Badges

ba2And I said, “What have you got there, Mary?”

And Mary said, “Badges.”

badges1

badges3

badges4“I like badges,” I said.

“I know,” said Mary. “There’ll be some more soon. Then I will tell you what we will do with them.”

Hmmmm.. I thought. Mary does like a secret or two. Like the time she said she didn’t want to come for a walk to see Spring, and we all thought she was at home, reading a book, but she had gone to buy Little P a windmill, because she knew it would make him smile.

Mary went to the shops and bought Little P a windmill.

A video posted by Jackie Morris (@jackiemorrisartist) on

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Where the White Cat Walks in Sunshine.

blossom Outside, blue sky, blackthorn blossom.

The White Cat went walking. I was half way up the hill before I realised he was following. Or maybe he had crept out from the hedge where he hunted, thinking to leave the mice for later and join our adventures.

15 Up the hill he followed Ivy, where the trees reach over the green lane to make a tunnel.

14 13 violets Beneath his paws shy violets grew.

11 And on the rocks on top of the hill he sat and watched blue sky and bluer sea.

10 The tangle branched tree grew out from rocks coloured like The White Cat’s fur. Bright green leaf buds pushed out from hard bark.

9

In the shadow of the wind he sat for a while, soaking in sunshine, turning it to rainbows.

thewhitecatshead8 6 5 3 2 1Back home Glyn’s house was open for people to see how the changes were made. Phil said that the cats were constant, in and out, through windows and doors, checking on the work, on progress. Glyn would be pleased.

g The White Cat checked out the twigs that had fallen, dropped by the jackdaws still trying to nest in the chimney fawr.

chimneyfawr2 And the old pegs were there still, and the screens that divided the rooms. And new old tiles were down on the floor and Welsh slate in the kitchen.

inside The cats come and go through the open windows, leaving their footprints, hunting for mice.

bathroom chimneyfawr fireplace Now The White Cat sits in the window, where once Glyn sat. The room is lighter, brighter, cleaner. He would have loved to sit here, like this, The White Cat beside him, thinking and reading and watching the world go by. But maybe he does.

windowseat

Taken by David Wilson, who is a wonderful photographer and was a good friend to Glyn.

Taken by David Wilson, who is a wonderful photographer and was a good friend to Glyn.

Mr Glyn Griffiths- Roy Essery DPAGB -6

Taken by Roy Essery, showing Glyn’s house as it was towards the close of his life.

 

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Hats off for sunshine

“I take my hat off to you, that’s a mighty fine view.”

hatoff“Are you sure that’s your hat, Little P?”

hatoff2“Erm, no. I think it’s another panda’s hat.”

hatoff3“Well, how could that happen?”

“You know how it is with pandas. And hats. And as I said before, it is a mighty fine view.”

hatoff4And it was.

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Looking for Spring

And so it was that we went looking for Spring, me and Leopard and Little P.

violetsIt was a strange day. Warm, but the sky seemed low and heavy, pewter grey. The sea was calm as a whisper. First we found shy violets, just a few. Then more.

violets2Next we found celandine. Although it was late in the morning they were still closed, fooled by the odd light into thinking the sun was still sleeping.

celandineNext there was thrift, bright pink in a cushion of tiny thin leaves.

“Mary would like these,” said Little P.

And I said “Yes. I know  a place where the thrift is like a cushioned carpet of flowers, high on the cliff top. Shall we take Mary there to see when the sun comes out again?”

“And Leopard can come too?” asked Little P. And I said “Yes”.

thrift thrift2Before we went home we found may blossom, out so early in the middle of April.

hawthorn

gorse2And we found golden gorse.

“I know a place where the gorse is so thick it seems as if the sun has fallen to earth and the air is scented with the coconut scent of the rich gold flowers,” I said.

Little P was excited.

“Can we go there? Can we? Can Mary come too?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. “We’ll go home now, and I’ll do some work and we’ll see if Mary has finished reading her book and we’ll wait for the sunshine to come back again, and then we’ll go. We’ll find the gorse and the bluebells too and the wood sorrel that tastes like lemon leaves, and the wild garlic and blackthorn.”

Little P and the Leopard were happy. Spring had come, flown in with the swallows. Now all they wanted to do was to go home and tell Mary all about their adventure and all about what would happen next.

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What Mary Said

Mary was very excited. She gathered together All The Bears in the World to tell them the news. It seemed that Something About a Bear had been shortlisted for an award. The English Association 4-11 Picture Book Award.

“This is the book I was born in,” Mary said. “In fact, this is the book we were all born in, when she wrote us and Karin made us in her shed.”

maryb1

“She made me first,” said Mary. “To say thank you for something. That’s why I was born. As a thank you. And that’s why I feel so lovely. Because to be made for a thank you is a very fine thing. It has a lot of love in it. Then she made all of you, the Karin did, in her shed, far away in the Land of Celestine and the Hare.”

