Imagine The World: Hay Festival

So, imagine the world.

It seems as if the human world is in quite a mess at the moment, getting deeper in, not deeper out. And the trouble with this is that because as a species we are, or feel we are, so dominant on the planet we endanger every living thing, not just ourselves.

It seems to me the way forward is to find new ways, learn new behaviours and in order to do this we need to imagine a better, not a worse future.

This year’s Hay Festival has as its strapline Imagine the World.

It seems counter-intuitive to me that at a time when we need the dreamers, the thinkers, the ‘imaginers’ in order to find and design a way out of our predicament our government continues to underfund the arts and undermine the teaching of the arts in schools. It’s a joy to my heart that The Lost Words is finding its way into schools and doing its best, through the power of brilliant teaching, to undermine the government’s attempts to do this, inspiring children to find a voice.

So, imagine a child who loved to draw being told that she couldn’t make a living as an artist and had better just stick to it as a hobby. That child was me. This year I have been awarded the Hay Medal for Illustration, for my part in The Lost Words, written by Robert Macfarlane. Our subversive creature of a book continues to unite, to be read across generations, to heal, to be read at weddings, at funerals.

To thank Hay for this, and I hope to help to inspire a new generation of young people to have confidence in their bright minds, to aspire to work in the arts, I have agreed to set up my studio table in the new Illustration Gallery at Hay and work. I will be there most days, gilding at times, playing with ink, writing with otters, with some of the things from home around me, with sketchbooks and with stories. I’m happy to sign books, but happier to answer questions, chat, and most of all work. Obviously when I am engaged in the events on stage, I won’t be in the studio, but otherwise, appart from maybe Tues 22nd and the afternoon of Friday 25th ( on 25th I will be painting in the beautiful Booth’s Bookshop.) For those who know me from Art in Action it will be a bit like a solo version of that.

I will try not to bring the filth, and cobwebs from my studio, but may bring my da’s typewriter, brushes, polar bears and their shrine, and odd bits and pieces.

Below is the start of a trial piece. So far in otter, reading vertically it says….

Well, maybe I will let you work that one out. For ease I will put the code beneath. Think I need a bigger piece of paper!

So, come if you can. There are no tickets left now for the walk I am doing, but still tickets to see and hear me and Kerry Andrew….we hope to make some magic happen. And for those far, far away I will try to remember to tweet, but I hope I will be wrapped up in gilding. I’ve an image almost ready for gilding now. It’s huge. It began as a sketch and a search for lost wings and an owl’s foot.

It began as an image to accompany Robert Macfarlane’s Barn Owl. But then as the wrens sang sharp thorn song outside my window they crept in too. Hunted.

More balance will be added after gold leaf.

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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3 Responses to Imagine The World: Hay Festival

  1. Well done for the award! You deserve it.
    Starting to decipher the otters! Wow…a bit hard. Good challenge.

  2. Bernie Bell says:

    I am utterly shit at de-coding things – brain doesn’t work that way. N’er mind.
    I’m going to tell you a story…….
    Mike and I have just been for a holiday to the Western Isles. We had time in Stornoway, before catching the ferry on the way home, so we went to the museum. I asked could I take a picture of the Neolithic carved stone balls that they have there, and got talking with the guide. We talked about all sorts , including otters, and The Lost Words – he was…stunned, amazed, in a state of disbelief, that those words had been removed from some dictionaries. Genuinely, I could tell by the look on his face, he was aghast. He wrote down the details for your blog, and ’The Lost Words’, and said he’d follow it all up.
    For one thing – shows how people react when they hear what was happening to those words, for another thing ….isn’t it great when you come across someone who is ‘alive’ and interested. As Mike and I left, my parting shot to the man was – life is endlessly interesting, if you are interested in life. I should have got his name.
    By the by – there will be more about our holiday and a chance encounter with something to do with Mr Mac and displaced people ………….when I get to that bit of my travelog of the holiday. Mr. Mac turns up, all over the place.
    In fact, I’ll tell you another story, which is how me and The Man came to talk of otters being in The Lost Words……………..
    He told me that he’d been watching a family of otters, a mother and two cubs. They were some distance from the water-side. He had the impression that it was to be the cubs first swimming lesson. The mother took the first cub down to the water, and headed back to get the second one. On her way down to the water with Cub Two, she met Cub One , on the way back. This happened a few times, one cub successfully left by the water’s edge, goes to get the other cub, first cub not interested in the water, wants to follow mum. Then, she took a cub to the water’s edge, plonked it down, nipped its ear, and went back to get Cub Two. Cub One, stayed put this time, and her manoeuvre to get them to the water, was successful.
    I said to the man, that’s mother’s the world over – if you don’t do what’s good for you the first time, they bring in a bit of tough love!

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