Happy Monday everyone,
So let’ me ask your sleepy Monday-is-so-cruel minds a question – “What inspires you?” I came to ask myself seemingly simple yet so complex question last night. And after an hour of tossing and turning (and countless head-bangings against the wall,) I came to the conclusion that I am eternally inspire by books. I was taught to read since a very young age, and my love of reading stems from my nightly bedtime story session with my mom. The wonderful writing in these stories sparked my love for writing and the beautiful illustrations, my love for art.
I have hundreds of storybooks; a prized collection of dreams and fantastical tales captured into array of colorful books ranging from palm-sized “Mr. Men and Little Misses,” to a large A3-sized “Where’s Waldo.”
Some books are closer to my heart than others. Some of my favorites are “Classic Winnie the Pooh,” “Percy the Park Keeper,” “The Jolly Postman,” and “How to be a Little Sod.” But I believe that my obsession for cookbooks and all things dainty and the beauty in life actually sprung from a series of books written in the 1980’s called “The Brambly Hedge” by Jill Barklem. Here’s an excerpt
“Brambly Hedge is on the other side of the stream, across the field. If you can find it, and if you look very hard amongst the tangled roots and stems, you may even see a wisp of smoke from a small chimney, or through an open door, a steep flight of stairs deep within the trunk of a tree. For this is the home of the mice of Brambly Hedge.
The mice of Brambly Hedge live together in a close-knit community making best use of what each season has to offer.”
The books from this series contain the most wonderfully heart-warming illustrations done by the author since Jill Barklem actually studied illustrations at Central St. Martins. The illustrations in the book paint this perfect picture of many beautiful well stock kitchens where the mice busily whisking up new delicious concoctions from natural ingredients that they can find around them.
“All the food used in Brambly Hedge was created beforehand in Jill’s kitchen to make sure the ingredients worked. Many of the trees used to create Brambly Hedge are directly illustrated from trees that still stand in Epping Forest. Once all the research was complete, she would start to sketch out the images in pencil. It takes Jill around two years to produce a book, with one large illustration taking up to three months.”
Most importantly, I believe books possess a magical and timeless quality about them. Another aspect I find wonderful is that the mice are also advocates of seasonal cookings, which is a good illustration on how books are always classics since the theme is very relevant to the current sustainable-craze around the world. Even though they are children’s storybooks, they never fail to inspire me at any age. Plus, what’s not to love when each one of the book in my collection has a personal note from my mom, complete with date and occasions, like this one from Christmas 2005.