“Why?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?” “Why?”

Eight little bear voices shouted, all at once and one after the other at the same time. Little P was very quiet.

“Why, what?” said Mary.

“Why did she make us, the Karin, why?”

“Well,” said Mary, “let me show you.”

maryb2

 

“She made you because you are all in the book, because the Jackie was going on a tour of books, from Cornwall to Scotland. And I think perhaps she made you all to keep me company.”

And sure enough, there they all were, one by one, in the book, on the pages of Something About a Bear.

“And me?” said a small voice. “Why did she make me?”

“Well,” said Mary,  “let’s have a look.”

And Mary turned the pages until she found Little P. All the Bears in the Wild Wide World were quiet as they looked at the picture of Little P, curled in the arms of his wonderful mum.

maryb3

 

“I think she made you because every woman needs their own Little P,” Mary said. “And I think she made you, the Karin lady, to be a very special friend for me.”

And Mary cuddled Little P close, just as his mum had done in the painting, and Little P was again as ‘soft and small as peaches’.”

Then came a small voice, a soft growly brown voice.

“But where did I come from?” said the One Little Brown Bear.

“Well,” said Mary, “let’s have a look.”

Together they turned the pages back.

maryb4

“There I am,” said the One Little Brown Bear. “But where did I come from? The Karin Lady didn’t make me, did she?”

“No,” said Mary. “You, One Little Brown Bear, are a mystery. You are old. Perhaps you are older than the painting lady. Nobody knows how old you are, or where you came from or whose bear you were.  But everybody knows that, where ever you came from, now you are one of us. You are the One Little Brown Bear. That’s all we need to know. And we love you.”

And All the Bears in the Wild Wide World, Little P and Mary and the One Little Brown Bear, all of them, were so pleased that the book they were born in was shortlisted for the award. And so was the painting lady. For alongside their book were lots of others by authors who love to write.

image-1

(Little P particularly like Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, published by Flying Eye books. And Mary and Emily liked Smelly Louie by Catherine Rayner because Louie looked like Ivy.)

 

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Fool’s Quest

Yesterday saw the ‘cover reveal’ for Robin Hobb’s next novel to be published in August by Voyageur in the UK.

robinhobbcoverThis is the first time I have produced a cover for Robin Hobb without having read the book. Such a complex tale cannot be rushed and yet Robin’s deadline for publication loomed and the text was still being edited while I was working on the cover art, so we talked and she sent me a paragraph or two, then we talked some more and I did one rough for the main image.

hobbrough

 

piedcrow

Then later talked more both with Robin and Jane Johnson., Robin’s editor about other things that might be added, to illuminate the letter. A vial of red liquid, swirled through with silver flecks. Those who know Robin’s books well will know what the bottles contain.

unusedvial vial

 

There are more things. The hardback of Fool’s Assassin has lovely gold endpapers. This one will also have something similar, but different. The aim of Dominic at the Harper Collins design Studio is to make an object that is covetable. The finish he puts on the silvered uncoated paper is lovely.

So, I wait. Hopefully I will get a proof copy. The small amount I have read, no more than 500 words or so, had me spellbound. I suspect that once I have the whole book in my hands, for a while  little will be done in the house apart from a silent slipping between the covers and into another world, another adventure, with Fitz and with the Fool, I hope.

 

 

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Easter: Painting Hare and Her Egg

Over Easter I have been painting. And while I have been painting I have been running a time lapse film. Hoping to join it all together with music, but it’s interesting for me to watch to see how I paint. Loving watching the paint dry, the hour glass in the background, and watch out for Ivy and the occasional pause to tweet, Robin and Hannah coming and going and cups of tea.

So far I have been working on this for 2 days.

1.First day was drawing and blocking in and building the shape of hare. At first it was going to be a straight study of a hare on a gold leaf background. But it was Easter and while I was drawing her I remembered how people used to believe that hares laid eggs so I gave her a lapwing’s egg.

2.Then I went for a walk. While I was walking I decided to add a decorative band of hares riding hounds beneath her feet. My head is full with ideas now that I have finished books and have space to think. I need to get sketching.

3.So, on with the painting, moving across the marginal hares and then a dark wash over the white background and sizing on top, then gold leaf. Too tired to finish tonight as i got up early this morning. Tomorrow I will try and finish this piece. I need to sketch out some ideas, work on a card and a calendar painting. So much to do but I am enjoying the freedom of being between books.

4.Finally almost finished. I will leave it to sit for a while now and catch sight of it from the corner of my eye now and again.

