A Beautiful Mess: Weekday Weekend | RECIPE

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This is a funny and relatable narrative vegetarian cookbook for home cooks of all skill levels from the extremely popular blog A Beautiful Mess (over 1.5 million readers). Eighty yummy-healthy recipes for accessible meals from a trusted source are organised into “weekday”–five days without refined flours, sugars, alcohol, and dairy—and “weekend”–indulgent, flavoured foods. The book is divided into four parts—breakfast, meals, snacks and sweets, and drinks–and each part contains both a weekday and weekend chapter. More than 75 bright, naturally lit photos show plated food and some Beautiful Mess style (outfits, kitchen décor, tools) and ambiance (ingredients, interiors, surfaces, textures). Intended for an audience that’s not feeding a family every night, these recipes serve two.

The following recipes are from A Beautiful Mess: Weekday Weekend by Emma Chapman and Elsie Larson.


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Toasts (weekday and weekend) 

Welcome to the world of toasts. If you haven’t yet discovered the joys of a hot, crispy, nutty slab of bread spread with a meal-worthy second layer, you’re in for a treat that will serve you (literally) for many a perfect breakfast—and an endless possibility for toppings lends them equally well to snacks or light lunches. A logical progression of the classic toast and butter and jam, you can make them whatever you want, according to time of day, time of year, and what might be in season, all in minutes.

Below are half a dozen recipes for the toast of the toasts, featuring homemade spreads and an updated classic composition or two. The first four are for weekdays and three more indulgent recipes are for the weekend. The homemade spreads make enough to cover a few rounds of toasting; the composed toasts can be multiplied for as many eager diners as you have lining up at your table. Use good-quality whole-grain toast for all (we like Ezekiel brand), or make your own, like our Whole-Wheat English Muffins. The weekend Caprese toast indulges in a traditional white Italian loaf to match the ingredients.

  • Cashew Cream and Berry Toast 

Sweet and creamy on hot toast, this spread makes the perfect weekday replacement for French toast. Add a few more berries and an extra drizzle of honey, if you like.

Combine 1 cup [140g] raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for 1 hour and drained; ¼ cup [30g] fresh or thawed frozen raspberries (if frozen thaw thoroughly first); 2 Tbsp safflower oil; and 1 Tbsp raw honey in a blender and blend to a completely smooth purée. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  • Fried Egg and Avocado Toast 

This breakfast combo has become a new classic. So good and perfectly satisfying, it only takes about 10 minutes to make. For an even more no-fuss version, skip the egg and top with sprouts or toasted sun flower seeds.

Spread ½ tsp store-bought (no sugar added) or homemade mayonnaise thinly on warm toast. Scoop 1/2 ripe avocado on top and mash to cover the toast evenly. Sprinkle with pink Himalayan salt or sea salt. Top with 1 large egg, fried (or scrambled) however you like. Get it while it’s hot!

  • Red Pepper Hummus Toast

This healthy and satisfying spicy hummus is a bull’s-eye for a midweek craving. Spread on toast and drizzle with a little olive oil. It also makes a great snack paired with carrot sticks, celery, cucumber slices, or baked corn tortilla chips.

Combine 1 can [15 oz/430 g] chickpeas, rinsed and drained well; 1/2 cup [120 g] chopped roasted red pepper, homemade or drained jarred; 1/4 cup [55 g] tahini; 1/4 cup [60 ml] fresh lemon juice; 2 Tbsp water; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper; and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a blender or food processor and process to a completely smooth purée. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

  • Cinnamon-Almond Butter Toast

Making your own nut butters is way easier than you might think. This lightly spiced almond butter is amazing on warm toast. Top with a few fresh berries and it goes over the top!

Spread 2 cups [280 g] unsalted raw almonds on a baking sheet and bake in a 300°F [150°C] oven, until fragrant, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Let cool, then combine in a high-powered blender with 3 Tbsp safflower oil. Process until the almonds are finely ground. Add 1 Tbsp raw honey, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt and process until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

  • Creamy Caprese Toast

This toast is one of my favourite weekend treats. I don’t want to get dramatic, but I believe it might be the mother ship of all toasts . . . I think it will float your boat, too.

Spread 1 Tbsp cream cheese on a thick slice of toasted Italian loaf. Top with a slice of fresh mozzarella cheese, a slice of ripe tomato, a few torn basil leaves, a drizzle of olive oil, and a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

  • Goat Cheese, Fruit and Honey Crostini

I love how balanced and delicious this toast combo is—the sharp tang of goat cheese with honey and fresh fruit. Use whatever fruit is in season.

