2158 miles: bookshops, exhibitions, friends, landscape and time.

Sitting here now in my studio it’s hard to remember some of the last month. It seems like no time at all has passed, and yet I have travelled 2158 mile, and more to be back where I started. The Lost Words was published on 5th October, with a pre-launch the week before at Solva Woollen Mill.

Home now. Back in my studio. Painting. Walking the dogs in the wild wind. Settling took a short while, and I have work to do. A book cover for Janetta of Otter-Barry Books, for Can You See a Little Bear, to be rereleased next summer, a piece to write for a conference next Saturday, school days to plan for a visit to Ennerdale. After a month of not painting I did wonder if I would remember how. Fortunately I hadn’t forgotten.

This might be the longest blog post in the world. If you make it to the end leave a comment and I will at random send out cards, badges and eventually a pack of the Lost Words postcards to someone who does. I am curious to see who reads my blog. You don’t have to say much, just something. But get yourself a cup of tea before we start. It’s a long journey.

It began with the collection of a bag, from SkyRavenWolf, on a canal barge in Bradford on Avon. All the while we were driving the long road to Bradford we didn’t know if we’d be heading north afterwards to Salford, or south to Bicester and on to London. But what a beautiful bag, commissioned some time ago, made at just the right time.

We were almost at Bradford on Avon when the word came through that we were indeed to head north, to Media City, where the following day Robert Macfarlane and I would appear on Breakfast TV to talk about The Lost Words.

Neither Robert nor I have a television. I have to confess Media City is not a natural environment for either a Morris, or a Macfarlane, but the staff there were amazing, and we were made to feel comfortable and at home, and the Breakfast Show appearance was over in a flash, and only afterwards did we realise that neither he nor I had mentioned the title of the book, but, well, it didn’t seem to matter. And I had survived having makeup put on my face for the first time in my life ( and my hair straightened so that I looked less of a witch). I had asked the wonderful makeup woman if she could do anything about the bags under my eyes, but she said that she had brushes, not magic wands, and I loved her for that!

We left Salford to head to Bicester, to leave the van with Judy and make our way to London, for the Lost Words was to be launched at Foyles the following day. And it was lovely to see Judy, though Betty, her dog, seemed frail. Utterly beautiful in her old age, a life lived well, but frail. The view from our hotel room was just wonderful.

The event at Foyles was my first with Mr Macfarlane. I was nervous. Kerry Andrew, who sang the wonderful wren spell was in the audience and hearing her words on a sound system was just beautiful.

From London we went to Cheltenham Festival, from Cheltenham to Crickhowell and everywhere there were queues for book signing and stories about the book. People sent us wonderful pictures of readers of all ages with the book and we were still only a few days in to what would be a month away from home.

It was my mum’s birthday on 2nd October. We stepped outside of the whirl of bookshops on the Sunday, went to Broadway, celebrated with family. At home I found a picture of me aged 6. This was my first real meeting with books. Already I wanted to be an artist. Behind me are 2 books by Brian Wildsmith whose work I still adore.

On Sunday evening we drove to Tetbury. The Yellow Lighted Bookshop there had a window filled with my books.

The next day, in a school in Bristol I came face to face with the roots of The Lost Words. I was about to read the wren spell to a class of 32 6 year olds when the booksellers stopped me. “Ask the children if they know what a wren is, first, Jackie.” I did. Not one child knew that a wren is a bird. So they had never seen a wren, nor heard that sharp bright song. But now they know the name of it, the shape of it, so perhaps if one flits into sight they will see it, hear it, know it, now.

The evening was given over to a talk in a beautiful church, the most beautiful setting, and a patient queue of people waiting to have books signed.

From Tetbury we travelled to Bicester again, via Obsidian Fine Arts where I signed piles of books for Trisha, and Robin wandered off to London while Judy and I talked the evening away, toasted betty, who wasn’t at all well, though beautiful in the fragility of a life lived well. At the other end of life, far away in Wales, Pi was having fun with her other family,Sarah and Ben, who love her so.

On Wednesday Robin and I took the Park and Ride ( Rock and roll lifestyle!) into Oxford. And Robert and I did a talk together at the Natural History Museum, chaired by the sick man of hedgehogs, Hugh Warwick ( who despite suffering some malevolent strain of cold managed to keep us on topic). I met a bear or two and we signed under a dinosaur and then did a shameless selfie with a t-rex.

Before leaving Judy’s in Bicester I said a quiet goodbye to the beautiful Betty Blue.

Onward…..from Oxford to Birmingham, where I stayed with my cousins, Kieth and Judith and travelled back into the past, learning about all my iron working relations in the Black Country. My uncle was a giant of a man. And it seemed that only a few generations back, 3 I think, my family were illiterate. We take our literate society so much for granted these days. Great Grandfather Emmanuel Pitchford signed his wedding certificate with a cross.

My gran made chain and nails in a forge at the bottom of the garden. My uncle worked the bellows from the age of four. No childcare then. When he was younger his playpen was a barrel by the forge fire. ‘Eeked from iron and wreaked with blue and beaked with steel..’ the heron in The Lost Words. That’s me.

Birmingham Literature Festival was held in the library, an astonishing building. It was curious being there. I was born in Birmingham. All through my childhood we would return to visit family there. Familiar, and yet not so, my cousin took us on a tour of houses where I had lived as a child, where my aunt and uncle had lived. And we talked about the wild that can be found in the city, the paths along canals that my cousin walks, seeing kingfishers, and once, an otter.

On their walls they still have paintings I did when I was a child, copied from books, learning the shape of a bird.

