Every story has a story…
Tomorrow (Thursday 4th October ) sees the launch of Kate Humble’s Thinking On My Feet (Octopus Books). It’s a wonderfully thought provoking book telling the story of Kate's walking year - shining a light on the benefits of this beautifully simple and rewarding activity. The book also features Kate's interviews with others who take inspiration from walking - and I am one of them! I was interviewed for the book and created the imagery for the cover, endpapers and inside chapter dividers. My own story about this collaboration starts here.
In October ‘16 I was commissioned to create a painting for the British Airways First Magazine cover - which happened to coincide with a wonderful week of painting in Wales.
I delivered the painting to the client, everyone seemed happy and (apart from wondering if anyone in particular might see the cover and keep it!) I thought little more about it all… until one evening in September 2017 when we were in Dorset for a few days away with friends - walking in the day and cooking good food in the evening. After one late evening of playing ‘soundtracks to our lives’ we all decided on turning in - so before lights out I did the obligatory ‘email scroll’. One email message popped up from ‘Kate’ which looked intriguing, I opened it.
It read: “You have British Airways to blame for this email. I saw the cover you designed for the magazine and read that walking in the countryside is the inspiration for much of your work… walking is an intrinsic part of my life, and other people too. If you were willing I'd love to interview you about how walking and your work are linked, what you take from being out in a landscape, whether walking helps you put brush or pencil to paper in the first place”. I called the next morning, we had a chat and arranged to meet at my flat in North London.
So! Early in October last year, the front door buzzer went and I opened the door to Kate. After Poppy (my Jack Russell) barged in to show who ruled the roost before we could even say “hello”, we sat down to chat (I should say interview but it was far more relaxed).
I knew we were going to be talking about walking and how important it is for inspiration so I had a few books on the table about Folklore and ancient Britain (both subjects are huge inspirations for me). Kate was interested to know about my love of music, Northumberland and Dorset. What we talked about is in the book! (however I can say it does involve Bowie’s Heroes).
Towards the end of our meeting I mentioned my ‘Silent Voices’ etching series and screen printed leaves which captured Kate’s imagination (it’s the idea on how our thoughts are connected to our environment). The next day as a ‘thank you’ for the meeting I decided to post her a screen printed leaf which said “This Is Your Story”. This leaf message developed into discussions with the publishers on printing a special “Thinking On My Feet” leaf artwork for the book cover and creating the book’s endpapers and chapter dividers.
I thought this would be a good moment to detail the creative process in creating the art works for the book. The one thing art lovers always like hearing about at art fairs, is the process behind an art work - so here it is! This project involved leaf pressing, screen printing, high res photography, some image manipulation, and lots of enthusiasm to reach the end result.