Spread a generous amount of goat cheese on each crostini. Top with your favourite seasonal fruits and a drizzle of honey.

  • Pink Cream Cheese Toast

This garlicky, savoury weekend spread is delicious, but the hot pink colour takes it to another plane of delight. Add slices of avocado or cucumber, if you like. You’re going to want to Instagram your breakfast—you may even want to paint its portrait!

In a food processor or blender, combine 8 oz [230 g] cream cheese, 1/2 cup [75 g] drained canned sliced beets, 2 tsp coarsely chopped garlic, and 1/2 tsp salt. Process to a completely smooth purée. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.


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A Beautiful Mess: Weekday Weekend is out from 07 November 2017. Find out more here.

200 WOMEN | Alicia Garza

9781452166582_3D (1)Interviews with 200 women from a variety of backgrounds provide a snapshot of female life around the globe. Interviewees include: • Jane Goodall, conservation and animal welfare activist • Margaret Atwood, author and winner of The Booker Prize • Roxane Gay, author and feminist • Renée Montagne, former host of NPR’s Morning Edition • Alicia Garza, activist and co-founder of Black Lives Matter • Alfre Woodard, award-winning actor and activist • Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children’s Defense Fund • Lydia Ko, professional golfer and Olympian • Dolores Huerta, labor activist, community organizer, and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association • Alice Waters, chef, author, and food rights advocate • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author and Macarthur Foundation fellow.

Each woman shares her unique reply to the same five questions: What really matters to you?, What brings you happiness?, What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?, What would you change if you could?, and Which single word do you most identify with?

With responses ranging from uplifting to heartbreaking, these women offer gifts of empowerment and strength – inviting us to bring positive change at a time when so many are fighting for basic freedom and equality. Each interview is accompanied by a photographic portrait, resulting in a volume that is compelling in word and image—and global in its scope and resonance. This landmark book is published to coincide with an interactive website, building on this remarkable, ever-evolving project. A percentage of the originating publisher’s revenue from book sales will be distributed to organisations nominated by the women featured in the book.

The following is an extract from 200 Women Who Will Change the Way You See the World, edited by Ruth Hobday, Geoff Blackwell, Sharon Gelman and Marianne Lassandro, photographs by Kieran Scott.


© 2017 Kieran E. Scott kieranscottphotography.com
© 2017 Kieran E. Scott kieranscottphotography.com
Alicia Garza

Alicia Garza was born in Carmel in California, USA. She is an activist and organiser based in Oakland, California. In 2013, Garza co-founded Black Lives Matter (BLM), an ideological and political organising network campaigning against anti-black racism and violence. In 2016, she and her two BLM co-founders were recognised in Fortune’s World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. Garza is the director of special projects for the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She is also an editorial writer, whose work has been featured in publications including The Guardian, The Nation, The Feminist Wire, Rolling Stone and Huffington Post.

Q. What really matters to you?

I want to be able to tell my kids that I fought for them and that I fought for us. In a time when it’s easy to be tuned out, it feels really important to me to be somebody who stands up for the ability of my kids – of all kids – to have a future.

The other thing that really motivates me is wanting to make sure we achieve our goals. As I was coming up as an organiser, we were told we were fighting for something we might never see in our lifetime. I’m just not satisfied with that; I think change can happen much faster, but it requires organisation, and an understanding of power and how we can shift it from its current incarnation. We need to transform power, so that we’re not fighting the same battles over and over again. This is what I wake up thinking about every single day. And every night when I go to sleep, I’m thinking about how we can get closer to it tomorrow.

Women inspire me to keep going. My foremost in influence was my mother; she initially raised me on her own, having never expected to be a parent at twenty-six. She taught me everything I know about what it means to be a strong woman who is in her power. I’m also very much in influenced by black women throughout history. I’m inspired by Harriet Tubman, not only for all the work she did to free individual slaves – which, of course, was amazing – but for everything she did to eradicate the institution of slavery, the alliances she built to do so and the heartbreaks she endured in pursuit of her vision. And it’s not only women in the United States who inspire me. In Honduras in 2016, Berta Cáceres was murdered while pursuing her vision of ecological justice and a better life for the people in Honduras being preyed upon by corporations and the United States government.

