• Jessica Bartlett

New Year 2018


New year’s day,

Looking forward/Looking back.

2017 was a year of small (but amazing) steps towards being more creative, I am proud of what I achieved and the things I have made. I hope 2018 will give me time to really get going and make all the things I have been daydreaming about. This is the year that my twins start at preschool. A monumental milestone which will allow me (and them) to stride out and explore new worlds. A new chapter is quite literally being written this January. Exciting. Having read a really interesting blog by Helen Thornber of The Unicorn Factory on the Freelance Mum website: www.freelancemum.co.uk/2017/12/21/quickest-easiest-way-stay-track-2018/ . I have decided to try to set a theme for this year to give gentle support to the plans I have in mind. I think 2018 is going to be about ‘Identity’. Who am I going to be in 2018? and what or who will I identify with? This year is going to be about me as a working mum. It is going to be about me realising my creative identity more than I ever have before.

In 2017 I started collecting leaves. A way to get me thinking and drawing again. People found and sent me leaves from all over the world. The poetic resonance of each leaf in my collection is beautiful. In 2018 I will realise the actual ‘book of leaves’ and I hope it will be as beautiful as the leaves given to me.

I was given a special leaf for my birthday at the end of last year and it is time to share this with you. These fragile remnants are a moment in time that echoes through my personal history. It holds a gentle power which is what my ‘book of leaves’ project was all about. You see it comes from my family tree. My grandfather was manager of a tea and rubber plantation in the hills of South India, it’s where my mum and Aunt grew up. The tea estate has long lived in my imagination from the stories and photographs. It holds an exotic magic of another time and place, which although unknown to me (the family returned to England in the 1960’s) is so familiar. My Aunt returned to her childhood home in Kerala in 1986, on her own personal pilgrimage, there she collected leaves from her father’s rubber trees as a memento. These are the leaves she has given me. They have crossed continents and survived decades and connect me in more ways than I could ever have imagined to my family history.




These are special leaves. These leaves are what this project are all about. These leaves are a moment time that is so beautiful and fragile as the veins of the leaves themselves.

This new year, I am thinking of the past and all the leaves that have come before. To how these leaves survived long enough to reach me at a point in my life I am thinking about how to identify myself as a creative and mother. I am thinking to the future and of how special this book will be and how I can’t wait to share it with you. I am thinking about collections, preservation and memory and what is important to me. I am mostly looking forward to creating new and beautiful things in the new year. Happy new year to you all.

#found #Bookofleaves #Memory #Leaf

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Jessica Bartlett Artist

37 Phillip Street

Bedminster

Bristol BS3 4EA

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© The Artist Jessica Bartlett 2020