A new year, and a new format. In 2019 I’m going to use my blog to write a monthly newsletter with a catch up on what’s happening in the studio, the garden and the kitchen, so here goes….
The exciting news for January is that I’ve been accepted by Turn the Page, a book art event and so will be in The Forum in Norwich on the 17th and 18th May with my handmade artists’ books. It’s certainly given me a boost to crack on with my ‘Tulips’ book. Inspired by the Rare Books Collection at the John Innes Centre in Norwich and the exquisite tulip illustrations that I’ve seen there this book will feature the tulips that I grow in my garden. The image is the first of my illustrations and is for the title page of the book.
I finished the illustrations and calligraphy for my ‘British Butterflies’ pop-up book – the fourth of my pop-up books – just before Christmas and sent it off to the printers at the start of the year. It’s now all cut out and I’m just waiting for a moment so that I can fold the pages and ‘engineer’ the pop-ups and make the first of the books. Inspired by the JL Moore Lepidoptera Collection at Norwich Castle Museum, the book contains this illustration of a Swallowtail Butterfly. When living in Cranworth, in Norfolk I came across a vivid green marshmallow of a caterpillar little realising at the time that it would turn into such a wonderful, rare butterfly.
January can seem a very quiet month in the garden. I’m still waiting for the snowdrops to open, although the weather’s been so mild. I’m keeping a record of what flowers are in bloom each month as I’m planning on producing a Florilegium, or collection of flower illustrations. In the meantime, these early crocuses are braving the snowflakes that fell earlier today.
I’m looking forward to a few days of sunshine when these lovely flowers will open up and provide nectar for any early bees that are about.
I’ve now added a ‘Recipes’ page on my website where there will be a quick link to all the recipes I post on my Blog. The next step will be to add all the previous recipes – I’m working on it! In the meantime, I’m typing this while two oranges are boiling away ready to make the Orange and Dark Chocolate Flapjack, the first of the recipes to make it to the new web page. In the meantime, I’ve discovered this recipes makes a wonderful pudding if served with a dollop of (half-fat) crème fraîche.
The recipe is made using a 20cm (8″) square loose-bottomed brownie tin. As readers of my former column in the Norfolk Magazine will know, I heartily dislike having to buy lots of different sized baking tins, so look out for future traybake recipes using this sized tin.
All the best until February…..