The Unwinding

By Jackie Morris

A beautiful new pillow book, from the Kate Greenaway Award winning author Jackie Morris.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Like a badger with a teapot.

The wind is rising outside and I am struggling with the political landscape of this land, but finding escape into books, both making and reading them.

So, picture me now, in my kitchen. The animals are all sleeping on sofa, chairs, a dog bed in front of the stove. I am weraing cashmere fingerless gloves, wrapped in a scarf Jan Jan from Number Seven Dulverton knitted for the book launch of The Wild Swans some years back. It's warm in the house, but I want the cosy comfort of clothing knitted by a good friend. It's a kindness and connection wrapped around me, has white feathers and shells stiched onto it. 

I've lit a candle, one of those beautiful orange ones from St Eval candles. I bought it yesterday from Solva Mill when I went down to the mill to sign books. It scents the air with a perfume that is all the good things about Christmas and none of the bad. The wind in the winterbone branches of the ash tree sounds like the sea. It's late. Much later than it should be. I should be up in my studio painting but I need to share this. 

I asked Alison if she could send me something to show of the design process. Maybe photos of her studio/office, maybe the screen she's working on. But she's still in a state of chaos having relocated from London to Melbourne, and hasn't set up and she thought the chaos of her cardboard boxes might not be so interesting. So she sent me something else instead. And not even the editors at Unbound have seen this yet, and  the first place they might see it is here, so, hi to all of you in the office in London, and can I have a photo of where you all are to share on next week's update?

Anyway, Alison sent me something else instead........

I wrote an introduction for The Unwinding. 

It goes like this:


This book is not meant to be read from cover to cover.

It is a book for dreamers.

Slight of word, rich of image, its purpose is to ease the soul.


The images for The Unwinding were worked in watercolour over years, through time, in and out of books. They carried stories that were spoken only in pigment and never in letters. All were made as a way to unwind the tension brought on by the stresses of the every day; work, home, life. Each image carries as many stories as there are people who look at them. The words in The Unwinding only pin one version to the pages.

The Unwinding is an invitation to shape-shift. It leaves space for the reader’s imagination. The images, words are a catalyst for the minds of dreamers and are not prescriptive. And yet were the book to be prescribed as a medicine the prescription would read:


Take one story, last thing at night, before bed, then tuck the book beneath your pillow.

For use in daytime, carry in a pocket or a bag. Extra stories may be taken during times of stress. There is no danger of overdose.

( side effects: can cause time to escape, bring  relaxation to some, encourage dreams in others. Sharing the stories with others does not reduce the potency, but can enrich the effects, especially when spoken aloud. Can be safely consumed by all ages and is also suitable for cats and dogs.)


But perhaps all this is just the hope and the wish,  of the author.


This is what Alison has done with it: if you click on the images it will make them larger, easier to see.

and just so you can see the 'apocathary' page in more detail:

I love this so much I am as happy as a badger with a teapot. This is what happens when you have a designer who reads the text rather than seeing it as blocks of information that need to be balanced with images. It's beautiful. 

We had a long converstaion this morning. Alison had just put her little boy to bed. Dark there, light here, talking across the world. Still so much work to do but it's so exciting handing your dreams over to someone who has such vision, who you can trust to take it way beyond your own imaginings in a good way, the best way.

Right, off to work on painting. I'm so late starting today. Ideas rushing around my brain and I need a hefty badger to sit on the lid and not let them out as I need to focus. I've been listening to Have You Heard George's Podcast while I paint. Brilliant, mind expanding, original, educational. What a genius of a man.

But before I go, here is your weekly clowder. There should be a Daily Clowder coming on twitter.....



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Matthew Scott
 Matthew Scott says:

Oh my goodness Jackie, Alison’s illustration & concept is...well, I can’t decide which superlative to use! Wondrous. Magical. Beautiful.

Your books, words, art, have already brought me such healing & recovery; ‘Apothecary of Pembrokeshire’ is just the perfect description. The Unwinding is going to be a treasure to cherish. X

posted 10th December 2019

Jackie Morris
 Jackie Morris says:

Thank you Matthew. That's lovely. Look forward to seeing you in July. If not before. Are tou coming to any of the Spellsongs gigs?

posted 10th December 2019

Amy Bogard
 Amy Bogard says:

Oh your Badger is lovely!! My recent badger loves tea himself (and is learning tunes on the Uillean pipes!) Perhaps they will be friends. Looking so forward to this treasure of a book Jackie!

posted 10th December 2019

Lyn Gibson
 Lyn Gibson says:

What a glorious clowder! I could never tire of daily doses of these. The preview of the introduction is so exciting, so beautifully done, the anticipation is overwhelming!

posted 11th December 2019

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