From Birmingham via nightfall to Newport House, where we found friends by the fireside and then woke to the most enchanted and beautiful place.

Our room overlooked the garden. And in the garden there were sculptures in stone and iron and bronze and willow.

We were there so that I could give a talk about The Lost Words. And the place and the people there made it a haven of peace n a busy and frantic tour.

A few day out from this, at Tamsin and Mike’s, while a wild wind raged over the country. I did go to Hay, to Booths, to sign some books, but I also rested and read and talked with Tamsin and Mike, and slept. Tamsin had made the most sublime work for an exhibition that was themed around Alice in Wonderland.

And then we went to Compton Verney. I crept up on the exhibition slowly.

My cousins who had looked after us in Birmingham had agreed to bring mum and dad to see the exhibition. We had arranged for them to come before the show opened to the public, so they had some peaceful time just wandering the rooms.


I love how my ma and pa still walk side by side holding hands, even after all of a lifetime together.

I will do a separate blog post with images of the exhibition, and link from here when done. It’s hard to describe how it feels to see the work you’ve slaved over for so long so beautifully curated and hung and lit. Robin asked me what Mum and Dad had said about the show. But they didn’t really have the words I think. Both very quiet as they wandered around, looking.

And friends and family came to the opening, and it was so busy I only managed to get a few photos and can’t really remember it. But I love these two of Nicola Davies and the one above of me and my sister.

There’s more. So much. For now I will put up images, then later come back and add words. I’ve things to do before I go away again.






About Jackie

I am an artist and writer. I live in a small house by the sea in Wales where I write, paint, walk and watch and dream of bears and whales. I love to read, have a wish for wings and prefer the company of animals to that of humans, though at times I can be quite friendly. I am learning how to work with wood engraving tools and hoping to show that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
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116 Responses to 2158 miles: bookshops, exhibitions, friends, landscape and time.

  1. Audrey Hamilton says:

    A lovely first blog post by a lovely lady. I look forward to reading more.

    Warmest congratulations on ‘The Lost Words’ – I nagged my husband to buy it for me for my birthday and I love it!

  2. Judy Dyble says:

    I love you and your work Ms Morris xx

  3. Alison says:

    Hi Jackie! It’s great to read the blog. The Lost Words is an amazing book – I have bought several for Christmas presents. I met you briefly at the Robin Hobb signing in Bath. All of your work is beautiful, but I absolutely love your hares! I have always thought hares are magical, and your paintings make me think that others see them that way too.

  4. Mary Baker says:

    oh my Jackie what an amazing whirlwind of a month. I did blub a little when I got to you slowly approaching Compton Verney then we met your silent over shelled Mum and Dad. Hope you can enjoy home for a while. I am just home now for a while and will be slowly ‘re adjusting to a less demanding schedule. My mum is overwhelmed too by the beauty of the Lost Words and thanks you for signing it xxx

  5. Mo Crow says:

    oh that bag is a beauty, your artwork combined with Robert’s words is a treasure, this is a beautiful post thank you for sharing, it must be so good to be home after all that!

  6. Rose Edmondson says:

    Beautiful pictures and a great insight into what your life has been like over the past few weeks- and goodness me- that bag! What a beauty! Absolutely stunning! I look forward to more- thank you for taking the time to write

  7. Melissa Newman says:

    Only just discovered your work through publicity for The Lost Words. Amazing. look forward to discovering more. I stand in awe of your beautiful work,

  8. Helen Morley says:

    Great stuff. How lovely to have your parents see the exhibition!

  9. Cecilia Hewett says:

    I wished we could have come to one of your talks, but it was not to be and hearing about them and seeing the photos is the next best thing.

    I’m delighted to see that Can You See A Little Bear is to be republished! I have given it to so many children and they always love it. There are so many stories in the pictures.

  10. Elizabeth Gunby says:

    I’ve always read your blog and I always will. Really enjoyed this post xxxx

  11. Cate Simmons says:

    This is such a beautiful blog post! I’m a long-time admirer of your work, and its always lovely to read about the creative process and your inspirations….and in this case, the journeys it took you on… The photos are gorgeous……and makes me ever more eager to read Lost Words (I’ve promised myself a copy for Christmas).
    Thank you for sharing this…… I very much look forward to seeing what you create next.

  12. Sue Purkiss says:

    It sounds like a wonderful whirlwind. The gold scarf is lovely – beautifully reminiscent of the book.

  13. Rhian Wyn Harrison says:

    Wow… what a most fabulous recounting of your travels, Jackie!
    I soooo enjoyed catching up (briefly) at Compton Verney… it was a delight, couldn’t be a more perfect venue or exhibition design! I was speechless and so proud. Look forward to more anecdotes when you’ve recovered!

  14. Been lovely to see your travels and the welcome and wonderment your book has had. So happy for you but looking forward to seeing you back in your home studio again soon

  15. Janice Ellis-Brown says:

    Thank you so much for ‘The Lost Words’ it is a truly wonderful book of words and paintings………………..

  16. Lesley Heneghan says:

    I first came across your work on twitter and now follow you regularly and love looking at your beautiful art work. You are one very talented lady.

  17. Rosslynne says:

    What a whirlwind in swirling Autumn leaves with quiet fireside interludes. I heard Robert being interviewed on the radio and have seen the magazine article then picked up Metro on Monday whilst using public transport and the paper fell open at your page. My sister leafed through The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow (signed at Ty Newydd last November) which was on my sofa when she stopped by on a European tour (she has lived in the USA for may decades now), and when I mentioned the Lost Words emailed back to say she has been inspired to get nature books for two of her grandchildren who spend much of their time in the great outdoors for their next birthday. I am looking forward to visiting the exhibition at Compton Verney this Friday and am expecting my signed copy of The Lost Words any day now from Solva Mill. I am so glad that some children have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the world in which I grew up.

