“Once upon a time, words began to vanish from the language of children. They disappeared so quietly that at first almost no one noticed – fading away like water on stone. The words were those that children used to name the natural world around them: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker – gone! Fern, heather, kingfisher, otter, raven, willow, wren…all of them gone! The words were be-coming lost…”
‘The Lost Words’ is a unique collaborative project between award-winning author Robert MacFarlane, and acclaimed artist Jackie Morris, in their response to their belief that nature is in retreat from our children’s stories and imaginations.
In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary was published, around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these "lost words" included acorn, adder, bluebell, dandelion, fern, heron, kingfisher, newt, otter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachment, blog, broadband, bullet-point, cut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions -- the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual -- became seen by many as a sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.
Ten years later, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a "spell book" that will conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is that book -- a work that has already cast its extraordinary spell on hundreds of thousands of people and begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.
A selection of Jackie’s illustrations have been reproduced in small edition sizes. A proportion of each edition are very special productions using silk-screen and gold leaf to recreate the luminous quality of the original paintings. The complete edition is signed both by Jackie and Robert. Each of the special production prints is made completely unique and original by the addition of a line of text from the appropriate spell, written by MacFarlane and an original hand-drawn sketch by Morris.
These are truly remarkable editions and very special collector’s items.
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