Friday, 23 November 2012

A Book for Christmas

Whilst the whole world is going digital the beauty, smell, texture and sheer bookiness of books still have a role - and a place close to my heart. Books about art and illustrators are particularly appropriate for remaining in a paper-based format.
I was delighted to receive a copy of Angie Lewin's Plants and Places, "a record of past travels, places and plant studies," from Angie's sketchbooks. The book shows brilliantly how Angie takes her inspiration, draws from nature and then works up ideas for prints and textiles. More recently Angie has started working more in watercolours, the completed painting being an end in itself rather than just 'notes' for a design.
I first came across Angie's work when I saw her "The 1937 Coronation Mug" print in a magazine (Country Living I think). I was unashamedly attracted to it because of the Ravilious mug. I ordered it for Jonathan's birthday from Bircham Gallery in Holt. From then on we found out more about Angie and St Judes. A friend of ours in Norwich had been long enthusing over the St Judes Gallery, then in Aylsham - but we'd never quite got organised enough to get there. Since then we have met Angie and Simon a few times, in Itteringham and London - and very lovely they are.

Angie's book is organised by places she finds inspiration like Coast, Woodland and Hedgerow, Meadow and Garden - very much the places that inspire me too. It's nice to see an explanation of the process from drawing to printmaking - and we, at Starch Green, feel a close connection. The beauty of a wood engraving block - admittedly something we are surrounded by - is always nice to see.
One of the parts I like the best is the Bibliography showing some of the mid-century illustrated books I love and sit happily on my bookshelves. The role of lithography in children's book illustration is included in the St Bride's Library Christmas event 'Ravilious and friends in the age of lithography'.

Overall a lovely book that gives a glimpse of the 'behind the scenes' life of an artist and a rich tapestry of visual delights.