  18. Rosslynne says:

    p.s. Was following the piece by piece crafting of your wonderful bag on SkyRavenWolf ‘s blog, what joy for all to have the handover in person

  19. Mia Wolff says:

    The show looks as though someone with a real eye hung and arranged for the wall colors and decorations. What a difference that makes…..to be presented to the world with such care and thought. Wish I could have flitted across the Atlantic to see the paintings in their birth form.
    by the way, I prefer your witch hair

  20. Walker says:

    Didn’t get around to finishing my drink, got far too engrossed in the post.

    That really is the most beautiful bag in the world, though the charming picture of your parents holding hands is perhaps more beautiful still. Its a real pleasure to see the adventures that “The lost words” has sent you on.

    Seems like the BBC makeup lady hasn’t heard of the Harry Potter wand makeup brushes though – https://astrokentico.s3.amazonaws.com/rojakdaily/media/iylia/lifestyle/untitled-design-(11).png 😀

  21. Sergi says:

    Greetings from Spain!
    I’ve been following your blog for a
    while -almost a year!. Being myself an (student) artist, I feel so happy for you. To make a living by drawing and casting beautiful words sounds like a dream for me. I wish you luck, gentle rain and a strong wind in your sails.
    You have been a great inspiration, Jackie.

  22. Gilly Bolton says:

    Had the pleasure of meeting you and Dr M at Compton Verney.

    My family were nail makers and chain makers too.

    The Lost Words is a wonderful magical book. A source of much solace for me.

    Look forward to reading more of your blog

    Best wishes Gilly Bolton

  23. Tamsin says:

    Lovely blog. So glad you got to go to the library in Birmingham – it is an astonishing building!

  24. anne corr says:

    What a wonderful post to have a window into your experience of success! Your book ( and Mr Mcfarlanes of course) The moment I saw the first images online, I knew I had to seek it out. It is now mine and my husbands favourite to pull down and linger over. I love how your parents lost their words when they saw your exhibition. I can only imagine how proud they must feel. I am just seeing my young sons grow into their adult lives and their achievements thrill me to the core. I am now a great fan of you and Mr McFarlane – congratulations on creating a future classic. My youngest son is just embarking on his application to become a primary school teacher – a goal he has had in his sights for some time – I can see this will feature in his classes one day, inspiring curiosity and wonder in natural history and language. I am truly delighted your work is in the world!

  25. Anne Plowright says:

    Brilliant just brilliant! I enjoyed reading your blog very much. It must have been such an amazing experience, but oh so well deserved. I love the picture of Robert Macfarlane pointing like the arrow towards you, that says it all! It was very much a joint work and should be treated as such! Well, I have only got as far as looking at the odd tweet, but my mother made it onto twitter, thank you for that Jackie! Best wishes and many many Congratulations!

  26. kat scanlan says:

    My, what a beautiful journey you’ve had! I love the gold touches throughout, especially your scarf and the leaf cookies! And Tamsin’s work is exquisite for the Alice show. (Wishing I was there instead of across the pond, able to see all of this loveliness.) I hope you get good rest and love from the cats and dogs and wild land before you must leave them again. (And also get to see that choklity felty friend of yours who has been missing you and get to meet the wonderful puppy that has been added to the tribe.)

  27. Constance Furseth says:

    Wonderful! A friend’s birthday was yesterday, November 6. I gave her The Lost Words and she is completely enchanted. She and I are both artists (She’s splendid with watercolor.) and believe that this book is the perfect kind of magic.

    I am also familiar with Robert Macfarlane’s writing, which always takes me to
    deep places.

    Thanks to both of you from Portland, Oregon USA, where we need all the magic we can get.

  28. Sheryl says:

    Thank you Jackie (and Robert) for weaving your magic and casting your spells. I was lucky enough to attend events at Birmingham library & Compton Verny. Lost has now become found. I have found Compton Verney and plan to revisit the Lost Words exhibition one more time before it closes. I have found out how to draw a labyrinth, thank you Jackie. I have found gold leaf transfer and plan to guild a stone. I have never used gold leaf before, it is coming tomorrow. I have found Christmas presents in the form of the Lost Words. Family and friends will be enchanted, the magic continues … …

  29. Steve Smart says:

    Epic post Jackie! Welcome to the world of blogging!

  30. Brilliant! You must be exhausted, but what memories you are making for people.
    So glad the children know a wren now.
    Sandy in Bracknell

  31. Kate says:

    The Lost Words is a book of salvation; in a busy world it brings me peace and wonderment, and the incentive to look about me for the beauties of nature. Thank you.

  32. Hilary Hughes says:

    What a voyage of wonder and joy given and hopefully received. Now enjoy some well deserved tranquility and bask a little in the recollection of created beauty.

  33. Sarah says:

    The Lost Words is so magical, not least due to your wonderful paintings. It will be an important stepping stone for correcting the disconnect between nature & society at large.

  34. JanetD says:

    I love books. I have always loved reading. So I decided that, with a growing number of grandchildren, The Lost Words was going to be the book I share with them all over Christmas. Just what we need to pass on the magic!

  35. Janice in GA says:

    I’ve never thought of sculptures being made of stone, metal, or especially willow. But the boat-that’s-a-framework-of-a-boat and the deer were amazing.

