With Christmas just around the corner, it may be that our levels of stress are increasing in line with trying to find the ‘perfect’ gift for your friends and loved ones.
We’d like to start by saying that the last few years have been somewhat difficult for many of us, and no-one should feel obligated to buy anything, especially if you’re already having to budget for everyday things. If you do find yourself overwhelmed and struggling then please do reach out to services like the Samaritans who offer a free 24/7 helpline on 116 123 to be put in contact with a trained professional; your wellbeing comes first.
If you know that your loved one is a book aficionado, especially one who dotes over the cover artwork of their favourite book (or even one who picks a book based solely on its design), then why not get creative and buy them a piece of art that matches their literary sensibilities? This blog will give you a few pieces to help inspire and excite you for the holiday to come!
1. Raynor Win, The Salt Path + ‘Holding Hands Like We Used To’ by Sam Toft
A true story about grief and love, The Salt Path tells the story of an ordinary couple who, after finding out that the husband is terminally ill with a neurodegenerative disease, become homeless due to financial loss and decide to embark on a journey around the South West coast from Somerset to Dorset. We’ve paired this with Sam Toft’s touching painting that perfectly encapsulates the idea of love, support, and togetherness that is emphasised throughout the book. Just be sure to keep a box of tissues handy!
2. Bernardine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other + ‘In My Bubble’ by Jen Allen
A Sunday Times bestseller, Evaristo’s exciting book explores the lives of 12 different characters, all of whom are connected in one way or another, with themes of intersectionality, racism, feminism, and gender at its core. It is also one of Barack Obama’s favourite books of 2019! We’ve paired this with Jen Allen’s ‘In My Bubble’, which celebrates women of colour in a bold and unreserved way that neither undermines the aesthetic nor underplays the importance of representation in contemporary art.
3. Isabella Tree, Wilding + ‘Heart of Gold’ by Aaminah Snowdon
Another non-fiction book, Wilding is a crucial addition to the sustainability efforts in the UK, and follows the life of Tree and her husband who decided to stop trying to control their farmland and allow nature to run its course. The result of this saw a huge increase in wildlife and biodiversity in the vast land that spans across 3,500 acres. This goes perfectly with Aaminah Snowdon’s ‘Heart of Gold’ as our apiary population is at critical risk of becoming endangered, with recent studies showing that the average lifespan of the honeybee has almost halved. The beautiful acrylic strokes add vibrancy and a uniqueness that would sit perfectly in any room in your home.
4. Colin Dann, The Animals of Farthing Wood + ‘Red Fox Study’ by Anthony Dobson
Perhaps more famously known for its TV adaptation, The Animals of Farthing Wood was first a series of books that were published in the late 70s, the series illustrates the harrowing tales of various fauna that live in the woods, who agree to go on a journey together to find a safe haven in the form of a nature reserve after their original habitat is destroyed by humans. Both the book and the adaptation served to remind us of the fragility of our ecosystem, and the beauty of every wild animal in Britain. Anthony Dobson offers a wonderful collection of vividly accurate original paintings and prints of British wildlife and ‘Red Fox Study’ is no exception. Using oils on canvas, this poignant piece reminds us of the central characters Fox and Vixen, and the beauty and grace these creatures possess.
5. Joan G. Robinson When Marnie Was There + Gary Walton ‘Midnight at Durdle Door’
This fictional book follows a young girl who moves to the Norfolk coast to heal from an illness. Whilst there, she meets a girl named Marnie who lives in a house overlooking the marshes and the pair begin a friendship. We won’t disclose any spoilers, however the story explores themes of loneliness and isolation (something that we are perhaps all too familiar with in recent times), and has a twist of fantasy and humour as well. Gary Walton’s work is anything but ordinary; with his paintings frequently being set along the coast where houses sit precariously atop thin structures and clifftops. ‘Midnight at Durdle Door’ evokes a sense of intrigue and whimsy, as well as isolation, expansiveness, and tranquillity which ties in with the book’s central themes.