Tuesday, 2 February 2016
OVER THE YEARS OF BEING AN ARTIST, I have come to think of and describe my paintings as Waymarkers to the Otherworlds, as gateways, portals, signposts to take you through to those Other places, those worlds just beyond this one: behind, or beside or underneath our every day. There are many ways through, of course, and many different destinations, too, which all depend on the traveller and their particular way of reading the sign.
As the signmaker, I don't usually have any idea (or control over) where my paintings take people, or what happens when they get there. But four years ago, one traveller to these otherworlds followed my painted signposts and came back with her story.
Sylvia Linsteadt, as many of you know, is a writer of great talent, who has an incredible ability to conjure the beautiful and uncanny and barely-seen wild worlds which shiver at the periphery of our perception. Four years ago she began writing the stories of the worlds my paintings took her to, and when she sent them to me, I was blown away. Her work is lyrical and profound, folkloric and unique, and for me, these stories were so moving to read - so familiar and yet so new. We knew we had to make a book.
These past years have seen these stories grow and enmesh and they have become what we are calling a post-apocalyptic mosaic folktale. A back-to front book which began with the illustrations, a tale of wheeled and raggedy folk, of edge-dwellers and shape-shifters, itinerants and wild ones, and their imagined futures in a world after the breaking we are currently living through.
A perfect meeting of arts and souls, and a book born of it on this day of new beginnings. Sylvia and I met at last in the flesh last October; she came from her native Northern California (where the book is set), to visit us and stomp the tors and woods and Dartmoor's bronze age relics with us, to share our hearth and breathe these winds for a while. It was a wonderful meeting, which seemed to have happened long ago already.
And while she was here, our book was taken up by a publisher. Unbound is a publisher very suited to this tale: it is liminal and powered by its readers, it is back to front and supportive of the unusual. Which means that this book cannot be without you! To preorder your copy and find your way to this utterly wonderful, strange and necessary Otherworld - bejewelled and ragged, rooted and sung - click on the image below!
Bring Tatterdemalion into the world!