Black Lives Matter has been a big part of my activism. When it came onto the scene, there was a lot of pushback; people responded by saying, ‘All lives matter.’ I think the intensity of these reactions against Black Lives Matter is a testament to how effective our systems are in isolating these kinds of issues – they make them seem as though they impact individuals, as opposed to entire communities. The all-lives-matter thing is simultaneously fascinating and infuriating to me, because it’s so obvious. Obviously all lives matter; it’s like saying the sky is blue or that water is wet. But, when people say, ‘Actually, all lives matter,’ it feels like a passive-aggressive way of saying, ‘White lives matter.’

People seemed shocked that police brutality was an issue, but I thought, ‘Um, where have you been?’ The police are supposed to serve all communities, but instead, they aren’t accountable to black communities in the same way they are to white communities. The United States is rooted in profound segregation, disenfranchisement and oppression in pursuit of profits. And it feels like the country is being powered by amnesia.

Q. What brings you happiness?

My community – absolutely. This includes both of my families, blood and chosen – because my family is also my friends, the people I’ve been through things with. These are the people who stand with me, support me and love me. They are the people who feed me, and we just let each other be, because we understand each other.

Q. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

I’d call it capitalism. There is nothing on earth that makes people as miserable, that kills people as avidly and that robs people of their dignity so completely as an economic system that prioritises profits over human needs. Capitalism prioritises profits over people and over the planet we depend on. There are millions and millions of people living on the streets without homes because of capitalism. And there are millions and millions of people suffering from depression and other emotional and mental afflictions because of it – because the things we are taught should drive us and make us happy are unattainable for the majority of people on this planet. Capitalism shapes every understanding you have of who you are and of what your value is. If you have no monetary value – if you can’t sell something that you produce in this economy – then you are deemed unusable, unworthy and extraneous. There is no other force in the world that is so powerful and that causes so much misery for so many people.

Q. What would you change if you could?

I would start with all of the people who are suffering right now. I would give whatever is needed to every mama who is living in a car with her kids and is trying to figure out how she’s going to make it another day – if not for herself then for the people who depend on her. I would give to all the people who are dying in the deserts right now, trying to cross artificial borders pursuing what they think will be a better life here in the United States – if I had a wand I’d make it so that that journey was easier and that there wasn’t punishment on both sides. In fact, I would ensure that no one ever had to leave their homes in pursuit of survival – they would have everything that they needed right there at home.

The other area I would work on is within our own movements. I spend a lot of time thinking about how we could be clear about what we’re up against and how we each fight it differently; I think about how we can advance our goals without tearing each other up along the way. So, if I could wave a wand, I would also change some of the suffering of organisers and activists in our movements who are tired and burned out, who feel disposable and don’t feel seen.

Q. Which single word do you most identify with?

Courage. It takes real tenacity to be courageous.


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200 Women is out from 31 October, find out more here. You can view the official project website here, which includes the trailer and additional extra media content. Follow 200 Women on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

A GLORIOUS FREEDOM | INTERVIEW WITH CHERYL STRAYED

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The glory of growing older is the freedom to be more truly ourselves—with age we gain the liberty to pursue bold new endeavors and worry less about what other people think. In this richly illustrated volume, bestselling author and artist Lisa Congdon explores the power of women over the age of forty who are thriving and living life on their own terms. Profiles, interviews, and essays from women—including Vera Wang, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Julia Child, Cheryl Strayed, and many more—who’ve found creative fulfillment and accomplished great things in the second half of their lives are lavishly illustrated and hand-lettered in Congdon’s signature style. The perfect gift for women of all ages, A Glorious Freedom celebrates extraordinary lives and redefines what it means to gain wisdom and maturity.

The following is an extract from A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon.


Cheryl’s famous memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail was published when she was 43 years old. It took her two and a half years to trace the steps, challenges, and revelations she faced during her three-month, 1,100-mile hike from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Northwest onto paper—and about two minutes for the finished book to land on the New York Times bestseller list. In the months following, Cheryl experienced instant fame—from Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 to the film adaptation championed by Reese Witherspoon and Nick Hornby, Wild went, well, wild. It is an international bestseller and a recipient of the Barnes & Noble Discover Award and the Oregon Book Award. Cheryl is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough. Her first novel, Torch, was published in 2007. Her essays have been published in the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post, Vogue, and Tin House, among others, and her work has been selected three times for inclusion in the The Best American Essays. She anonymously authored The Rumpus’s popular Dear Sugar advice column from 2010 to 2012, for which she now cohosts a podcast. She currently lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

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Lisa: You worked for many years at writing, and it wasn’t until just a few short years ago, in your early 40s, you published the book that made you a household name. I encounter a lot of young artists who imagine that if they just concoct some magical formula they can have “instant success.” How would you describe the role of purpose, work, and patience in your own journey?

