Morning, evening, walking.

Morning was walking with Hannah, The White Cat, Rosie, Ivy and π, over the hill to look at the sea. Hannah is back from the first part of her yoga teacher training course with Cam Yoga, beginning to teach as a teacher in training, before heading to Aberdeen next week to begin her degree in Marine Biology. Busy.

Meanwhile π is busy growing her ears and her tail, and The White Cat is busy making sure his eyes are a richer blue than the sky.

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Rosie is busy playing with sticks.

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Later, evening walking was just with Ivy and π and the sea was wind wrinkled.

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Ivy caught the light in her fur. π learned how to bounce.eve

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Later still the sky was fishbelly silvered. Now the stars are here.

The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow is making its way out into the world. Had the most lovely review from Love Reading today.

“Gosh, this is absolutely and completely enchanting. The moment I laid eyes on ‘The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow’ I knew I had fallen in love, I hugged the book before even opening the pages. I felt like a child again, it’s beautifully sized, it’s big, the cover stunning, it just invites you to pick it up. The story began when Jackie Morris created Christmas cards, one a year for Help Musicians UK, the words, while there all along, arrived later, in the creating of this book. The illustrations speak so eloquently and beautifully they brought a tear to my eye and goose bumps magically appeared on my arms. This is a book where you just sink into the pages, drift away on the words, and it feels like a half remembered dream. I whole heartedly recommend ‘The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow’, it would make a perfect gift (even for yourself), and is a fairy tale delight of a read.”~ Liz Robinson

How lovely.

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Working hard

Over the past few weeks I have completed the first batch of work for The Lost Words. Working with Robert MacFarlane has been a joy. His emails fall into my inbox like jewels. The last, a photograph of illegible writing in his notebook which he ‘claims’ to be the words for Lark, and if I really struggle I can almost make out a sentence. So frustrating!! And yet beautiful.

Raven flew in and demanded that all other work be pushed aside as he took over my mind and my time until the three pieces for the word were done.

And I have learned so much as the weeks have past. Things like, a kingfisher has no blue pigment in its feathers, rather the colour dances in the eye through refracted light. Adders come in different colours from gold to black. Guillemots eggs are so impervious to water because of the curious cone like structure of the cells that make the shell. I was told that acorns only grew on forty year old oaks, but I have two in the garden that are 22 and they have acorns on them now. There is a sub species of wren called the Shetland Wren.

I now have until 12th Oct to deliver the next batch, and I will be in Dulverton, Cirencester, Blue Ginger, Crickhowell and Ty Newydd in Sept, Oct ( see events page for details) so if I am quiet at times it is just because I am painting.

Publication date is 28th September 2017.

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The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow and creativity

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It took seventeen years to make The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow. The words are woven around images I painted for Help Musicians, for their Christmas cards over those years.

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The book is the first in a series of large format ‘art books’ of my work produced over thirty years of working as an artist, illustrator and writer.

The book asks almost as many questions as it answers and is worked to be a catalyst for dreaming, a book of lullabies for grown ups.

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I hope that once the book is read, the pictures as much as the words, echoes of its song will linger on in dreams. I hope that it will inspire others to find more answers to questions. And as such I wish to dare to host a small competition here. I did this once before (a contest of beauty). This time what I would like is for people to buy the Quiet Music (from a bookshop) or request a copy from their library, and write something, no more than 256 words long, or write a piece of music, or paint, or make a short film inspired by the book. These should be posted on whatever platform you use from instagram to vimeo, to youtube, whatever, with a link in a comment left below ( obviously if it’s a story you can leave the whole thing as a comment below)

The book is about light and life and love and art and music.

After 20th October I will chose a winner, and as we go along some pieces will be imbedded in this blog post with links as time allows. I am under a great deal of pressure with work at the moment, so don’t expect immediate responses, and all comments have to be approved by me, so won’t show up until that is actioned.

The prize will be a copy of the book and this one off print, which will be signed and hand embellished with gold details.

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Take some time to find a peaceful place from which to create.

Copies of the book can be found in all good indie bookshops, ordered online from Solva Woollen Mill. Soon you should also be able to order the book from the library. I will post a link to this year’s card for sale as soon as Help Musicians have it up online.

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Random prizes of badges will be handed out on a whim. The competition is open to all ages, professional and amateur, all disciplines of the arts, and friends and relations can enter.

I hope this makes some kind of sense, and look forward to seeing what ensues, so, go dance with whatever muse inspires you. Dream on.

 

And please share this post or this one about The Quiet Music, as it helps to spread the word.

