Bluebells and bookbinding

We have had a peculiar May this year, as I write this the sun is shining as we would expect but earlier in the month we had miserable, grey, cold dreary weather which cast a gloom over everything. The bluebells have been lovely but not so plentiful as previous years. On one of our dog walks we spied a fox near the canal path. We watched as she made her way to a dense patch of brambles and wondered if she had any hungry cubs to feed. The young fox illustration comes from “A Book of Days”, a birthday book I illustrated for Blackie and Son Ltd.
We had a very pleasant visit from artist friend Celeste Goulding, who had traveled to England on holiday from Australia. You may remember Celeste from a previous post? This time we enjoyed an actual rather than a virtual cup of tea. It was so nice to meet her in person.
Work has been busy, getting design collections ready for Surtex, an annual trade fair in New York. I did however find the time to attend a bookbinding workshop with Glenn Malkin, a bookbinder from East Yorkshire. Glenn is an amazing and inspirational craftsman who has a bindery called Signature Bindings Glenn specializes in affordable bindings and repairs, journals and fine bindings. His website contains useful information about forthcoming workshops and events as well as showcasing his award winning designer bindings.
In the one-day workshop we managed to complete three books. One wrap around binding, one Japanese stab binding and a little single section cased binding. All the materials were supplied including the lovely marbled papers. I was especially pleased with the book, which utilized part of an old map, an idea I am sure I will use again. Maybe next time I will remember that as this structure is covered with a map it has a front, back a head and a tail. I managed to create a back and a front the same way up but would have preferred the back to be the front, although in Japan it would have worked perfectly! Finally I have been creating an online print shop with Society6, the shop currently offers art prints and stretched canvases, and I hope to add more images in due course.


  1. Bluebells and bookbinding...and real friends; it doesn't get much better than that, does it?

    Another lovely post full of information and beauty. You are not alone; our May has been very odd indeed and it is hard not to compare last year's garden with this years. April here was very dry indeed last year and by now the cherries and the lavender were both flourishing. We have had so much grey and rain. I know it's good for the garden but it's not so good for our moral, is it?

    Warmest wishes,


  2. Dear Valerie,
    Will you be coming to New York? What fun it would be if we could meet.
    Your bluebell walk looks so lovely (we don't have bluebells round here) so very evocatively English.
    A rainy week here.
    All best!

  3. If I could choose one talent Valerie it would be to be able to draw like you can - bluebells are one of my favourite flowers and you catch them to perfection.

  4. Such beautful bluebells and gorgeous colours Valerie, I love the rich haze of blues you have created into the depths of the painting, and as always your observation of leafy detail.
    Wishing you very well at Surtex, I hope you will tell us all about it.

  5. Valerie, let me echo some earlier comments, in wishing you well at Surtex, hoping that you might be coming to New York, and ... of course, again saying how much I do love seeing every example of your art. Oh, I also agree that bluebells are also very beautiful.


  6. Ah, this sun is so welcome for me too. I have noticed the bluebells in the woodland (near Bath) are a little sparser than usual. That hot dry March followed by cold weather has put our creatures under pressure.

  7. Wonder, wonderful paintings and I love good book bindings.

  8. I love your illustration of the bluebells and young fox cub. Bluebells are one of my favourite flowers. How lucky to spot a fox on your walk - they are such secretive creatures:)

  9. Our weather was the opposite...gorgeous and warm and sunny and now rain, drizzle and mist...but everything is so lush and green! Love the little fox painting...lucky your JR didn't flush out the fox! Hope you're well.

  10. The bluebells have been pretty good here this year in spite of the cold and wet. I'm impressed by your bookbinding, that blue wraparound is just beautiful. I shall be taking your rabbit jigsaw down to Suffolk next weekend ready for George's birthday. I'm sure he's going to love it:)

  11. The bluebells still looking plentiful and a joy to behold!

    Your book bindings look beautiful, must remember what I learned from you about using maps. ;-)

  12. Love the pic of Ted enjoying the bluebell woods. And I'm sure I recognise that gorgeous fox illustration...
    Enjoy your Jubilee weekend!

  13. such a lovely post Valerie. Your art, your hand made books, hearing of your print venture. Spring in your realm. Just lovely to check in with you, even if i am a bit late. lovely Spring into Summer to you!

  14. I have that book and that picture is one of my favourites because of the bluebells. Great work, its so detailed I adore it.