It seemed such a long time ago that Phil told me of the title for the new diary and the images that he wanted for it. At the time it seemed such an ambitious undertaking, for him to write a complete story and to write sections for how each of the trees came about but it is now complete and goes to the printers next week. Then of course it was all the images he wanted. There were to be 21 tree images and then a few other more complex ones. The Enchanted Forest image was one that I had been working on for a while and we also had this idea of Gaia being a product of Yggdrasil, the world tree and so this image was created.
I had wanted to write this story for so long, part factual and part made up of myths and stories. It starts
when I am very young, learning of the trees of the forest and this learning continues throughout the diary and then with a main story at the start of each month, consisting of parts from the life of a forester. I had written the St. Melangell diary over an 18 month period but now I would only have a much shorter period to complete this second diary. I have loved being able to write this and think myself so lucky to have had the opportunity to have a real professional editor giving advice and gently pushing me in the right direction.
But back at the start in January this year I wrote the sections which would eventually become November and this is where I struggled. I had the bones of the story but I wrote parts out of time, this mean't that suddenly I found parts needed to be dropped or re-written. This part really was originally to be October for halloween but the story would not allow it as it slowly evolved.
The 21 images that would make up the inside month pages used the idea of the Tree Ogham and embraced many of the meanings and ideas behind this ancient alphabet. Each one was painted in watercolour and just held the seed of an idea for each of the trees, we had an idea to expand this next year and produce an oracle based around the stories and ideas Phil was writting. These 21 images were created over a three month period during summer this year.
The ideas for the stories came to me a few years back and I wanted to show how each tree of the first forest could communicate with each other and also with the creatures upon the planet. I started with the Birch tree, before really thinking about the Tree Ogham. The birch tree was always the pioneer tree allowing for all others to grow. It is a remarkable tree and I just had this idea of what people would think if they had never seen a tree before and how this tree came about.
And so the 21 stories started to grow from this one idea. I built them around the idea of there being to principle beings, one of the People and one of the Fae and the disagreements that came between them. We will show many more of these as the weeks go on but for now I hope this gives you some idea of what we have tried to achieve in the diary.