It is here! It took me so me time to complete this latest addition to my Etsy range of my handmade books, and it has been a lovely project to do. I showed some of my thinking in my last post, but now I can share some of the finished design. What was most difficult was deciding what to leave out! Having spent a lot of my time with my nose buried in a book, this was a wonderful request.
So there is a taster! I love to hear from you – are there any quotations you would like to see in a copy of this one? I can include your personal favourites if requested.
I also designed some cards as spin offs from this book and even created three designs for my products at Society6 so there are mugs and totes too!
I have another prompt from a lovely returning customer who wants a book created around the theme of a word – abibliophobia – and thus my work is cut out. The term of course, is somewhat contentious since there appears to be very little possibility of ever running out of reading material since the arrival of the brave new world of the internet. The proliferation of reading material rather creates a different anxiety in me but the world was ever thus – full of contradiction and paradox.
The content of the new book is not going to cause me a problem – I have decided to approach the subject from the point of view of stuff I want to read – a sort of prompt to readers to possibly have their curiosity piqued by an author previously unknown to them. Or just forgotten.
When I am without something new to read – and since I have avoided the public library for over a year now that is alot – I retire to my existing bookshelves . This is an occupation wherein I can lose hours – falling back into books once read and forgotten, or lured into the pages of books I remember finding captivating. Then there are the volumes that I find impossible to overlook despite having read them on numerous occasions. There is a deep satisfaction in poring over a book that continues to deliver surprises whilst remaining familiar – Sarah Bakewell’s book about Montaigne and his essays is one such treasure as are the novels of William Golding. I currently have five books on the go, all of which I have previously read, and all which continue to satisfy something in the reader.
So whilst the content is a joy – it will be choosing what to leave out rather than what to add, I have yet to decide how to present the content – how to add interest from the illustration. So thinking cap on , watch this space1 and I will update with my progress!
Here is my first page I think – I had wanted it as the cover but I think I have to make that include my customer’s prompt word – let me know any ideas you have!! I hope I have piqued your interest to go and find my handmade books in my corner at Etsy where I always welcome visitors – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modestly
It has been hard to turn away from making more card designs lately since there is little else going on! But Spring is always a Season that renews my spirit – I want to create – to bring something into the world that helps raise the spirits. I love to browse through historical artworks – it is where I find my inspiration – it came to my attention that I have some weird brain wiring that is called Aphantasia. It is an inability to conjure images – so I don’t see pictures in my head, not even of my loved ones. I think it is the drive behind me wanting to create pictures myself – and I rely on nature, and the images that have been created by others to create something new of my own. It also means I have a terrible recall so if I don’t recognise you on meeting again, please don’t be offended! My husband had to get used to the irritating fact that I find it difficult to recall those special shared moments – but he knows me well enough to know its not because the moment is not important! I live in the present – it is one of the advantages I think!
.and to mix it up I have been commissioned with some lovely work to illustrate customer’s own poetry, so that has been a delight too. A challenge too – I have to dig deep to interpret the work visually – but so far my customers have been delighted so that has been a great joy!
I hope you too are looking forward to a new season of renewed hope for the future. Let’s Spring forward together !
It is business as usual here in my little workshop at the back of my house in Nottingham – since last March I have been limited to walking the dog as my only outing, as my husband is fairly vulnerable to the dreaded virus. I have nevertheless managed to retain a degree of sanity by keeping up with my handmade products which I love to create, and which I sell on the Etsy platform. Making my handmade forges close relationships with some customers as I collaborate on work for commissions and have the pleasure of creating some wonderful unique gifts from customers poems.
If you don’t have that impulse, then there are always the books that I make as tributes to the things in life that have made my life meaningful – there are books celebrating the companionship of our canine companions, a book delighting in trees, the joy of parenthood, the curiosities of ancient manuscripts and a number of books which are literary tributes. I am including some pictures as tasters to provoke your interest! Why not pop along to my corner at Etsy for an in depth view!
and then of course I don’t want anyone to forget that I print bespoke greeting cards too, and art prints. I want you to come and bookmark me so that when you need a special gift or card, I am there to fulfil your need! Why not order your Mother’s Day card right now! I print inside the card too if you would like a special message.
In the meantime I would love you to have a browse over in the shop – all that clicking helps my algorithm! And thank you for all those supporting me in my creative endeavours – it has been a blessing to have something fun to do in these days of lockdown! Stay safe – we are surely on the way to finding some sort of normality again, just a few more short weeks and Spring to look forward to again!
Happy New Year! I haven’t shared some of my new card designs on here for some time, so here we go! This is a tiny selection – there are lots of different designs that I make to order with personalised greetings printed inside. To see the full range please come and browse https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/modestly
What a week of loveliness – I have invested some time in finally getting around to researching, designing, printing and binding my homage to John Keats. It has been a splendid time of learning and remembering – I listened to the fabulous Jacke Wilson on The History of Literature podcast to deep me in the mood of ‘negative capability’ and was pretty pleased with the end result. Thanks have to go to my lovely customer who prodded me into creating it as I had forgotten that it was on my to do list. ( To do lists live in my head and rarely see the light of day). Years ago I was in Rome with my husband, enjoying the vibe and drinking in the sights and sounds that saturate, when we came across the tiny museum that houses Keats memorabilia, and which were the rooms where he had removed himself when his tuberculosis was at a stage he understood as life threatening. He spent some happy moments there before the disease totally incapacitated him, and spent the final days and weeks with his friend and companion Joseph Severn. One of the remarkable insights you get into Keats by reading his letters is the intensity of the connections that he made – his friends were incredible at giving him care and celebrating him. Whilst I was moving from room to room in that museum, I was struck by a very powerful sense of the poet – an almost uncanny sense. I was entranced really, and extremely moved by the experience. I later wrote a poem about it, and that has made it’s way into my homage too. It can’t be called poetry in the same sense that John Keats wrote poetry – but it does record my moment of transcendent delight and sadness that day.
