I’m always honoured when I receive a commission request. No matter what the design or occasion might be it’s a good feeling to be able to make something that might have some meaning for the recipient. A few months ago Hannah Richell contacted me enquiring about the honesty (lunaria) seedpod necklace I first made in the Autumn of 2011 as part of my Nature Table Series. She told me that she had written a novel in which honesty and in particular a necklace in the form of an honesty seedpod played a pivotal role and that she was interested in commissioning this design to coincide with its publication.
Honesty seedpods remind me of my Grandfather’s garden. I would pick them in the late summer and separate the thin papery layers to release the tiny penny-like seeds. My daughters love to collect seeds, especially the littlest, and she discovered honesty herself last autumn. She asked specifically to be taken up to a spot on the path leading to our village wood where we had discovered some that had self-seeded. I kept finding the seeds in her pockets.
They have nostalgic associations for Hannah too: I loved the idea of featuring lunaria in the story because half of my novel is set in the early 1980s and for me, it’s always been a plant steeped in childhood nostalgia. I can still remember my mum’s dried flower arrangements dotted around our house in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, vases filled with stems of silver honesty seed heads that shimmered and rustled as you passed by. I can hear the papery crackle of them under my fingertips, and recall how they would split, or crumble like ash if you pressed too hard. They were so delicate and fragile, like iridescent paper moons. To my mind honesty just seemed to fit with the era I was writing about.
Note: I have long been a fan of Richard and Judy’s bookclub so I was excited to find out that Hannah’s first book, Secrets of the Tides, had been selected for their book club last summer (the interview with Hannah begins 1 minute in). It was so good to put a face to the lovely emails that had flown back and forth between us. I ordered a copy of Secrets of the Tides and became so engrossed in it over the Easter holidays that I read it in just a day or so. It’s engrossing and an excellent read.