.com, to keep Grandma Layton’s art and story circulating, along with a Facebook page, @Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton. Don Lambert relentlessly promotes Grandma’s message of hope and mental wellness through lectures, tours of her drawings, broadcasts, and other art events.

 

Risks and challenges

The three of us have been involved in Marketing, Advertising, Graphics, and Publishing for our entire adult lives, therefore, this minimizes the risk associated with our project. Grandma paved the way for us and this is us continuing on that road.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Make a pledge without a reward

    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    My Foal's Tale

    My Foal's Tale is an enchanting baby book for horses! Delightfully illustrated by Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton, with 26 pages for record keeping, photos, notes, and more! Paperback.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (200 left of 200) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Signs Along the Way Book

    Acclaimed Kansas artist Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton cured her thirty-plus years of bipolar disease and manic depression by picking up a colored pencil and drawing herself well. This biography is her story BEFORE the art. This is her only authorized biography, written by Elizabeth and her granddaughters.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited (1200 left of 1200) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    "Signs" Book + Contour Drawing Kit

    Signs Along the Way book and a Contour Drawing Kit which includes Colored Pencils, Sketch Pad, and instructions written and illustrated by Elizabeth Layton.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (200 left of 200) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    2 "Signs" & 1 "My Foal's Tale" books

    1 "Signs Along the Way" book shipped to you. 1 "Signs Along the Way" book will be donated to the Library or School of your choice. 1 "My Foal's Tale" book will be sent to you.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (200 left of 200) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Signs, My Foals Tale books & Notecards

    "Signs" Book + and Assorted Grandma Layton Notecards of Layton Drawings + 1 "My Foal's Tale" book.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (19 left of 19) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Signs & Through the Looking Glass books

    "Signs Along the Way" book and "Through the Looking Glass" paperback book written by Don Lambert, showcasing 31 drawings by Elizabeth. These drawings toured in the 1980's, when Elizabeth's message was beginning to resonate nationwide.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (6 left of 6) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    "Signs" book + Print of Layton Drawing

    "Signs Along the Way" book + a print of an original Elizabeth Layton Drawing. Drawings selected at the discretion of the authors. Selections include "Thanksgiving", "To Our Children With Love" (Print is of a Smithsonian Tour Poster), "Buttons", "Forget Me Nots" and others.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (22 left of 22) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Layton Book Set

    2 - "Signs Along the Way", 1-"My Foal's Tale", and 1-"Through the Looking Glass".

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (6 left of 6) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    2 "Signs" books, 1 "Postpartum Lullaby"

    2 "Signs Along the Way" Books and 1 "Postpartum Lullaby" book. The "Postpartum Lullaby" book is a poem and drawing by Elizabeth Layton. It is hand pressed and hand sewn by Bradypress of Omaha, Nebraska.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (2 left of 2) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Set of Original Grandma Layton Drawings

    A set of 2 framed and matted original Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton Drawings titled "Grandpa and Grandma All Dressed up for CHAUTAUQUA Days".

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited (1 left of 1) 0 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.