The facts that surround Keat’s young life are themselves a fascinating insight into a young man of genius – his early life of losing a father at 8 years old, a mother at 14 , then going on to nurse and subsequently lose his beloved brother Tom to the same disease that killed him – form a character that goes on to dedicate himself to the power of the imagination . He trained as a medical practitioner, but changed his choice of career to become a writer – although financially he was always on a back foot, having been swindled out of his inheritance (another Dickensian sub plot.
And so he goes on to write some of the most memorable lines in English poetry ever written . Thank goodness. Please check out the podcast I mentioned if you are interested – it is such easy listening. http://historyofliterature.com/208-john-keats/
I haven’t been resting on my laurels – now there’s an interesting phrase – this lockdown has put me in a creating frenzy and I have been adding new artworks to my handmade creations at Etsy and to my print on demand stores , Society6, Redbubble et al. And of course now we are all wearing face coverings it has to be derigeur to make them as creative as possible. The new fashion accessory of the decade was the result of a global pandemic – we live in interesting times. My partner and I are, like many, shielding from the possiblity of catching this deadly virus. The daily round looks a little different – click and collect shopping and socially distanced dog walking, but much of my routine is still the same. The worst aspect of the whole lockdown is not being able to mix with my sons and stepsons, and extended family – so as long as they remain safe I content myself with that thought. I cannot imagine how frightening it must be to have family affected.
But somewhere along the line, we will be accommodating living with this new peril – there really will be no alternative, so daily living will be changed forever to some degree. The more at risk will necessarily be more restricted until a vaccine comes along – let’s hope at least for a vaccine.
But to more cheery considerations, the reason I commit my time to creating art is really down to its therapeutic value. It helps me to distance myself from all the real world anxieties – global warming, social injustice, the growing disturbances in the world. And turning to making something real is truly liberating – the necessity to focus on practical considerations of making something as well as is possible results in losing a sense of self – I am lost in that feeling of ‘flow’.
So here are some pics from the last few lockdown weeks – some of the new work I am offering and some showing the processes of getting there!
I had a lovely bulk order from America of my card ‘In the Library’ – an illustration based on detail taken from a wonderful painting by Barthélémy d’ Eyck 1442 – 1445 Still life with books. I popped a little slip around them to help protect each card , (I don’t use cello).
..and I added a lovely fold out to my book at Etsy which is a tribute to an ancient manuscript The Voynich.
..and my illustrated Prufrock got some bespoke wrapping paper and a postcard sent with it!
..and this is where the magic happens! My easel is an aide- memoir – it carries messages and reminders of what I need to do next!
O.K. then…not always happy exactly, but that’s what you get when you have the temperament of Eeyore – the melancholic donkey in A.A Milnes Christopher Robin. One way to lift my spirits is to turn to my handmade endeavours – the cards, the prints and the handmade books. I have been doing this for a few years now, and the pace is probably just about right for me, I have enough orders to keep my interest, but not too many to make me anxious. The books are very time consuming as you can imagine, so if I get a spurt of orders on those then I have to extend my lead times. But so far it has worked for me. Recently my contact at a local gallery has taken my prints to display, and just before lockdown had asked me to do some cards to sell there. I generally do as I am asked, but before I could get them to him, the world had to shut down.
So I am sharing them here, in the hope that they may excite you enough to visit my store at Etsy, or if you like any of the artwork here and would like it as a print on A4 rather than printed as a card, which I have shown here, please message me! All my cards at Etsy are available here etsy.me/1PgIKTD and can also include a printed greeting inside.
This is a shout out to all my existing customers of my hand made books – thank you for your continued support over the year, and a gentle reminder to put your orders in for any you want me to make for Christmas as my order book gets a little busy and there’s only so many hours in a day and days in a week! I make all my handmade books myself so that’s why I am shouting out now!
For a reminder of the books available – and remember I collaborate too, and can personalise any of the existing titles with a dedication – please go to my book section at Etsy – My Handmade books at Etsy
If a book doesn’t appeal, how about one of my watercolour paper prints from Etsy, which are printed on a heavy watercolour paper to retain the character of the original artwork.
My dog walking is a joy these Autumn days – I took some photos a couple of days ago and turned them into digital paintings – just because I can! My artwork has had the feeling of fall for the past few weeks, but then it is probably my favourite season. I love the smells, and the colour – there is nothing to compare with a sun infused Autumn day. What I see informs what I create – here are a few Autumn creations in my sites at Society6 and Redbubble and at Etsy. I love finding the beauty in ordinary – very Zen!
Greetings card at Etsy
River Impressions Art print at all sites
Fall favour – acorn style Art Print at Society6
And a highlight for me this Autumn was being featured in a beautiful digital magazine Nurture, where I got to share how I love my creative work. You can find the link here Volume 5 Nurture & Bloom