I am delighted to announce Wilding a book by Isabella Tree featuring my illustrations all about the re-wilding project at Knepp.
My first visit to the Knepp wilding project was in early spring of 2022. The trees were still bare branches - the fields bleached by winter winds and the roaming long horned cattle still wearing their thick winter coats. But my first impression of Knepp was of a place packed with life. The twenty years of managing this land by Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree for the benefit of nature has resulted in a very special place. Every where I looked I found something of beauty and interest that inspired my artwork. I stayed in an extremely comfortable bothy that was set with in the middle of a small wood. The bothy looked out over a pond which was fringed with wild flowers. It had many visitors including red and fallow deer, wild exmoor ponies and flocks of geese . I was able to draw and observe the wildlife without leaving my temporary home. But when I did venture out there was even more to see, the scale of of the Knepp project is quite breathtaking. The estate fields have been transformed from traditional English farmland to a jungle of thickets and scrub. This new habitat providing homes to diverse range of birds, animals and insects.
I visited Knepp three times over the same year so I was able to see the seasons change, each time I visited I saw something new. The artwork I have created for the wilding book is a direct response to being spellbound by this beautiful place. Many of the Lino cuts were made on site , drawing directly onto the Lino and cutting it spontaneously as the images I saw were still fresh in my mind.
Knepp is a place of hope, it demonstrates the power of nature, that with help the natural world can regain a small foothold. To hear nightingales singing against the background hum of the M25 evidence of this. In the illustration work I have done for Wilding I have learned so much . But more than the factual information I hope my artwork conveys something of the emotions if feel about the countryside and a love of nature that we can all share.