Tales of Britain

By Jem Roberts

The finest, funniest stories of England, Scotland & Wales, refreshed for the 21st century. By Brother Bernard, as told to Jem Roberts.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Wayland the Smith, And Other Artists

Happy Folklore Thursday, to all our fellow ARTISTS!


How exciting! Our book is headed from the printers right into our open arms, a work of art which has taken us up to 15 years to make a reality, with your kind help!

Crucially, some of you pledged good money for extra perks, and we need to hear from you ASAP about how we can honour those promises to you. We're particularly keen to arrange the LONDON LAUNCH, where Brother Bernard and Sister Sal will perform an hour of stories exclusively for you, but we just need to arrange a time and place where pledgers from all over the UK can make it to the capital and enjoy the entertainment. And time is very short, so any issues, PLEASE get in touch and let us know! 

We have been blogging for so long, trying to crowdfund this collection of 77 British folktales with tourist guides, that the themes have started to come round again, and we have a few crafty tales which suit the artistic theme – the North Country giant Wade & Bell who crated much of the scenery around Whitby, for a start, the writing artistry of Chaucer and Robert Henryson, perhaps even the artistry of that little spider spied by Robert the Bruce! And of course, there's the great intricate metalwork of the great Norse God Wayland, who keeps his smithy in Oxfordshire – see above – and in our story, fails to train his naughty apprentice Flibbertigibbet…

As for our own artistic endeavours, some of you will swiftly notice when you get our book in your hands that although the treasury is bountiful and gorgeous, some of our original hopes and plans for Tales of Britain's design have simply not been possible to put into practice. The reason for this is simply that our crowdfunding did not extend to paying an illustrator or designer to take our rough designs and make them happen, this time round. Even though we provided icons for every single story, plus maps complete with grid references, as part of the original plan to make this a road atlas of stories, we're NOT artists, and so the full elements that make up the road atlas/holiday brochure concept would have required reworking by more talented professionals...

The editor only retained one element of the design – the Tale Key which we mentioned LAST WEEK, which we came up with as a scheme to show the reader at a glance whether certain stories were suited to their intended audience. Sharing these retellings aloud with all ages is a crucial part of why this book is being published, and so we hoped that little icons to show if a story has slightly adult themes and so on might be a handy way of ensuring that minimum embarrassment is caused if you start the wrong kind of story for a nursery group!

We really hope that this remnant of our intended design doesn't seem incongruous on its own now – in years to come, there are plans to release further editions, follow-ups, extra volumes and deluxe reprints, which will restore all the wonderful original design concepts, but after so long, we're just so glad to get these STORIES to you, words to share and enjoy, and we're proud of every last one of them. Words are our most important artistic tools, after all...

SO NEAR AND YET SO NEAR! One more Folklore Thursday to publication!

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