    I love all the animals in your posts. Especially dogs. I live with two, and wouldn’t trade them for anything. We lost our very best dog to heart bfailure last January. Our two current dogs are excellent dogs, though. Just not Our Best Dog, Jasper.

    Your otter scarf in the pic with your sister (?) is stunning.

    Thank you for sharing your travels and your eye for the world and its creatures!

  36. Barbee says:

    The word is Lovely!
    (I don’t expect a card as I am in another country, and it’d be expensive. I just want you to know I’ve been here reading, and enjoying. As I frequently am.)

  37. Kathy Kenney says:

    Lost words is such a joy. Peaceful and exciting all at once. Thanks for sharing your tour with those of us who stayed home.

  38. Sylvia Coral Baldwin says:

    I treasure lost words….I have a little grandaughter 18 months old …Reading to Nel and exploring books together is just magical… She is already drawn to birdies as she calls them.

  39. Therese says:

    What an adventure!

  40. K. Scott says:

    What a wonderful post and I just wish an exhibition of your work would come to Dorset. I am giving my husband a copy of The Lost Words for his birthday (signed by you!) It’s not until mid-December and I am not sure I can wait until then to see the book… We may have to celebrate a little early.

    Thank you for your wonderful posts. I love to see your work in progress and to read about a life that’s so fully loved and lived.

  41. Dear Jackie, welcome to the world of the blog from one who has resided there for almost thirteen years now, and how I hope that you will stay too because this was wonderful to read. I managed to slip into a tiny bit of your tour and meet you and will treasure that day and your reading of Otter and Kingfisher and the signing and stamping of my books. Most of all though I will look forward to your work to come and the sharing of it here xx

    • Jackie says:

      Think I have been blogging since before blogs were called blogs. I had an online journal, with my first ever website. Been so lovely meeting you, here and in teh real live at Dulverton. x

  42. ceri says:

    Dear Jackie
    I persuaded my husband, who is recovering from a serious illness, to come to Compton Verney last weekend especially to see your exhibition. We live in London and rarely visit that part of the country. I have all of Robert’s books and know your work from the children’s books so I could just have bought The Lost Words in London — but I wanted to see the exhibition itself.
    We were both so glad we did.
    Not only is Compton Verney stunningly wonderful (even on a grey wet day) but the experience of seeing your lovely paintings so beautifully displayed, together with the Spells, was a joy which delighted us and has given me life enhancing memories all week.
    I will be giving many copies of the Book as Christmas presents this year.
    Thank you so much.

  43. Liz Charlesworth says:

    Wow Jackie what a fabulous month!!! Soo much success! Glad that I made it to Foyles and got my wonderful copies of the lost words!! Already been into school with it once!! They loved it! Bought them a signed copy too! Every school should have one!
    Hope to visit the wonderful exhibition at Compton Verne’s when I’m back from India!!! It looks an amazing place to visit too!! Love hearing about your adventures away and feeling a hiraeth when I see and read about your life at home with all your lovely animals! Best wishes Liz x

  44. Stuart Hill says:

    A Grand Tour, indeed, Jackie: geographical, cultural, spiritual…

  45. Claire Brayne says:

    That was a whirlwind! I imagine so much of it was outside your comfort zone Jackie. However, it reads as an adventure and resonated with your openness. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  46. Dixie says:

    What a wonderful tour! So great to know that your devotion for all the wild beings reached and touched so many.
    Lovely post…thank you!

  47. Anne Dunn says:

    I love all the photos and paintings you put in your blogs, they bring the words to life. But most of all, I love that beautiful bag.

  48. Dawn Will says:

    Wonderful to see how eagerly yet thoughtfully The Lost Words has been welcomed into the world. I love my copy and my family (ranging in age from 47 to 9) are marvelling at the magic within. Thank you Jackie (and Robert).

  49. Emily says:

    This is the first time I’ve read your blog, Jackie, and it was just lovely – a beautiful and personal journey. I love that all of the photos radiated joy! (If also a bit of tiredness. 🙂 ) Congratulations on the new book. And did those gold-dusted oak leaf and acorn cookies taste as good as they looked?

  50. Eliene says:

    I always enjoy your travels, whether local or afar. I was delighted to see The Lost Words for sale in a Melbourne suburban booksho[. So nice to hold…thank you.

  51. Margaret Brown says:

    Jackie you had quite a month of travel, visiting, signing, interviews and more! I love your blog, and read it way over here in Western Canada. I don’t remember now how I found you, though I know it was the old one – with your beautiful ginger cat.
    Keep writing, painting, drawing and dreaming. You are inspiring.

  52. Louise says:

    Wow. I feel tired for you just reading this! But also, filled with magic, nostalgia, ancestors, paint, words and wonder. 🙂 I’ve got my eye on a copy of Lost Words in my local bookshop (independent!). Soon I shall bring it home.

  53. Kate says:

    Wow – you got me with the photo of your ‘ma’ and ‘pa’, how wonderful to share your incredible work with them at such a beautiful exhibition. I’m about to go to a meeting with our art and English dept now clutching six copies of Lost Words to recreate a school version, inspired by you and Robert!

  54. Compostwoman says:

    I went to the pre launch at Solva and quite a few of your other events (and have the many beautiful stamps in my copy of The Lost Words to show for it) Your talk at Cheltenham was wonderful, you and Robert, together. Compton Verney had to be a highlight, though, Your paintings, so wonderfully displayed! Magical.

