Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Co-authored Land of Grumpilotta and Little Miss Apple Tree

Jo and I create worlds in the space between us, and tend not to work with the traditional collaborative approach of writer and illustrator. Our ideas grow in a co-authored landscape. Jo writes worlds and words for stories I have dreamt forever. She sends ideas for shapes and shades. I paint with her fingers. Our worlds overlap to the point that we cannot remember which, or who, came first. It is a responsive dialogue that finds a different form depending on the demands of each new world we collide in. The Grumpi ladies have an incredible written history but the story does not arrive in a linear frame. I illustrate what resonates and Jo recalibrates her text in the slipstream and viceversa. Though a very specific aspect of the BIG ship, this practice of co-authorship very much informs and continues to drive our bigger working process in many ways. Here, we are working on a series of online and print-based  limited edition artists books of illustrated prose for the grown and the growing: Books that grow.

Text for the grown...

On the day before autumn, Lotta hitched layer coloured skirts and took whisper steps to a new river. To her first born she spoke, "I will find you there under pebbles and ash and pull you out from the other side of the world, earth covered and brave from the journey". The child had been wanting to land for centuries, drawing maps of imaginary treasure to pass the time until her mother was finally ready to catch her. With strings loose all around her that held tight to her thoughts and dreams, she dived into the future and into the arms of Lotta who wept and sighed and sank in awe at her wondrous girlchild.

...and the growing...

The world is a tree
here, come travel with me
and I'll secret a storm in your name.

You're the wondrous one,
your tale's just begun
oh such joy at the world in a day.

May you splash in the puddle
and unmuddle the muddle
to dance in new ways on the map.

We will follow
and fold you
and love you
and hold you,

and catch you whenever you SPLAT!

Images by Lilly, words by Jo. Ideas, content, and response for images and words and the space between them belong to both artists. All rights reserved.


  1. Enjoying both words and image with much delight. big bird hugs!

  2. I can't tell you how much I love this writing; these illustrations; what you're doing here. It's quite extraordinary. I keep being drawn back. I've been trying and failing to properly contextualise it for a couple of days. On reflection, I think that's a very good thing.


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