Enter a mystical world somewhere between myth and reality ...
Jackie Morris has been illustrating and writing books for so long that some of her early audience seems to have grown up and now she has brought out a book for them.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon, based on a traditional story from the magical north lands is brought to life in a new telling that places it somewhere between myth and reality.
People are invited to hear more about how the story was made, and illustrated as Jackie read from this book at Frome's Rook Lane Chapel tonight.
Your Time spoke to Jackie to find out more:
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Your Time: Can you tell us when you first noticed you had a talent for art?
Jackie: I have always loved to make marks on things (not always paper). As for having a talent, I was praised from an early age, which was nice, but I think I was just someone who liked to draw so I carried on doing it.
I have worked hard at it for 50 years now and beginning to get the hang of it.
Did you enjoy art at school and did you take your artistic talents to further education?
No, I didn't enjoy art either at school or during further education.
College wasn't what I expected it to be, hoped it would be, and as for school, when people would say school days are the best days of your life my heart would crack a bit.
Not my favourite place to be.
The natural world features heavily in your work. What and who inspires you?
In all the work that I do I am trying to find something, answer questions.
I suppose you could say it is curiosity that inspires me.
Who are your favourite artists?
The colour of Marc Chagall, the curiosity and playfulness of Picasso, beauty of Fra Angelico, the design, domesticity of Mary Fedden, design, colour, domesticity and cats of Elizabeth Blackadder, line and wit of Chris Riddel, the skill of Claire Leighton, the soul of Innuit carving, genius of Shaun Tan ... I really could go on.
Your work has a very mystical quality. Does literature/film also inspire you?
Yes, I love stories, I love ways of telling them.
I love a sense of magic, myth and the power of a really great story.
I love the way they can last for thousands of years and still speak in voices we can understand.
How would you describe your style?
I have no style. I blunder through trying to make a painting in the best way I can with the little skill that I have and sometimes something comes out that is ok.
People think I am joking when I say this, but I can see the pictures that are inside my head and what comes out bears (bares) little resemblance to what was imagined.
How did you get into illustrating/painting for books?
By accident rather than design.
My first commission came after doing a series of greetings cards.
That was Jo's Storm by Caroline Pitcher. I have done quite a few books since then and am beginning to get the hang of it.
During the creative process, as both a writer and illustrator, which comes first the story/backstory or the visual or a combination of both?
Sometimes one, sometimes the other.
With the book I am working on now it was the words and one of the paintings has been elusive right up until the last minute, which was a bit worrying.
You will be giving a talk to a younger audience earlier in the day. Do you enjoy that immediate interaction with children?
Yes, it gives me a chance to practice the stories, see what works, learn.
Now and again a child will ask a really interesting question that pulls me up short and makes me think - I like that.
What is your opinion on art in 2013?
Rather ask me what my opinion on books is.
I think there is too much talk of the death of the book.
When you go into schools and see children utterly delighted by books you realise how much of the media feeds on itself rather than finding out what is really happening.
I think kindles will lead to a golden age in the world of the physical book, because in order to compete books will have to become more and more beautiful.
I just hope they don't get more and more expensive.
It is only relatively recently that books have become affordable.
People will always have a yearning for stories.
It is part of our makeup and what makes us human.
Making art is just part of a language of telling stories.
What do you hope people get from East of the Sun, West of the Moon?
The book is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and more.
It is about love and a task, about leaving home and following a path.
It is about learning and growing and having courage.
It's a book that doesn't fit into the categories of 'picture book' 'young adult' etc.
It's a book ... Some people will like it, some won't.
The main character in the book is a girl. This doesn't mean it is a book for girls. Come to Rook Lane. I will tell you more.
What can people expect at the Rook Lane Chapel?
Expect to see pictures, hear something about how the book was made, and listen to a reading or two.
There will be pictures of where I live, work and kittens.
I might make people laugh and will attempt to make at least one person cry.
Just a bit and in a good way.
â This is one of the Rook's Celebrating the Imagination events.
Taking place over several weeks in spring, Celebrating the Imagination is a festival of imaginative perspectives on number of issues within contemporary culture.
The programme offers an interdisciplinary approach to ideas, bridging the gaps between art and science, between education and environment bringing together great speakers and thinkers from the UK and beyond.
Admission is £8 and booking is required.
Visit www.jackiemorris.co.uk for more information.