  55. Hello Jackie, I had a lovely cup of tea as I read your post. I read your blog because we are interested in the same things- art, nature, wildness, freedom… and you have the ability to shape words and paintings to describe how I feel about these things. You also inspire me to work harder, much harder. Thank you.

  56. Jayne says:

    Have loved following your journey Jackie. Coincidently my copies of Wild Swans and The Old Ways also share bookspace on my shelf, or should I say pride of place. Your comments about Betty warmed my heart, dear old girl. My old terrier-girl is 16 yrs now, hard of hearing and seeing, but oh so cherished. Happy you are back in your environment and breathing the magnificent Welsh air again with your beloved animals, walking and painting.

  57. Heather says:

    Jackie, I have been reading your blog for several years now but have never left a comment. I keep a shortlist of blogs that remind me there are others in the world who share my values and find important the things that I do also (like literacy, like the natural world and animals and family). And yes there are many such blogs, but I keep up with only four or five and yours is on that list. I duck in, get a dose of inspiration or reassurance or courage or whatever, then go back into my own studio where I put my head down and do my own work, or to the kitchen table to help a kid with her math, or any other perfectly ordinary undertaking. So – to you – thank you for all your effort on behalf of beleaguered libraries, fading words, dogs, cats, kids, parents, women on boats that make art out of leather, women in general, etc., etc.

  58. I read about The Lost Words on some more magical than usual part of the Internet, and that’s how I found you and this post. I can’t wait to get my hands on that book! My local bookstore didn’t seem to have it listed as even an option to be ordered, so maybe it’s not available here in the states (yet?) Your post was very moving, I can only imagine what it might be like, having created such lovely work and, as you said, to see it so lovingly hung. What a wonderful place and yes, they seem to have done an extraordinary job with it. I hope there will be more pictures to see! Thanks for sharing. I hope you will continue to!

  59. Mags Phelan Stones says:

    I visited this post in stages. So many images, such a whirl of time. The exhibition at Compton Verney looks all kinds of beautiful. Your mum and dad must have felt so proud, whether or not they had words to express it.

  60. Angela Sykes says:

    Those beautiful window displays remind me how many wonderful independent bookshops we have and how we should support and cherish them.
    This blog post felt a bit like a Jackie odyssey. From childhood to The Lost Words.
    Thanks for sharing with us. And the painting of the bird you did as a child was already so accomplished.

  61. Harriet Smithson says:

    What a month! I read to the end, I love your illustrations. I also adore Brian Wildsmiths. And Tasmin’s stained glass… we live near Ennerdale, my favourite lake, so maybe see you at your local-to-me book reading!

  62. RGS says:

    What a wonderful journay of a Blog entry that was, Jackie! I loved all the photos and the way the people you saw along the way are as important to you as talking about your beautiful book. The photo of the stag and then of the gilded shortbread: you might say two ends of the spectrum from the wild to the domestic… both magnificent. I am a huge fan of your work and Mr MAcfarlane’s so this is a book come true for me. I bought it for my daughter Isabel from Solva books and we both love it. I am determined somehow to get from London to Compton Verney to see that exhibition. Thank you for all you put in to that blog entry – a lot of personal things which are very touching. Hope Hay is good fun as you continue your travels… very best, Ruth.

  63. the selfie! the library! the willow boat! how beautiful it all is, family, dogs. the lost words is here, too; i read it aloud.

  64. Frances H-B says:

    Amazing! That is certainly some tour of the country. I was among the crowd who met you at Number Seven in Dulverton; for me a gold star day of my year, to be remembered for a very long time. Sitting by a fire, looking through the book time and time again. I adore all the small details, the words I roll across my tongue. It is indeed a book of spells, woven by two very special artists.

  65. Lizzie Scott says:

    … and it’s very very good to be a grown up learning about wrens etc too. I love keeping up with your journeying and success so thanks for your generosity on the net as otherwise I wouldn’t be able to see all the events and news. The little bookshop ‘Bookshrop’ in my town had one copy of Lost Words when I went in to order it and they nearly had to pick me up off the floor I was so happy.

  66. Nancy Tucci says:

    What a journey, Jackie! In addition to reading your blog I bought 2 copies of The Lost Words. It’s magnificent to look at and to read but the “why” motivated me to buy it. Thank you for sharing. I will share your “why” with friends, family and co workers in Connecticut, USA.

  67. Sophie says:

    I made it to the end! ‘Lost Words’ is a beautiful and inspiring book – hoping to pass it onto my children one day.

  68. Jody says:

    It just breaks my heart that the children had no knowledge of the little feathered ones. I can’t wait to have my own copy of The Lost Words…and THAT bag….swoon……

  69. Danielle says:

    What a beautiful blog post, almost as though I was on the journey with you across the country on your tour!

    Congratulations on the exhibition, looking forward to a post on that!

  70. Melody says:

    Thank you for sharing your 2000 + mile adventure, and the great photos! I always read your blog, but I seldom say anything…. I guess, because I am just a stranger, 5000 miles away, looking into your world. Please know I do love to see your world, your art, your studio and your animals…. it’s like a vacation from my “real life” ~ and since there’s pretty much no chance I’ll get back there, to see your corner of the world in person, your words and pictures allow me to be places I’d otherwise never be, or get to see. Words really are important. Books, and words and trying to understand and accept our fellow humans as they are. I think it’s great you have no television, but I am very glad you have a computer. ~ and lastly, that Bag, is… ~ WOW,…. absolutely amazing.

