Every year I produce a piece of work for an organisation in the USA, Kids Need to Read, who work to get books into the hands of children who don’t have access to them, for numerous reasons, mainly poverty.
Last year I painted The Places Reading Takes Me.
All of the pieces I have produced are available as affordable prints from USA ( they will post anywhere, so don’t hold back) This blog post has links to each print.
In the UK surveys suggest that three out of every ten children own no books. I had very few at home when I was a child but I did have a library card. Reading books changes lives. You can learn facts, empathy, escape from the day to day troubles. You can learn ideas, different ways of thinking, how to express yourself and communicate ideas. Reading is important. Reading and freedom are so joined in my life as to be two halves of the same coin.
This is why I chose to give my time to the support of Kids Need to Read.
So, this is this years piece for them. The fox on my desk, sitting so still and so steady is by Nichola Theakston. (She does beautiful hare sculptures too and her hares were used as the prizes in the Lush Award against testing on animals.)
Before I started the piece, which had haunted my imagination for a while I sketched out the idea and sent a picture of the drawing to Mister Finch himself to request his blessing. You see, it is based on, but not copied from, his beautiful curled and sleeping fox sculpture. So, I felt that I could not go ahead with the work without first asking if he was happy for me to do this. ( I am not the only person who has been suffering from plagiarism of late. Many of my friends have and Mister Finch himself has his copyists. I know that people say we should be flattered, but there are times when it is hard to be so. And also it can be irritating. Often work is copied with no reference to the originator or influence, no link, no thanks and a claim that the work is ‘original’. )
Mister Finch not only gave me permission but generously said that he was flattered to be an inspiration ( I love his generosity. He so often shares wonderful work by others, introducing beauty into the lives of many.)
The image shows a young Mister Finch. In his early life he was brought up by foxes and would often read to them by moth-light. It was during this time that he learned the shape of many things; the shape of a fox, the shape of a moth and the shape of the heart.
NB:All of my books in print are available for order from Solva Woollen Mill. Not only do they package them beautifully, but they will post from the small valley to anywhere in the world. And when you order you have a space to dedicate the book, or just have it signed.