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You don’t have to buy the book in order to participate, there are enough images online of these cards to draw from, but if you do please buy from your local bookshop or Solva Woollen Mill. I make my living through sales of my books and really appreciate all who buy, or take the books from libraries as this gives me the income to live from my art and create more. Your support for both libraries and indie bookshops is so important in these difficult times, and through PLR all authors receive money for books borrowed.

Thank you.

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New books in The Mill

This is just to let you know that the latest books have arrived at Solva Woollen Mill, well ahead of schedule. Rather than keep them until the book launch we have decided to release them into the wild. So, if you can come to the mill on 19th August do come. I will be celebrating the launch of One Cheetah, One Cherry, The Newborn Child and The Quiet Music. Karin Celestine will also be there, with friends.

If you can’t come you can still order signed copies from the mill, who also have my latest calendar and jigsaws, and more.

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In September I will be in Number Seven, Dulverton and also New Brewery Arts, Cirencester. Check the events page for more.

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I, π.

I, π, live by the sea. Coloured like the sunshine, golden rocks and lichen, honey, that is what I am, I, π.

I, π, was born on a farm on the side of a hill, a long way away, but now I live by the sea. This is where I walk.

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And I, π, have friends and of all of the friends that I have Ivy the teacup wolfhound is the best. And Ivy shows me how to climb rocks, how to help Hannah do yoga, and tells me jokes about seaweed.

This is my one small life, and i intend to use it well.

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White Cat, Red Cat, Big Dog, Small.

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Early morning walking, past Glyn’s where holiday residents snooze. And soon there’s a call and Elmo is coming too, and in the farm yard The White Cat waits. So we, red cat, White Cat, big dog, small, walk up the track to the top of the hill, where we find swallows that skim so low their wings almost brush my ears.

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Over by Maes y Mynydd the heather blushes the land to a rich purple.

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We sat for a while in the morning sunshine at the top of the hill and the air was full with swallows and chough, and the sun so very warm.

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The grass is long and as we walk butterflies and moths rise from our footfalls like ashes from a fire.

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On the way back the lane to Jan and John’s is filled with thistledown and goldfinch and the intricate architecture of plants.

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Home now. Dogs asleep. Cats curled in warm places, watching, dreaming. Time to work.

Yesterday Robert MacFarlane’s Raven landed on my desk. Wonderful words.

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Evening walkings.

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We walked to  the top of the hill, Ivy, π and the curious pack. The air was so clear. We talked of our dogs, now gone, for we have known each other for longer than the lifetimes of dogs. Beadie, Rassay, Skye, Bella, Floss, Weasel, Pitta. Gone now. And we have the second generation rag taggle pack of curious misfits. Fly, Woodie, Gypsey Blue, Belle, Ivy, π.

From the top of the hill it was so clear we could see Ireland, and North Wales. Meanwhile Ffion was out on the water having had a day with dolphins and Rissos dolphins. And supper was a chaotic affair as the pride joined the pack. But eventually π’s batteries ran down and quite and calm came with that, and Elmo made a nest on the Eelhound.friends2

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Next day was hard work. Trying to meet deadline and juggle posting things and, well, life. But after completing a piece of work I decided to walk the big dog, little dog to the top of the hill again.

Up the green lane, once more a tunnel where small birds tangle through trees and brambles.

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Beautiful golden light.

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At the hilltop Ivy found wild water for drinking, scents for following, and π found the same, and rocks for scrambling and I found heather-scent and peace of mind.2dogs wildpup2

And raven pellets.ravenpellet wildpup

Through the sheep field with both dogs on leads, for neither are to be trusted, then the rabbit field where Ivy ran like the wind and π tumbled through clover and long grass, and then down Jan’s green lane, home.lanehome

There were thistles and thisledown and small birds aplenty, toadflax and curiously beautiful plants.thistle toadflax greenbeauty

Home with a tired pup and frustrated hound needing a good run…… and now?

More work.

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Big dog, little dog

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I had thought to walk to the top of the hill, in the evening sunshine, still warm. And the dogs came too, and larry and Robin. The grass is so green from rainfall at night and the clover scents the air.

Ivy ran fast and π ran too, bounding through the green and full of the wonder of smells all new.bunnies

And Ivy let her sit close, just for a moment. And the sky was big and dappled with cloud.

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At the top of the hill more scents, and then…. oh no…. Ivy caught wind, of a young red fox and was off.