  71. Saskia says:

    your work is amazing, I must have seen it before as several images feel so familiar!
    I know I’ve read several books by Robert Macfarlane
    I too live in the countryside and LOVE the many (song)birds in our garden and beyond; oh my how well you have captured them, I am gushing, sorry, but that’s because your illustrations are so very beautiful and true to life
    Thank you, I’ll be sure to order this latest co-creation of the two of you

  72. Valery Benson says:

    Amazing Jackie, such an adventure. Just love the photos of your parents. I have bought a copy of The Lost Words from my local Waterstones, so beautiful – words and pictures. I look forward to going through it with my grandsons who, thankfully, do recognise a few birds, like a heron!

  73. Lee Bentley says:

    Beautiful work for the new book, I would love to visit the exhibition but too far from the wilds of Aberdeenshire where I live!

  74. Helen Frost Rich says:

    I made it to the end of the blog post! 😀 Your writing is so poetic, it was an easy read… I’m here because I people at my art group keep telling me that my art reminds them of yours, so I had to look you up. Now that I have – I wish! Such beautiful work, especially the ravens. I have a soft spot for ravens. 😀

  75. Karen says:

    Hi Jackie, I follow you and your work via your blog, facebook page and the books of your I buy. I love, love, love your paintings. They take me to places I’ve dreamed of going. :-). Thank you for sharing your self.

  76. allison, texas says:

    Your beautiful artwork allows me to leave my busy world and enter a peaceful
    magical kingdom. How truly gifted you are. Thank-you for the calendars, it gives
    us the opportunity to look into your world on a daily basis.

  77. Michael Suzanne Patterson says:

    OH WOW! Such a Busy Wonderful month, I love your blog and all and all. I’ve been with you since the beginning and and cannot put into words how much I get from yourself that you share. Thank you so much.

  78. Lisa McKay says:

    Hi Jackie~What a trip! I would sleep for at least a week!

    I just finished reading The Wild Swans-I loved it! Next-The Lost Words. I know I will thoroughly love this book as well.

    By the way, the purse is gorgeous!

    Sweet Dreams of Flying~Lisa McKay

  79. Phoebe Greathouse Greemann says:

    My husband and I planned a trip to Wales this past autumn in part to see the quiet places in your paintings. However, as our home is in Key West Florida we were pushed off course by hurricane Irma and in a rush had to cancel our holiday. We did not lose our house but my husband’s beloved sailboat was destroyed in the storm. So many did lose everything so I am not complaining but the whole region is wounded and we all seem to be walking around in a daze. I haven’t been keeping up with your blog until just now and when I saw how beautiful the exhibit was for you I just broke into tears as I see what I have missed. The loss of this trip has come rushing up on me. Hopefully someday I will get to visit your beautiful and remote part of the world. Your book is stunning.

  80. Lizzie says:

    Hello Jackie!
    Lovely post; I’m so glad your whirlwind tour has been so succesful and I’m glad you’re home again safely and back amongst family and friends, furry and not so 🙂
    I met you and Robert at Oxford Natural History Museum; I did a small stage invasion to thank you for sending me a postcard. It was a wonderful night, and I also travelled there on the oh-so-glamourous park and ride!
    I am so happy at how much I am hearing about The Lost Things. Ever since I heard you were making it, I have been eagerly awaiting it – I’m a bookseller so “being excited about books” feels rather like my raison d’etre! – but it is such a beautiful thing, you should be so proud. And I am so thrilled it is nominated for Waterstones Book of the Year!

    We are hopefully going to Compton Verney next weekend, it is my birthday treat. And even though we already have my copy of The Lost Words in the house, my daughter has asked for her own copy for Christmas. She loves it too much to share mine, apparently 🙂
    Much love

  81. Stephanie Westerhout says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable post and not a bit too long. I received my copy of The Lost Words last month and am absolutely thrilled with it. I also own the gorgeous One Cheetah, One Cherry. It was only a short time ago that I became acquainted with your work by following Robert Macfarlane’s books. It’s been a joy and a true eye-opener. Thanks so much for posting ; please continue!

  82. Marion Dunmore says:

    Oh my, oh my. It was so fine being with you with fairy tales at IBBY2017. Thank you for coming to speak to us. (You handle the podium so well.) After so many travels, I hope your home-body has found its deserved deep rest.
    Having mentioned the likeness of your process and work to that of Gerald McDermott, I wanted to send you this reminder and link
    so you will know of him.
    There is [no] wonder in the speech-less-ness of your parents as they viewed your work in the stunning exhibition you’ve shown here. Overwhelming, mystifying, satisfying, no surprise – what can a parent think? How fortunate for you to have family to share your onward life. What joy.

  83. Sally Hirst says:

    Jackie, I love your work. I also love Robert’s work. I must buy this book.
    I wish I lived in the UK so I could see the exhibition. Do a tour to Australia please!
    The bag is amazing. No TV and no makeup is also amazing, and probably freeing.
    I’m from Wales, Swansea, live in Melbourne and now can’t call anywhere truly home. It is the natural world that inspires me though, and becoming familiar with nature wherever I am gives me the sense of belonging. I am not an artist, but I do try to collect my thought by making maps.
    I read your blog posts – to the end.

  84. Lynda Megson says:

    Gosh, what a wonderful talent you have. I love to read your blog and see what beautiful images you have next created. I have found some of your work, (but not a lot unfortunately), in our public library.
    You must get rather worn out after such a time of creating and big projects with pressing time frames and then the touring as well. I hope you get a time of rest before launching into the next project.
    As an ex teacher in early childhood education I am so thankful there is high quality literature and art being brought out for children to balance the “other stuff” they get exposed to. I feel you images of beauty and inspiration from the natural world is very nourishing for children and indeed for adults too.
    Greetings from Lynda, Christchurch, N.Z.

