The Widdershins Report

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On Friday night the Widdershins exhibition was officially opened.

The preview evening was extremely well attended; the gallery could barely contain the throng and it spilled out onto the street (filled with the sounds of Klezmer, ably evoked by Tim, Lisa and Rima).

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Two of the exhibiting artists can be spotted in the above photograph, Brian Froud and Terri Windling. All the other artists were in attendance, with the exception of Wendy Froud who is recovering from an operation (get well soon Wendy!) and Alan Lee who is still wrestling with Hobbits in Middle Earth (New Zealand).

The top picture features a sculpture by Virginia Lee with a lovely background by Neil Wilkinson Cave. Below, A Paul Kidby sculpture calmly observes my Gidleigh Goat going about his business…

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I took lots of pictures on the night, but because it was so hot they all came out blurry (except this one which features a back view of Marja Lee). To make up for this here is a link to a front view of Marja by Brian.

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On Saturday we did a mass book signing and I stayed on to see Paul and Vanessa Kidby present a talk (if you weren’t aware, Paul is Terry Pratchett’s main illustrator as well as an excellent sculptor). I sneaked into the gallery just as it was closing to get some non-blurry snaps…

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Hazel Brown displayed a selection of intriguing Faerie assemblages (above). Hazel has known the Frouds for many years and provided the typography for Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book, amongst other things. Below, Paul’s sculpture guards a couple of Alan Lee paintings (one is the Widdershins painting detailed earlier in this Blog).

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Next week, Hazel, Virginia and I are attending a ‘coffee with the artists’ thingy; Terri Windling will be overseeing. There will be lots of previously unseen artwork to rummage through, and lots of insights into the creative mind (at least that’s what I’m hoping to get). There are also lots of other events going on over the course of the exhibition; check the Green Hill site for all the details.

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A Smattering of Stuff

Due to the recent hot weather work has become a sporadic affair (like Old Goat I have vegetables to nurture) so here is an update of various projects and happenings.

Richard Hammond (of Top Gear fame) has a book coming out, for which I designed the cover using a typographical approach. The background will be created by the designer – I’ve just used black here so the letters stand out. I did something similar for the Black Book of Secrets several years ago; I can’t show you that as my external hard drive is down. I had a look on Amazon, but the book has already been re-covered (such is the ephemeral nature of the book cover).

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It’s ten years since The Spook’s Apprentice first strode out over the Witch-infested wilds of Lancashire, and this week I have been illustrating book 13. I think it might be my favourite. Poor Tom has quite a lot on his plate (a hearty dollop of horror with a side order of heartbreak). It’s set in autumn, which provides plenty of opportunity to use falling leaves as a motif; they also help to add movement and life to silhouette images.

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Last week I got to hang out with Boston-based writer and fairy-tale academic Theodora Goss. I recommend her ‘The Thorn and The Blossom’, which is a beautifully designed and written book.

Pre-production work also continues on Tales of Fayt, the graphic novel written by Conrad Mason; here are some fairy character concepts…

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And while we are in fairy-land, UK residents can see our very own Brian Froud and Elizabeth Jane Baldry on BBC’s Countryfile (I think it expires in Sunday so be quick) when the program came to town to explore matters both practical and metaphysical…

And lastly, I recently posted a brief article over at David Fickling Books concerning magical portals. Because of the imminent Widdershins exhibition it seemed appropriate. Unfortunately I completely failed to mention the exhibition in the post and thus missed an excellent advertising opportunity, but I shall have more news of the event next week.