I am dreaming in ink and wishing to write in otters.
But I have made promises, so other work needs doing before I can play. This week I have been working on a Christmas card design for Suffolk Wildlife Trust. This will be the third card I have designed for them.
The Trust ran a campaign to buy copies of The Lost Words for schools in Suffolk very recently. Robert and I supported this by making a unique piece of work, based around the barn owl. Robert wrote the words ( to be spoken aloud, but in a quite voice), I painted a hunting owl. A copy of this will be pasted onto the front endpapers of every book given to Suffolk schools by the Trust. I also painted a feather, and gave them the artwork to offer as a ‘prize’ so that all who gave money would be in with a chance of winning the feather, and the Trust turned this into a bookmark to be given to every Primary School child in Suffolk.
How wonderful. What could possibly be more magical? How about delivering the first book, to Woodbridge Primary School, with owls?
So, a Christmas card.
First, a sketch. And I wonder, do two goldfinches count as a charm?
Teasels in my studio, and outside, amazingly ( as I do not often have them here) a small charm chattering and chasing each other, wild through the blackthorn hedge. It’s holding its buds tight against the cold, but soon will blossom and hum with bees.
Almost finished. Will try not to overpaint it.
Suffolk exceeded their target, which is wonderful. Robert tweeted a wonderful thanks to all the crowdfunders on International Children’s Book Day.
It’s quite a story, the life of our book so far. Soon there will be an outdoor theatre performance at The Timber Festival.
And soon we have other news to share as the book seeds itself into other artistic disciplines. It has a wild life of its own.
But meanwhile, crowdfunders. Robert and I have been trying to help the brave people who have set them up. There’s a Lost Words for Schools website that shows what is where ( thank you Hereward) set up by Hereward from Yellow Lighted Bookshop, who also exceeded his target for the Lost Words for Gloucestershire campaign. ( Love this bookshop. Always has a treasure waiting, and no, Hereward, I’m not talking about you!)
With so many now it’s hard to know how to help, but if you can, take a look at the sites, help spread the word.
Hereward had asked if he might be able to get a stamp made so he could make the parcels going to schools look more magical. As I was getting one made I thought I might as well make more, so I did. And the stamps I have done are made by the English Stamp Company in Dorset. At the moment you can’t buy stamps designed by me, BUT, I thought, to help campaigns along I would offer prints from the stamps. £30 will put 3 books into 3 schools. So, if you would like one of these 3, printed onto watercolour paper, then email me, with “Otter” ( Maybe say which of the two: facing right, facing left) or ‘Finch” or “Fox” as subject title, with your address and donate £30 to the Lost Words for Lambeth and Wandsworth School Campaigns.
I think they are about 10cms. Fox is a bit smaller.
And, I have the gold soul of the two finches. This is on 9 sheets of thin paper, gold leaf remnants. I’m still trying to work out if I can stitch them together, but they are offered for sale, as they are, unstitched. A curious thing. These odd pieces always look lovely framed.
Each square of gold is 8cms. For sale at £200. (SOLD) This is a one off piece…..the stamps I can just keep stamping….
Thank you again to all those who have contributed to all the funders so far, and those wonderful people who have given their time so freely to start these things.
There’s another crowdfunder in Kenilworth and Warwickshire where we have donated a small original with letterpress, which, if the crowdfunder is successful and achieves its target, will be a prize for someone who has donated towards the funder.
I hope all of this makes sense. I feel I need to go and sit in a stream or listen to the wonderful larks at St Davids Airfield. There is an exultation of them there now. And yesterday I saw swallows. And there is a snowy owl on St Davids Head.
I have a slightly larger tumbling otter at £200
and I have new gold, ink sticks that weigh heavy and come with warnings about keeping away from nose, but they smell gorgeous, and..
I love the instructions. Part of the process of making these inked otters is the time spent creating the ink, from walking to grinding with river water. I need to go to a place where barn owls hunt and harvest some water and see what this gold ink is like. And find that silence that crouches to ground, and listen, for a while, with owl ears.