Cheryl: I was a successful writer long before Wild was published. What happened with Wild wasn’t “success.” It was crazy lightning striking. I’m always taken aback when people imply that I achieved success in my 40s. In fact, I had a pretty steady upward career trajectory as a writer, and all of that came about because, as you say, I showed up each day to do the work. I began publishing in my 20s. By the time I was in my early 30s I had won many awards and grants, and was publishing in respected magazines, and I’d earned my MFA in creative writing. In my mid-30s I sold my first novel to a major publisher and it was broadly reviewed and sold well. Meanwhile, I was continuing to publish essays in prominent places and I was also teaching writing.

I was known in the literary community. Then Wild happened and with that came fame and a much broader international audience. It was astounding and glorious, but it didn’t, for me, mark the beginning of the sense that I’d arrived as a writer. I was already there and I’m still here—working my tail off. That’s the magic formula: work.

Lisa: One of the most life-changing lessons I’ve learned over the past ten years is the power of embracing all of my life experience, and this is something you write about as well. Why is this idea of owning and learning to love all of your experience (even the stuff that makes us cringe or that would normally make us feel shame), why is it so important?

Cheryl: I’ve long believed our mistakes and failures teach us as much as our victories and successes. When you acknowledge the full spectrum of your possibility—as both someone who can be great and as someone who is sometimes not so great—you can bring the full force of your humanity to everything you do.

Lisa: What for you is the best part of getting older?

Cheryl: Feeling more secure about who I am. Feeling stronger about being okay with disappointing people. Putting up less of a facade. Being gentler with myself and others, too.

Lisa: What do you think is the relationship between forgiveness and the ability to age joyfully?

Cheryl: I’ve written about forgiveness a lot and it all pretty much boils down to the fact that when you can’t forgive people who have harmed you (or forgive yourself for the harm you’ve done to others) you stay locked in that struggle. Forgiveness is, to me, really acceptance. Accepting that what’s true is true. It’s saying, this is the way it was and onward we go.

Lisa: What are the three greatest lessons you’ve learned in the last ten years?

Cheryl: 1. Saying no is one form of saying yes. 2. Our ideas about famous people are projections of who we are, not a reflection of who they are. 3. Everyone struggles. Everyone hurts. Everyone wants to be told it’s all going to be okay.

Lisa: What advice do you have for women who fear getting older?

Cheryl: The fear of getting older is about the false notion that one’s power was rooted in the things that youth offers us—namely, beauty. My advice would be to see that for the lie that it always was. Our power is never about how pretty we are. Our power is about how we live our lives. Start living it.


A Glorious Freedom by Lisa Congdon publishes on 03 October 2017. Find out more here. 

See the stunning book trailer here

BÄCO | RECIPE

130 recipes that redefine the way we think about flavour. Visually stunning and conceptually fresh, this is the cookbook of the season from Josef Centeno, the chef credited with capturing the myriad tastes of Los Angeles on the plate. Recipes span from simple to show stopping, exploring sauces, soups, mains, salads, and desserts, too. More than 130 vivid photographs convey the beauty and excitement of Chef Centeno’s extraordinary cooking. Josef Centeno is the chef and owner of Bâco Mercat, Bar Amá, Orsa & Winston, Ledlow, and P.Y.T. In Bäco, he draws on his multicultural heritage, formal training in top-notch restaurants such as Manresa and Daniel, a lifelong obsession with cookbooks, and his insatiable curiosity. Centeno’s cooking layers textures and explores how spices and sauces can be used to transform the most basic vegetables.

The following recipe is from Bäco by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock, photographs by Dylan James Ho


 

 

Photographs by Dylan James Ho
Photographs by Dylan James Ho
Sautéed peaches and shishito peppers
with goat cheese, cashews, and saffron honey

Peaches and shishito peppers seem an unlikely combination. But the ripe, oral fruit and the mildly peppery Japanese chile both peak in summer and are oddly great together—a little sweet with a little spice. They also make for an interesting textural contrast: one yielding and juicy and the other slightly crunchy. It’s easy to get a lot of good charred browning on shishito peppers because they’re especially thin-skinned compared with other pepper varieties. The edges of the peaches get nicely caramelised. Creamy, tangy goat cheese goes with the sweetness of the peaches and the smokiness and heat of the shishito peppers. They’re mixed with crunchy cashews, and the dish is finished with lemon juice and musky- oral saffron honey.

