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.