  85. Hayley says:

    Your artwork is so extradordinarily beautiful. It looks like a real-life fairy tale that has been transplanted onto paper. I have a particular love of The Snow Leopard and all bears. I love bears. I’ve only just stumbled onto your blog because I’ve only just joined Twitter (I think I’m the last person on the planet to do so), but I will definitely be checking in more often.

  86. Sam says:

    Never commented before but have followed your work for many years. I really tried to get to Foyles but it didn’t work out – must get to Compton Verney very soon. I think this book is very important and I hope that it is widely recognised as such – I love that beautiful books can be intensely political. The blog piece was long – but I could have read more – and it told a wonderful story – congratulations.

  87. Vicky says:

    You had a busy few weeks 🙂
    We visited the exhibition at Compton Verney last Sunday. Lovely place, hadn’t been there before. One of the other visitors was quietly reading out the spells in a soft voice. Definitely the best way to appreciate them.
    Many thanks to you and Robert for a beautiful book.

  88. Rags Edward says:

    Bless you Jackie! As soon as I got my copy of The Lost Words I contacted Anna and bought another for some young friends of mine who have known me all of their little lives. I think they will adore the book!
    I’ve missed your posts while you were gone and was happy to see that you’ve returned home!

    Kindest regards,
    Rags in the USA

  89. Katie Turrell says:

    Loved listening to you both at the Natural History Museum in Oxford, was moved to tears by your championing of school librarians, persuaded my husband to come for a half term jaunt to Compton Verney and he was as blown away as I am by your beautiful work, coveted the wallpaper too! Boys loving The Lost Words at school, I’ve been a bit obsessed by the whole experience but has been lovely watching it all unfold!

  90. echdhu says:

    Long post? Yes,but so interesting,and wonderful photos. I LOVE the bag! And the stag…

  91. Mona Sisson says:

    Hi, and first of all thank you! My grandson attends Ennerdale school and was so very very pleased with his falcon sketch you kindly gave him and his Mam (Sam) Isaac insisted I googled you online to see how amazing you were and he was right ( once again ) thanks you for visiting our school and I will be reading your blogs ( no matter how long ) from now on and have a Christmas list from the boys with copies of your books a high priority for Santa to deliver your work is amazing x
    Nanna Mona x

  92. Carrie Osborne says:

    I haven’t visited blog land for a very long time but remember it used to inspire me… And I need some inspiring to come out of my very long creative hibernation! I love the way the grasses and ferns have been put on the wall behind your framed paintings… Would love to see that exhibition, will look forward to seeing some pics from it on here…
    Hope the book continues to go well opening eyes and ears to nature 🙂

  93. KimTillyer says:

    Dear Jackie, I’ve just got settled down by the fire with a mug of coffee after my day working at Sam Read’s in Grasmere and just wanted to say how special it was to meet you and Robin today. I’m going to save my words for my own waffly blog but here are some quick notes …. 1.That bag! 2. The conker! 3.I’m going on a pebble hunt tomorrow which is good because as an under-employed artist my days sometimes lack focus ( if I find it I will leave it for someone else.) 4. Compton Verney! I felt choked up at the thought of your parents getting to see that beautiful exhibition, they must be bursting with pride. 5. I hope your journey back was smooth and without parking fines. Love Kim x

  94. Such a wonderful read, Jackie. I am sat here, in bed and full of flu, with the window open I can hear the birds singing and the ducks playing on the canal, it’s the best background music while reading your blog.

  95. Karen says:

    Well I made it to the end . I always save your blog posts for a quiet time with a glass of wine. The new book is wonderful. I bought 4 copies, one for myself and 3 for presents this Christmas. I hope you’re enjoying a little peace after the travelling.

  96. Nancy Hughes says:

    It was a pleasurable ramble to the end. Wonderful trip, wonderful art, wonderful companions.

  97. So much beauty here. I can’t wait to read The Lost Words – your paintings and Robert MacFarlane’s words are some of my favourites ever, seeing them together will be something to be savoured.

  98. Joan Stone says:

    Hi Jackie, I am an artist, and occasional poet, living on a little island off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. I found your lovely paintings a few days ago on Pinterest~and have been looking at your books, beautiful watercolours, and now your blog. I share my home with my high school sweetheart and a big yellow dog–and the island with the ‘Namgis First Nation. I feel at home with your stories, the wildness, the influence of myths and legends, the gold…I am enchanted with your work and will be looking for your books as grandchildren are entering our life! Thank you much, joan

  99. I knew from FB and Twitter that you’d been busy travelling and talking, but not realised quite HOW much. Hope you have time to recover by the sea before your next trip. Excellent, by the way, to know Can You See a Little Bear? is going to be published again, as I’ll be able to buy a new one for my grandson (excepted in January) and keep mine for myself 🙂

  100. Nicola Finch says:

    Love the pic of 6 year old you Jackie. So glad that girl wanted to be an artist!! Love your work ❤️

  101. Helen says:

    Lovely to ride with you on the journey to fame, there.
    I picked up Lost Words in a book shop recently, and nearly fell over, not because its heavy, but because your paintings are so beautiful, capturing the animal and playing with the watercolour too.
    So I came out looking and find you also did the intricately gorgeous Can you see a Little Bear. Sigh.
    May you be showered with fan mail, always have a choice of commissions, and only ever have lovely people doing your press work.

