A Celebration of Nature Through the Seasons is a book written and illustrated entirely by hand, and took Laura Blackwood five years to complete. It is drawn from the landscape and environment around her home in the Scottish Borders and incorporates both personal observation and research into the botany, history and folklore of our natural heritage.
Each chapter explores a month of the year across 6 pages. Laura takes us on a guided walk through the countryside as the seasons change, showing us the wildlife you might expect to find and why it is of interest. After setting the scene with seasonal images such as golden fields at harvest time, or a garden under a blanket of snow, we are presented with illustrations of the plants, trees, birds, insects and fungi found in that month.
The book is not intended as a documentary of wildlife but is rather a window into the natural world, encouraging us to have curiosity and a sense of awe for our countryside. Laura interweaves natural history with stories of traditional plant use, seasonal rituals and lore, that map our changing relationship with the living landscape through time and highlight the importance of a meaningful connection with the natural world. In a time when life rarely allows for time outdoors or direct interaction with nature, the real threats to our countryside can seem abstract and beyond our responsibility. With detailed, vibrant and engaging illustrations A Celebration of Nature asks us to reconsider our relationship with nature, emphasises that rekindling this connection is not only vital and fascinating, but is also eminently possible.
The book is exclusively available as a limited edition with only 500 copies being published. It costs £150, plus the costs of posting.
It is cloth bound and true to the size of the original artwork, with pages measuring 345 x 250 mm (13.5in x 10in approx.). This includes 78 illustrated pages, printed on 170 gsm art paper. Each limited edition copy is numbered and signed by the artist and authenticated by the publisher. The first 150 copies that were sold before March 31st 2012 came with the option of having the purchasers name listed in the book as initial subscribers, carrying on the Victorian tradition made popular by Dickens.
Laura painted A Celebration of Nature on Whatman paper made in 1911. Her only other tools were watercolours, an array of fine brushes, a magnifying glass, a good eye, and a great deal of patience.