Two weeks ago a person whose work I’ve admired since ooh, 2008, came to our cottage for a one-to-one silver workshop. Surface pattern designer, freestyle quiltmaker and lady wizard of fabric Lucie Summers sat at my dining room table and invented 3D tiny scale designs on the surface of silver clay. Then we set them on fire and made them shiny.
Lu’s ‘Signs of Spring’ design
I confess I was slightly in awe of this woman at she arrived at my front door – she was a featured Etsy seller in the days of yore when this was like being the Actual Bona Fide Craft Queen for a week and Jan and Earl of Poppytalk blogged about her so many times and her blog was so full of no-nonsense passion for creativity that I began to view her as a sort of Caitlin Moran of the Handmade World. We had met at a small handmade fair in 2010 and I had to stop myself from asking for her autograph. Bit tragic? Well not really – this woman’s talent is legend.
Within 10 minutes of Lu’s arrival we had shared a couple of bawdy asides and cackled like Sid James. We realised we lived just 8 miles from each other and we ate more of my raspberry brownies than perhaps we should have done whilst we mourned for Victoria Wood.
Then she got her patterns out.
Her latest one, ‘Signs of Spring’, looked exactly like Mickfield Meadow in Suffolk, the ancient water meadow I’d made a pilgrimage to visit the week before because of its snakehead fritillaries and delicate pink cuckoo flowers. It reflected my passion for botany, for jumbles of tiny wild plants growing in hedgerows. It set off all kinds of bells and whistles in my noggin. I became rather overexcited and An Idea whooshed into the room like a puppy who has smelled a sausage.
We began to Design Things Together. We were so excited about our idea and the collaboration seemed to work so well that things moved rather quickly.
So, yesterday we launched a new Etsy shop – Flatland Drygoods.
We have just one product for sale – a small batch of handprinted and signed nature journals/sketchbooks. The cover design is Lu’s Signs of Spring and each journal has a bookmark handprinted using a tiny screen made from a wren I drew last week (see below). Each sketchbook has a glassine envelope in the inside cover for collecting feathers and small nature finds and the sturdy manila washer envelope (surely the most marvellous stationery product ever invented) protects the journal in your bag whilst you’re out on walks or whilst it sits in your bookcase.
These books are designed to record what’s growing in the hedgerows near where you live or where you go on holiday, for planning your cutting patch or making a note of what’s flowering in your garden, or simply for capturing creative ideas (perhaps in the early hours) before they scarper from your mind.
We will be producing a new journal design each month, to reflect what’s growing in the Fenland countryside near where Lu and I live and I’ll be suggesting plants and birds to look out for each month, aswell as posting tutorials for creating simple botanical illustrations here on my blog.
I am so thrilled that Lu has collaborated with me. I’ve laughed so much in the last two weeks that I feel this tiny venture will be good for the serotonin levels sswell as my mind’s creative department.
You can visit the Flatland Drygoods shop by clicking HERE or by clicking the image below (there are just 7 of this batch of 25 journals left):