The beauty and joy of writing a blog post is that you get to relive the experience and share the moment. We have had a busy, yet enjoyable past month at Number Seven welcoming visitors to the Wing Beats exhibition and celebrating the launch of Wild Swans with its author and illustrator Jackie Morris, and now it is time to catch up and reflect on the time shared.
The exhibition featured original illustrations from The Wild Swans alongside work by Tamsin Abbott, Eleanor Bartleman, Maria Mayle and Sophie Smith.
On Sunday 4th October we hosted a 'wing walk' where our guests were able to meet with the artists as we all followed the feather trail into the nearby woods of Dulverton.
The tell tale waft of wood smoke indicated that we were near our destination and contemplatively knitting by the den, with Ivy by her side, was Jackie.
Guests made themselves comfortable on mossy logs and we sat in silence as Jackie read from The Wild Swans. It was quite emotional for some who found themselves moved to tears...
It seemed so apt to be seated under the same tree canopy where in May 2014 Jackie had introduced us to the owner of the softest fur lined slippers with the power to transform the wearer into a white hare - if her new husband had only shown her trust his sons may have escaped the enchantment of being turned into wild swans.
Jackie shared a future project with us all on this visit also. She is embarking on a joint venture with Robert Macfarlane to conjure into being 'The Lost Words' that have been removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary. We were privy to hearing Macfarlane's words that spell otter and acorn. Now lost on the Exmoor breeze you will be able to read them when the book is finally published in 2017. I can assure you it will be worth the wait - the words for otter make me quiver and Jackie's accompanying colour plates sound extravagantly ambitious.
As the afternoon air cooled we headed back to Number Seven where walking boots were piled high and guests were able to view the exhibition and chat informally with Jackie who signed and drew in their copies of The Wild Swans; I gather one lucky customer persuaded Jackie to draw Ivy in his copy. This was all accompanied by a high tea of delicate sandwiches, fresh strawberries, bite size cakes, pots of tea and the occasional gin served in our best violet tea cups.
Jackie is now back home in Pembrokeshire, behind her she has left signed copies of her many publications and the promise to return to Number Seven in the summer of 2015.
Call the shop on 01398 324457 to purchase your signed copy of The Wild Swans. Copies cost £10.99 and P&P within the UK is £2.00 whether you have one book or twenty!
'Jackie Morris does more than tell a story, she conjures glorious landscapes of the heart.' Meg Rosoff on East of the Sun, West of the Moon.
'Beautiful, lyrical and lovely' Joanne Harris on The Wild Swans.
Visit the studio of Jackie Morris through the eyes and lens of Davina Jelley here
All images © Christopher & Davina Jelley Number Seven Dulverton 2015