How are you all doing? It’s been a while; spring has gone and I find myself padding around in the thick of summer.
Like many, I am a lover of nature, and squashing flowers between the leaves of a thick book was a summer staple as a kid, however, I have recently come across a picture book that takes the squashing of said flowers to a whole new level! Prepared to be utterly blown away by the work of Helen Ahpornsiri!
Planksters, meet, ‘A Year in the Wild’ where every page is a work of art!
These are ‘just’ the endpapers!
The illustrations for this journey through the seasons, written and edited by Ruth Symons, have been created entirely out of flowers and leaves, as Helen notes at the end of the book; ‘Everything you see here – from the gleam in a fox’s eye to the delicate line of a cobweb – is made from a plant. There is not a drop of paint in these pages.’ - It’s mind-blowing!
Helen’s depictions of wildlife are both beautiful and joyous and I love the interplay between her created creatures and the surrounding foliage.
Some of the individual animals, like this fox, can be studied for hours – and I can’t even begin to imagine how long this took to create, but every second was worth it!
This book is both exquisite and informative, with Helen and Ruth bringing together beauty and biology with a smattering of facts – Did you know that ‘one badger can eat up to 200 earthworms in a single night’?!
On her website, www.helenahpornsiri.com (Well worth a visit!) Helen writes about the way she collects the materials she uses and mentions that she always follows the ‘BSBI code of conduct’ - Whilst I was consistently taught to be respectful of wildlife, I can’t say that I have ever crossed paths with this code, but now I have, Planksters, and it is a surprisingly interesting read – so, for the curious, here is the link from the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland; https://bsbi.org/wp-content/uploads/dlm_uploads/Code-of-Conduct-v5-final.pdf
‘A Year in the Wild’ was published in 2018 and I’ve no idea how this managed to slip under my radar for so long, however, this discovery has added a new level of sparkle to my life – and book two, ‘Beneath the Waves’ (2019!) written by Lily Murray, has rightfully bounded to the top of my ‘wish list’!
For an insight into Helen Ahpornsiri’s creative process, check out this link to her YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dhgo8sZlyws
If you’re feeling inspired, Planksters, check out the BSBI code (or your country’s equivalent!), grab your penknife (umbrella too, if you’re in the UK!), and carefully leap into the local flora.
Most sincerely, and with a swift twiddle of a long and curly fake moustache,