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'Drawn to nature' - Journal Making with Esther McManus

Posted by Emma Hughes on

We're excited to be running an entirely new kind of woodland workshop next April which goes by the name of 'Drawn to Nature'. As illustrators and designers ourselves, we wanted to develop a workshop for like-minded creatives to come and immerse themselves in nature, find inspiration and hopefully discover a more meaningful and deeper connection with the natural world. This day long workshop will be spent in the countryside, observing natural surroundings and documenting observations in a beautiful hand made Nature Journal. We'll meet in the woods around a campfire before taking a slow walk through the woodland, stopping here and there to engage in a series of creative exercises, taking time to notice the smaller details that are so often missed when walking with a destination or goal in mind. We'll end the day back around the campfire with more creativity and of course, a celebratory drink or two.

Drawn to Nature Journal Esther McManus Miscellaneous Adventures

'Drawn to Nature' will be lead by talented artist, teacher and small press publisher, Esther McManus. Esther attended our first ever Woodland Woodcarving Workshop and we are really looking forward to working with her. As well as teaching on the day, she is also hand making an exclusive Nature Journal for each of our workshop participants and has been documenting the process for us to share with you here:

'Drawn to nature' - Journal Making by Esther McManus

"In my creative work I learn as much from experiments with materials as I do from observing and reflecting in nature. These handmade nature journals are the start of my Drawn to Nature adventure, as they allowed Miscellaneous Adventures and I to think about the most desirable properties in a nature journal, and to explore how the books could be thoughtfully and lovingly produced. 
Drawn to Nature Journal Esther McManus Miscellaneous Adventures
I have been experimenting at the London Centre for Book Arts to make various prototypes and test them in the field, and over the course of December I will be making the final set of books for the workshop. The process itself is very magical and immersive, as it requires engagement with, and sensitivity to, the properties of the materials. Paper and cloth require attention to their grain direction, and processes such as foil blocking rely on a subtle balance between heat, pressure and timing to produce a clean impression.
Drawn to Nature Journal Esther McManus Miscellaneous Adventures
There were many parallels between these physical, embodied processes and the experiences I have out of doors, when drawing - an appreciation of the subtle things around me, the interconnectedness of living things, and a need to look closely. The exercises that Miscellaneous Adventures and I are preparing for Drawn to Nature will reflect upon this interest in observation, and the rich experience that can be had when we stop and engage with the environment around us. It felt necessary that the journals we use to record these experiences are equally mindful and sensorial, and we hope that you enjoy using them as much as we enjoy making them".
Drawn to Nature Journal Esther McManus Miscellaneous Adventures
Drawn to Nature Journal Esther McManus Miscellaneous Adventures
Thank you to Esther for documenting this process, we'll have more on the making of the journals over the next couple of weeks, including the magical process of marbling and a final look at the finished books. 
To book a place on the workshop and be one of the lucky few to own one of these beautiful journals, please click here.

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