The painting took about a week and 52 years. Hare sat very still while I painted her. And during the days of painting I also did an interview with a magazine, blogged, thought about things, unblocked some very blocked drains, read, slept, walked with dogs on the beach, listened to skylarks, watched martins herald the possibility of summer and blackthorn blossom begin to unfurl, cooked a supper or two, and did many other things that get in the way of working.

hare'seg

marginal4 marginal3 marginal2 marginal haredet

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Auction no 2: For Hare Preservation Trust

Still tidying my studio.

I found these.

owlandhare

 

They are proofs for the notecards produced by Frances Lincoln. You can buy the cards here: Solva Woollen Mill, along with signed copies of books, jigsaws, postcards ( there are new postcards)etc.

My plan chest draws are full enough,and so I am going to auction these, again for the Hare Preservation Trust. 

So, here’s what to do. Reserve on each image is £20. Bids to rise by £5 minimum. The auction will close when there have been no bids for 48 hours ( this isn’t eBay and the idea is to raise money for the trust not to get a bargain, so best idea is to think how much you would want to pay and stick to that. (Don’t go too high. First bid of £75 will secure the image. These are not original pieces of art) I will try to let people know when they are last in line BUT, I am very busy, so if you really really want one then it’s up to you to keep an eye on the bidding. To bid, click on the image of the piece you want and leave a comment. (you can bid on more than one piece) All comments are moderated so it will not go through automatically but I will keep an eye on it every day.

So, please share, in any way you can, by talking to people, on facebook, twitter etc. You can buy the notebooks from Solva Woollen Mill, Number Seven Dulverton, Book-ish in Crickhowell, Hedgehog Bookshop Penrith, Cover to Cover Mumbles, Seaways Fishguard and all good bookshops and Blue Ginger near Malvern…….

Good luck. You will be informed if you are the winner of the auction by email and then will be asked to make payment direct to the Trust. Bidding starts now and Mary and Little P are very pleased to display the works.

Any questions,( about this posting, rather than life in general)  problems, email me. 

No 1 Hare: Proof for notecard published by Frances Lincoln. Image size 21.8 x 15.5 cms. Each proof has writing, very small, in centre, running vertical. You don’t really see it when you first look.

hare1

 

ew

No 2 Owl:Proof for notecard published by Frances Lincoln. Image size 21.8 x 15.5 cms. Each proof has writing, very small, in centre, running vertical. You don’t really see it when you first look.

owl1

ew2

 

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Living in a Fairytale World; Mister Finch

I first found Mister Finch through facebook. Curious textile sculptures of moths and hares began to appear in my facebook feed as I was painting Song of the Golden Hare. I looked closer, found his website, was drawn back time and again,not only because of his wonderful and gentle dreaming creature that run parallel to my own dreamings but very very different, but because of the generosity of his sharing. He loves beauty, finds it and shares it.

When I saw that he was working on a book I was so pleased. His sculptures sell with a speed that makes buying them difficult. Often they are gone in minutes. I love books. I love his work. And his publisher, Glitterati, were generous enough to send me a review copy.

Even the feel of the book is wonderful. It has a satisfying weight, beautiful design. With a forward by Justine Hand the book gives a glimpse into Mister Finch’s studio,  life, work, cats. I love his vision and his making and his sharing.

mf14 mf13 mf12 mf11 mf10 mf9 mf8 mf7 mf6 DSC_0033 mf4 mf3 mf2 misterf

So, what do I love most about Mister Finch? Perhaps it is his quiet working away in his studio, like a puppet maker. Perhaps it is the stories tied tight in the minds of his sleeping creatures. Perhaps it is the way he walks towards a darker dreaming but always with beauty. Perhaps it is his ability to give away nothing about himself while sharing not only his work but the work of people who make him smile. His generosity of mind and spirit. Perhaps. Swans, hares, foxes, dreaming, moths. We have much in common and yet so different.

He brightens my days and this is a small way to say, thank you Mister Finch.

Mister Finch has work on display at The Imaginarium in York. Gorgeous hares carrying spring bulbs. And you can get  copies of his beautiful book from there also.

Of his own work Mister Finch says that he creates, “Storytelling creatures for people who are a little lost, found and forgotten…..”

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Counting Rooks: the first answer.

A few weeks ago Davina and Chris came to visit from Number Seven. I was still tangled in swans. I’m free now and treading water, in between books.

While they were here they visited my studio and took away prints for the shop. And chris hid several ‘teasing tags’ around my studio. He uses these as catalysts for stories when he works in schools.

Some have been playing in my mind, so here is his first answer.

tag

2rooks rooks

golds

 

I keep finding the tags, hanging from the ceiling, in books that I open, on the studio door, underneath boxes.

In October I will be visiting Number Seven. Perhaps I might return a tag or two……

seven 5r 4r rook2 rook1

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