An accordion book doesn’t open, it unfolds. One side is filled with beautiful watercolour images of a otter: sometimes in motion, sometimes at rest. The other is filled with text – poems, descriptions, invocations – inspired by the otter. Together they work as spells to summon the spirit of the fox.
Jackie Morris has painted them using antique watercolours, some from boxes which hadn’t been opened for over 150 years, woken from their slumber like ‘Sleeping Beauty’ with a single drop of water.
‘One of the curious things that arose from The Lost Words was the wonderful group Spellsongs. Part of the performance with the band included me speaking the spell for otter and fox while the band played. It is a summoning of image through word and music. It looks easy but that is the result of hours and hours of practice, learning the shape of the fox and the shape of the otter. So, over weeks, months, I painted, using watercolour for foxes, sumi ink for otters, until I could almost paint them with my eyes shut. They do say to perfect an art form you need to spend 10,000 hours of practice.’ Jackie Morris