  102. Barbara Hebert says:

    Greetings from the Hudson Valley. Been sort of lost lately, not really knowing what’s the matter. Then I found your website and work. Decided I was suffering from a lack of magic in my life. Have touched it at different times but find it interesting how lost I can get. Your work nourishes something I find hard to describe. Have ordered The Lost Words and Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow as winter friends. Carry on.

  103. Suzanne says:

    I stumbled across ‘Cat’, ‘snow leopard’ , ‘Dragons’ and so many other animal and mystical worlds in a wonderful bookshop in Penrith – Hedghog books. I was 49 and my neice just 5. I lie to myself that they have over this period been bought for her but in truth they have been bought for me as much as for her. They are treasured and well read, they will never be pristine suitable for collectors for they have been loved, shared, discussed and each time one of them opened something new and magical noted and found. In the beginning it was I who read to her and explained, now she is nearly 8 it is she who reads or we read together of these magical & beautiful worlds displayed on each page. My hope is that as she grows up and I grow old we remain as friends and if I am ever unable to read, then I hope that the earlier roles might be reversed. Thankyou for your beautiful books, for the stories and poetry within and for their most beautiful depiction; they have brought a lot of happy moments and memories and I feel sure they will continue to do so for many years to come.

  104. Sandra marshall says:

    Thank you so much for Lost words. We saw the exhibition at Compton Verney yesterday. I went with my husband and my oldest som, now 35. He was a nature loving boy who loved to play with words and pictures. He has a good life but has been lost latel after losing a friend to suicide. I have feared for him. He told me that he felt disconnected from nature and from his creativity. He knew he needed to find a way back. Your wonderful work has achieved that. I can’t thank you enough
    I don’t know how much your work costs, but I would love to buy your newt for him.i

    • Bernie Bell says:

      Jackie – can I hi-jack your blog to send this to Sandra’s son? I wrote this to a friend, who is an artist- writes, paints, does all sorts of creative things – who felt that her ‘light had gone out’. If not – the hi-jacking I mean – fair enough!

      Sent 2014 – coming out of deep despair:-
      “At one time, in the early days of my illness, I felt that I was lost. That I’d lost myself, and lost what I call my conscious connection with The Universe. This was absolutely horrible. I was very, very distraught about this. Crying, feeling desperate, terrible. There is a saying that Hell is simply the absence of God. You know I’m not religious, and use the word ‘God’ as a short-hand for…..The Universe, Life, God, Reiki etc. For the first time in my life, I felt the truth of this saying. I couldn’t find myself, or my connection with all that is. And this matters a great deal to me. I became less frantic about it, and it became more a dull feeling of awareness that I wasn’t as I should be, that there was something missing, that there was a lot missing! It’s a miserable way to feel, and makes life seem empty and pointless. This isn’t so, life is never empty and pointless, but that was how I saw it, at the time, because I was ill. I gradually realized, mainly after seeing a hypno-therapist, that this had changed. If I asked “Where’s Bernie ?” the answer was “Here she is!” I felt that I was ‘in myself’ again, and also felt that my concious connection had returned. Part of this change, was my actual visit to the hypno-therapist, and part of it was some breathing exercises and exercises to…………place me in myself, which she taught me. I now very much feel back ‘in myself’, and connected. Of course, we’re always connected, we all are, or we wouldn’t exist, but I have a conscious connection, I walk in Spirit, and to lose that, was very hard, indeed. Or, rather, to feel that I’d lost it. If you notice, in the ‘subject’ line for this email, I didn’t put “Being lost”, I put “Feeling lost”. when I was in a really bad state, a friend, who is a counsellor, told me that we never lose our selves, we only think that we do, when we are out of balance. She was right, it’s all still there, we just lose touch for a time, with ourselves, and with all that is. When we come out of this state of being, we can see this, but, when you’re in it, and feeling like that…………………..well, it’s like a light has gone out, your personal light has gone out, and it’s hard to see, how or when it will ‘switch on’ again. But, I’d say that it’s still there, it’s dimmed, but hasn’t gone out completely. That has passed, now. I very much feel ‘in myself’ again, and those who know me, are noticing it. A large part, due to hypno-therapy, and then also, my working at it, myself, with the ‘tools’ I was given, and those which I have myself, anyway.
      I doubt that your light has gone out, it’s just a bit muffled, at the moment.”

  105. Vikki Rose says:

    Wow what a tour! Sadly I missed you in Oxford as it was the day before we moved house & alas we were still packing. Sounds like you had a lovely time with the T-Rex & Hugh anyway. I adore the lost words, I’ve been trying to narrow it down to a favourite page but it can’t be done, they are all beautiful!

  106. patrick collier says:

    After our chance meeting, in the post office. What an excellent little read these blogs are, also fined that we both know Ben, small world..

    keep up the great work and all the success in the world

  107. Margaret Gorman says:

    That has been quite a journey! The two copies of The Lost Words bought as gifts have made it to their new homes in the US. My mom’s copy went via Israel. And my nephew’s favorite was adder. He also said it’s good the kids know the spells now. Rest, think, read & create!

  108. Ana Tetley says:

    Just gave my husband Lost Words for his 52ns birthday today. He’s currently reading Kingfisher aloud. Thank you for this beauty of a book.

  109. Catherine Jessup says:

    So pleased we made it to Compton Verney and thank you so much for being so patient with everyone, it must be very overwhelming to have everyone gathering round – and what an incredible tour (I love the bag!).
    Delighted the Stony Stratford connection is still in tact – I shall always be grateful to both for enabling me to have another of your beautiful works. I look at them every day – and go on a little journey each time.

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