Accordion Books

By Jackie Morris

The first pair in a series of illustrated folding gift books featuring foxes and otters.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

Just over half way

The week has been a curious one, devoted to the Book of Birds, trying to get to grips with feathered things, but also there have been a series of events building, and a feeling that perhaps, just perhaps, these events won't be cancelled. So, I thought I would list them here:

The next is Laugharne Weekend Festival that is so full with amazing folk that I am part of the 'and much more'.

I will then be at a rather beautiful and small event in a place called Chapel Lawn in Shropshire. This is an intimate and low key event where I will be working alongside Mike and Tamsin Abbott. Mike is an astonishing guru of the Green Wood Working movement. I did a chair making course with him and he's an amazing teacher. Tamsin is a wonderful artist who paints and works with glass. Both are very good friends. It is the Red Lake Valley mini festival. As far as I am aware there won't be books for sale, but go to your local indie bookshop and bring books for signing. I will be sitting quietly, talking to anyone who might listen, painting. At least, that is the plan.

The following day I will be on stage with John Mitchinson, at Cheltenham International Festival Of Literature talking about the power of story telling, why I write, how I read, what words are and colouring in. Hopefully, I will also be painting and telling secrets.

Meanwhile in November I will be at Stratford Literature Festival (14th, I think).

And before all of this on Saturday 28th August I will be at Shrewsbury Folk Festival with Spellsongs. 

The days seem too short. Work was interupted briefly by the wonderful Horatio Clare, who arrived with Laura Barton and Andy Fell. They are making a podcast, and came to talk for a while before moving on. 

I bought some signs, partly because I wanted just one, partly because I can use the stencils to write Otter and Fox, but mostly because if this is a verb it becomes the best job description for an artist:

I'm looking forward to playing with them. One says 'CLOSED' I thought I would put that on my front door.

Meanwhile I have been trying to gather thoughts and words to accompany the Accordion Books and am waiting to hear if the original one I posted has landed in Australia with Alison yet...... and I have been thinking of ways to make my own and how I might make them. One of the things I wondered was about having marbled endpapers for them, or covers, so I bought some printed marbled paper from Jemma Lewis. This is to practice, to see if I can make something work, and then if it does I will buy some 'real' marbled paper from her, or maybe see if she would be up for a commissioned piece or two. Meanwhile, I love how the stones look on these pieces. 

She makes the most beautiful things. I have decided to paint a fox and a key into a copy of a first special edition copy of The Unwinding, using water from St Non's Well, just outside St Davids, and Deep Deep Light paints, wrap in a piece of marbled paper, and post to someone, in return for some help.

What I would like is for people to share this post, about the Accordion Books, on social media, or by telling a friend, or however, and leave a comment in answer to this question:

If you could travel to a place in a  book, fiction, none fiction, where would you go?

I will choose a winner in a couple of weeks time and post the book to them. 

My answer is this: I would go to the Rainwilds, a place that lives in the imagination of all who have read and loved the books of Robin Hobb. It is a place where dragons dwell, where magic is a reality, where beautiful things are made and crafted, or were. In my mind, the architecture is reminiscent of Venice, but in a forest rather than a lagoon. Plazas and squares are wide enough for dragons to land in. There is about this place nothing ugly.


( NB: A few weeks ago there was a note on my door that said 'Don't Forget To Go To China'- which I did- go that is, not forget. The result is this podcast from Storyland. I hope you enjoy listening. It's mostly about The Lost Words, a book I made with Robert Macfarlane)






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Anne Dunn
 Anne Dunn says:

I would go to Laugharne, the place in 'Martha, Trinity of the Chosen' by C S Evans where all the magical events happen. There are foxes. The author is also a songwriter and lovely person.

posted 22nd August 2021

Kiya Rial
 Kiya Rial says:

I posted to FB and wrote: I would go up into the Himalayas where the sacred snow leopards live. I would dream their songs and learn the ways of their world.

posted 22nd August 2021

Jane Hill
 Jane Hill says:

For me, it would have to be Lothlorien - a place that has stayed in my imagination ever since I read 'that book's in the early 1970s. I
I don't do much visualise it as feel it - it's an emotion, as much as a place. And Tolkiem's writing about it contains one of the two truly visionary paragraphs in the book. The other paragraph comes from one of the chapters set in Rivendell.
Actually, Rivendell would be good, too. I now live in a house which was described by a friend as Rivendell when he first visited!

posted 22nd August 2021

Jane Hill
 Jane Hill says:

Sorry for the typos above...

posted 22nd August 2021

Agnes Guyon
 Agnes Guyon says:

I am going to be totally boring but the Garden of Eden does sound pretty amazing!

posted 22nd August 2021

Michelle Blumstein
 Michelle Blumstein says:

I think if I were to go anywhere in any book it might be to the wizarding world of Harry Potter, not because it is lovely or peaceful, but for one reason in particular – Hermione Granger’s bag with the Undetectable Extension Charm. I have coveted this charm since I learned about it. You see, I am a collector, a collector of anything I find beautiful, amazing, useful, or interesting: rocks, feathers, art supplies, books, statues, paintings, plants, containers, and on and on. I also live in a fairly small house, so the Extension Charm would allow me to continue collecting without ending up on program about hoarders. I buoys me to have beautiful and interesting things around me and in these changing and dangerous times I feel this even stronger. Things are disappearing and life is changing, not necessarily for the better. If I could have an Undetectable Extension Charm I could save all creatures and things beautiful, rare, and endangered, squirreling them away safely inside of somewhere where they could go on existing in peace and safety and beauty.

posted 22nd August 2021

Jill Lenaerts
 Jill Lenaerts says:

I would like to go the 'Thin Places' from the book of the same name by Kerri ni Dochartaigh. In Irish mythology theses place are portals to the other side where the veil between worlds is thin and torn. To be held in a place between worlds would be full of possibility, vision and uncertainty.

posted 22nd August 2021

Jo Gregory
 Jo Gregory says:

I would go to Norway to walk in the footprints of my ancestors. To feel the cold and magic of the deep, dark fjords. To lie in wait and witness the dance of the northern lights and to watch the crystal clear light envelop the dawn.

posted 22nd August 2021

Amber B
 Amber B says:

For me it has to be Newford, Charles de Lint’s wonderland. To talk with Jilly Coppercorn, Geordie and the amazing Crow Girls. To be part of the magic lands that live in my imagination. Oh if only for a while it would be amazing.

posted 22nd August 2021

Sheila Macpherson
 Sheila Macpherson says:

I am a librarian and have the the heart of a librarian. For me I would visit the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, from Shadow of the Wind. It is the secret labyrinthine library in Barcelona, where cherished and threatened books are lovingly protected and where visitors are allowed to choose one title.

posted 22nd August 2021

Mike Nelson Pedde
 Mike Nelson Pedde says:

SO MANY choices, in this world alone. Every night before sleep my wife Marcia and I pick a different place to travel to in the dreamtime; some are old favourites and others are new sites we've just heard about. Following Amber B's comment, I would go to Mabon, dreamed out of Sophie's imagination in Newford.

However, if I could go anywhere, it would be to the desert in Botswana. Let me explain...

A number of years ago I settled into my meditation, closed my eyes, and she was RIGHT THERE. Roughly 8' tall and some 4K pounds, all I could see was a gray leathery face, large ears, flat out, two tusks and a long trunk. She was, literally in my face, and she was angry. And scared. She was a young mother then, part of a herd making their way across the sands to a distant watering hole, following the matriarch. However, as she stepped back and allowed me to see the cause of her agitation, it was clear her calf just wasn't going to make it. Lying there on the sand, dehydrated, breathing roughly. She was silently pleading with me for help. They weren't that far away, one could almost smell the water on the breeze, and I have no doubt they had been smelling it for miles. None of this meant anything to the calf or his mother, and the rest of the herd were caught between the twin poles of the anxious mother and their own salvation.

What could I do? Weighing over 200lb at birth, and considerably more than that now, it wasn't like I could just toss him over my shoulder and sprint. However, I've travelled through enough different worlds to know that imagination is power. I've moved myself between spaces, between worlds, and while I'd never tried to move an elephant, in theory it was the same. I crouched by the calf, closed my eyes, put my hands on his hot skin, and focused.

The coolness of the water was the first sensation. I can't tell you if we made a splash or not. We weren't the first ones there; the line had stretched from the water to the calf as other mothers had to put duty to the herd and their own young ahead. I can tell you that we were immediately both drenched with trunkfuls of water being sprayed on us. So generous I almost drowned in their efforts.

But that wasn't the best part. Not by a long shot. Sitting hip deep in the pond, stunned beyond belief, I was at first cautiously and then rambunctiously surrounded by trunks, rubbing up and down my arms, over my legs, mussing my hair, caressing my face. It remains to this day... indescribable.

So if I could go ANYWHERE, I would travel in this world to Botswana, to see if I could find that herd. To say thank you.


posted 22nd August 2021

Dorothy Bowen
 Dorothy Bowen says:

I would like to go to the Secret Garden, a favorite book from childhood. It was my mother’s favorite as a little girl, and she passed her love of reading (and gardening) on to me.

posted 23rd August 2021

Melanie Jackson
 Melanie Jackson says:

My chosen destination would be Le Cirque des Rêves in The Night Circus which captivated me instantly and does so each time I revisit it . (Although Bag End comes a close second).

posted 23rd August 2021

Benita White
 Benita White says:

I would go to the home of Bilbo Baggins in The Shire, a region of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth in The Hobbit and LOTR.
The Shire is largely sheltered from the goings-on in the rest of the realm and it’s folk are simple, down to earth and good hearted. They enjoy an ale, music and dancing and pass on stories……I’ve just realised I’m describing West Dorset where live !

posted 23rd August 2021

Jackie Morris
 Jackie Morris says:

Oh, now I am torn. I would also love to go to the labyrinths of Piranesi and The Starless Sea and to The Night Circus!

posted 23rd August 2021

Sarah Connor
 Sarah Connor says:

I'm reading The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. I'd love to be travelling them, back in their heyday - so many different cultures mingling.

posted 23rd August 2021

Shona Fraser
 Shona Fraser says:

That is such a hard question. So many worlds and places in my reading memory. And so many of those places are in a state of flux in their stories. I don't cope with change well so it would have to be Narnia before the Winter, Middle Earth in a time of peace, the Land before Thomas Covenant arrived, the Imajica after it was cleansed by the waters...and the older I get the more I crave just quiet and aloneness so I think perhaps, in the end, it would be Merlin's Crystal Cave from Mary Stewart's books.

posted 23rd August 2021

Christine Throgmorton
 Christine Throgmorton says:

My imagination was formed in my childhood by a book of nursery rhymes and folk tales that accompanied a set of encyclopedias my parents purchased. The encyclopedias were terrible, but the children’s book was wonderful. Along with the nursery rhymes, it included Aesop’s Fables, and folk tales like East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The places the words and wonderful illustrations took me have stayed with me forever. When I feel sad, tired, overwhelmed, I travel to this book in my mind and it comforts me.

posted 23rd August 2021

oileàn mara
 oileàn mara says:

The introvert in me admires your stamina and commitment to those many good causes and ventures. And loves your eye for combining beautiful things. Gilded starburst clach looks as if engraved. The place that came to mind for me immediately is Narnia, thru the wardrobe. Preferably after the witch’s demise, tho I’m all about frosty evergreens and tea in front of Mr. Tumnus’s fire. A living land where beings are bravely striving in cohort for good, and fierce, noble Aslan inspiring change from what is, to what if? Golly it’s been a looooong time. Details are lost in the fog, but memory evokes lots of feels. Glad accordion book is making it’s way towards fully funded. This world needs that kind of creativity. Let the way be Open.

posted 25th August 2021

Lisa Quattromini
 Lisa Quattromini says:

I would go to the place I've visited in my dreams since I was six years old - the gathering where Stig of the Dump leads Barney at mid-summer. I too would help move the standing stones.

posted 25th August 2021

Isamar Carrillo Masso
 Isamar Carrillo Masso says:

I’m a huge fan of your work, Ms Morris!

If you could travel to a place in a book, fiction, non-fiction, where would you go?

My answer is this: I dream of seeing the world, but I would go to the Night Circus, and try to join it. Alternatively, Victorian England in the Shadowhunter universe.

posted 25th August 2021

Sheryl Cooper
 Sheryl Cooper says:

I have travelled to so many different places through books that it is too difficult to choose just one. I would travel to Narnia in the hope of meeting Aslan, I would fly with the aeronaut Lee Scoresby & his daemon Hester and I would have coffee at Funiculi Funicula in Tokyo.

Jackie your question has made me think about how we get to these places. It is the author who sails the ship and weaves the magic but it is the independent bookshops & librarians that act as our travel guides. Without their help many travel destinations would remain hidden and characters undiscovered. When we arrive back from one journey they are ready to advise which ship to board next and if you travel via Kenilworth books, you are even supplied with onboard refreshments in the form homemade cakes & biscuits.

Where am I at the moment - I at Rookery Road Allotments with Leon, it is late at night, there is shouting and there are police sirens. I want him to go home to Sylvia & Mo but he is not listening, he is determined to go on. My Captain for this journey is Kit De Waal, my boarding pass was purchased from Kenilworth Books.

posted 30th August 2021

Robert Cheeseman
 Robert Cheeseman says:

Dear Jackie
In The Book of Qualities by J. Ruth Gendler, I would love to meet the quality "Pleasure." "She carries a silver bowl full of liquid moonlight. She has a cat named Midnight with stars on his paws." writes J.Ruth Gendler
That sounds wonderful to me. Thanks Dianna

posted 1st September 2021

Jackie Morris
 Jackie Morris says:

Just ordered myself a copy of that Robert. Sounds amazing.

posted 1st September 2021

Mike Nelson Pedde
 Mike Nelson Pedde says:

So many wonderful places!! If you'd allow it, I'd love to accompany you all on your journeys, just to see if I could capture a little of what you experience... :-)


posted 4th September 2021

Top rewards

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Accordion Book No 1: Fox

An eight panelled folding book featuring painted foxes. Haikus of the wild fox on reverse (twilight wild words). Folded between two postcard sized cover boards (100 x 150 mm), foiled with debossed fox image. Printed on 400 gsm uncoated white card.


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Accordion Book No 2: Otter

An eight panelled folding book featuring painted otters. Haikus of the wild otter on reverse (river words). Folded between two postcard sized cover boards (100 x 150 mm), foiled with debossed fox image. Printed on 400 gsm uncoated white card.


  • Bookmark (designed by Jackie)
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