Over the last few months wildlife has been making the most of the warmer weather and the wealth of food for their young, and I have been observing the visitors to my garden and our neighbouring meadow. Our visiting house martins have raised their young and the whole family can now be seen dashing through the skies, buzzards have been circling and dueling for territory, cautious rabbits step out from the hedgerows to eat freshly growing grass, and sparrows and finches are tweeting and pecking at seed left out on the table while nuthatches gather sunflower seeds and return with them to the trees. Putting out birdseed and shallow dishes of clean water for our garden visitors is a lovely way to ensure they have a source of food for raising their young before the seasons change. It also allows me the opportunity to carefully observe and photograph them from the window of my studio, perfect drawing references.
After the bustle and buzz of August, long summer days filled with sunshine and showers, we now come to September's softness, its lingering morning dew, and autumnal air. I find myself enamoured with each changing season as it gently sets in. September offers sapphires in the hedgerows, rosy apples in the orchard, turning copper canopies bedewed with tawny nuts and seed pods, rich drifts of late summer blooms, and darkening golden light in the evenings. Many of us are sad to see summer's departure but the dawning of autumn is wonderful in its own way. I've already started gathering flowers and early seed pods from my growing garden for drying...
Red 67 Book Project You may recall that earlier in the year I was asked by passionate conservationist, Yolo Birder, to produce a piece of art to feature in a new book project raising money for the 67 UK birds on the conservation concern list (also known as the Red List.) Funds from sales of the book and also the original artwork through an auction will go directly to the BTO and the RSPB. This project is a collaboration between 67 artists and 67 writers to raise awareness of the 67 magnificent birds whose populations are in severe decline.
My chosen bird from the Red 67 list is our most diminutive raptor, the merlin falcon. I haven't yet been fortunate enough to observe these beautiful birds of prey in the wild but I did some research before I put pencil to paper and found a local birds of prey sanctuary which has two young resident merlin falcons, one male, and one female. I got in touch and they allowed me to pay them a visit to study them and take photographs in a close-up environment which was such a privilege and really informed my initial drawings.
The book itself is due for publication later this year and cards and Giclee prints of my 'Merlin Falcons' will be available around the same time. Since taking part in the Red 67 book project I have learned more about the importance of the BTO and signed up as a member.
Events If you happen to be in Cornwall this month and would like to meet me in person, I'm taking part in a brand new event in my neighbouring town of Lostwithiel on Saturday 7th September - the Odette and Ollie Contemporary and Vintage Fair! I will be showcasing and selling my work alongside many talented artisans, makers, and vintage sellers. Between the Odette and Ollie Contemporary and Vintage Fair and all of the independent shops in Lostwithiel, you'll have plenty of opportunities to shop small and support handmade by exercising Just A Card!
Stockists First to feature is my nearest stockist, the Puddle Farm Shop in Lanlivery. Found less than a minute's walk from my home and studio, Puddle Farm Shop is owned by the lovely Melanie Broomfield. It's a volunteer-run farm and produce shop with a real emphasis on the locally-grown produce and handmade creations from our village and all over Cornwall. They sell handmade treasures, Cornish jams and preserves, teas and sweets, fruit and vegetables, plants and nets of logs, and I dare you to resist the smell of freshly baked bread once you step inside... This little treasure trove is not to be overlooked!
My second stockist to feature this month is one of my absolute favourites, Atticus and Willow in Lostwithiel! Previously known as Black Dog Antiques and Interiors, Atticus and Willow is owned by the lovely Melanie Askew and is brimming with nature-inspired handmade wares, gorgeous antiques full of character and story, and many luscious houseplants which envoke a real sense of calm and tranquility. Melanie runs terrarium workshops and is very knowledgable when it comes to the benefits of keeping houseplants in the home. Everytime I visit to drop off stock I find myself unable to resist its delights, and this marvellous building isn't just home to one shop filled with wonder, but two!! At the back of the shop is the wonderful Lost in Books, owned by lovely Amanda Davidge, home to the most treasured and carefully curated books which range from local interest and curiosities, nature reference and childrens books, to fiction and non-fiction titles in many subjects. Guest authors often feature for talks and books signings, and Amanda also runs a book club for passionate readers. I wholeheartedly recommend you pay these wonderful shops a visit! More of my stockists from Cornwall and further afield can be discovered here! Bit of a lengthy journal entry but I hope you've enjoyed it! If you would like to find out more about the day-to-day goings on from Thickets Studio you can follow my Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages for updates! I'd also be keen to hear what you think of my first journal post so that I can make improvements. Is there anything you would like for me to write about or feature? I'd love to know! Please feel free to get in touch via my contact page or using email@example.com.
I hope you have a lovely September!
Best wishes, Natalie