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Off and away and over the hill and would she come back? No. Not Ivy. I didn’t know what it was at first, but whistled and called and then heard a barking, excited, yipping. And there in the bracken the tip of Ivy’s tail and something gone to ground. Wading through the bracken I thought of the irony of snake bite as I was painting adders. And then I saw it. Almost grown, a young fox. And away they shot again, through the undergrowth, out onto the path and away and away and as fast as could be, leaving me, standing.

Robin took Larry and The π puppy home while I followed slowly on my two legs. But they were long gone and I could only hope that she would stop and come back, not get bitten by adders, not run into and through the sheep fields. I whistled and called and remembered the time she had chased deer and came back, had chased hare and come back. Get up high, to get a better view. Whistled and called. And then I heard her collar, and then I saw her, limping and walking like someone so shattered, she fell to the ground, panting, panting. Unbloodied. Good. The fox had won.

 

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I let her rest a short while then walked to the hill top to get signal, call Robin, let him know she was safe, then we walked home and Ivy so shattered she sat a few times.  Elmo met us at Glyn’s house.

Such a beautiful fox. Such a beautiful walk, apart from the worry.

I’d gone out to find something for a piece of work I am working on, for The Lost Words. I’d found something else, and an idea for a painting.

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And now I have two tired dogs, one big, one small, sleeping closer together each day. Ivy and the π.

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Words of Welcome

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This was what I saw first. Max Porter’s words of welcome. They are part of a project called #WordsofWelcome run by Reg Meuross.

It made me think.

How would I welcome someone? I hope it would be with an open heart.

As a child I was taught to fear strangers, including people from other lands. As a teenager I learned curiosity, about the lives of others.
As an adult I have learned there are no ‘others’, we are all just people, and that I have so much to learn from people from this land, from other lands, from all cultures.
And now what I fear is hatred.

What would I say? What would my words of welcome be?

I hope I would say, welcome, would you like a drink? Are you thirsty? Hungry? Can I get you something to drink, something to eat?

I hope I would not be too curious to know their story, for fear of what retelling it, reliving it, might bring back to mind. And yet I would want to hear, because I am curious.

And I hope that if they did not know English, the only verbal language I am able to speak, I could find a way to communicate through images, gestures, and maybe I could learn some of their words as they too learn mine. And maybe we could share food, and I could cook for them and they in turn could cook for me and I could learn new tastes.

And stories, always stories. For I have so much to learn.

Amir Darwish has shown me something of what Aleppo was through his poetry. His poem, Where I come from, should be heard by everyone.

And maybe one day, when there is peace, I could travel to the land where they were born, if they chose to return, and receive a welcome from them there. For as Warsan Shire says, “No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a shark”.

 

And what started with Max Porter’s words led me, via Amir Darwish to here: a place of stories. And still my words of welcome sound so frail.

This land is big enough to share, so that all people can find a place of safety.

Please share. And send out words of welcome into the world.

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An open letter to The Labour Party

Dear PLP,

I would like to register my displeasure at the way the new leadership election was first forced and then the method with which those who can vote has been decided.

The suggestion that only those who became party members before Jan 12th suggests there is fear in the ranks of the party. When I joinedthe party, 17th January, it was given to me to understand that as a party member I had the right to vote in any forthcoming elections when Jeremy Corbyn chose to stand down. I wonder at the legality of altering this contract at a later date.

Surely ALL members have the right to vote?

Also, before I registered to vote I paid £3 in order to be eligible. You see, for years I had seen the Labour party led away from the direction that sang to my heart, away from a socialist and just society. I had watched the party that I had grown up to respect drag my country into an unjust, possibly illegal war. I had seen election promises like bringing an end to factory farming, improving animal welfare fade like mist on a hot day. For years I felt disenfranchised. I could not vote Tory, nor Liberal. The Green Party had some policies that appealed but Labour had been where my heart lay, until Tony Blair led that party in a direction that was against so much I believed in.

Jeremy Corbyn gave me hope that I could be included once again in the democratic system of government by which we run our country. The first time I heard him speak it was astonishing. He spoke from the heart, not in sound bites. Now I had someone I could vote for. I think many ordinary people like me felt the same, hence the groundswell of support and people signing up to the party.

By doing what you have done to our choice of leadership you turn against us all.

I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am in how the Party have behaved. As to the accusations of bullying, it feels as if we are suffering from passive aggressive tantrums from people too juvenile to engage in debate.

You’ve let your party leader down, you’ve let your supporters down, and you have most of all let your country down at a time of chaos.

And what have you left us with?

Theresa May.

With scant respect,

Jackie Morris

jackie@jackiemorris.co.uk

www.facebook.com/TheHouseofGoldenDreams

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