SERVES 4

  • 1/4 cup [35 g] whole cashews
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 5 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into wedges
  • 1 cup [70 g] shishito peppers
  • Salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 cup [5 g] fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/3 cup [4 g] fresh chervil
  • 1/3 cup [4 g] fresh tarragon leaves
  • 3 Tbsp crumbled fresh goat cheese
  • 1/2 Tbsp saffron honey (recipe follows)

Heat the oven to 350°F [180°C]. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a small baking dish and place on a middle rack in the oven. Roast, stirring the nuts once for even cooking, until toasty and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop and set aside.

Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter melts and begins to foam, add the peaches and shishito peppers and sear, turning once with a spatula, until the edges are well browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Pour off the butter from the pan and transfer the peaches and shishito peppers to a bowl. Toss with a pinch of salt and half of the lemon juice. Transfer half of the peaches and shishito peppers to a platter and sprinkle with half of each of the parsley, chervil, tarragon, cashews, and goat cheese.

Top with the remaining peaches and shishito peppers and sprinkle the remaining parsley, chervil, tarragon, cashews, and goat cheese on top. Drizzle with the remaining lemon juice and saffron honey. Serve immediately.

Photographs by Dylan James Ho
Photographs by Dylan James Ho

Fennel honey

Infusing a savory element into honey makes it that much more versatile. In dishes where honey might otherwise be just a little too cloying, it is instead
a little more nuanced. Use fennel seeds, fresh thyme or rosemary, saffron threads, long pepper, cubeb pepper, Sichuan pepper, lemon zest, mint, ginger, or dried chiles—these all add another layer of flavor to oral honeys. I use saffron, fennel, or cubeb pepper honey mixed into yogurt or drizzled on fried dishes such as ricotta fritters or crispy battered boquerones (marinated anchovy fillets).

MAKES 1⁄2 CUP [150 G]

1/2 cup [150 g] honey 2 tsp water
1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Put the honey, water, and fennel seeds in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for 30 seconds, then immediately remove from the heat. Strain into a small lidded jar and discard the seeds. Store at room temperature for several weeks.

VARIATION

Cubeb honey, saffron honey, and fennel pollen honey: Substitute 1/2 tsp cubeb pepper or 1/2 tsp saffron threads (mixed with 2 tsp water). Or substitute a pinch of fennel pollen; stir in the pollen during the last few seconds of heating (do not strain).


Bäco by Josef Centeno and Betty Hallock, photographs by Dylan James Ho is out now  – find out more here.

Learn about STAR WARS™ KIRIGAMI with Marc Hagan-Guirey

Get FOLDING for Force Friday II…

In STAR WARS™ KIRIGAMI, celebrated paper artist and designer Marc Hagan-Guirey applies his genius to the Star Wars galaxy in this book of 15 unique kirigami (cut and-fold) ships featured in the saga’s films. Ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert, each beautifully detailed model features step-by-step instructions and a template printed on cardstock—all that’s needed are a utility knife, a cutting mat, and a ruler!

Curious?

We asked Marc everything you need to know about the world of kirigami, getting started with the craft and his interest in Star Wars:

Photograph by Seamus Ryan
Photograph by Seamus Ryan

What is kirigami?

Kirigami is a bit like origami except that instead of just folding the paper, you cut it too. ‘Ori’ - means fold and ‘kiri’ means cut. Kirigami is traditionally used to create architectural replicas but it’s perfectly suitable for spaceships too! The cool thing about kirigami is that it’s just one sheet of paper – nothing is glued or added to it. It’s part of the joy that you can create something so interesting from a ubiquity of a piece of paper.

How did you get started creating kirigami?

I feel like it was a bit of a serendipitous moment that lead to me experimenting with the craft. I’m a big fan of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright and back in 2012 my partner and I told a few white lies to get a private tour of one of his most elusive buildings – the Ennis House in LA. It was a condemned building and had been out of bounds to the public for over 20 years. We may have told them we had the $14 million needed to buy it and were very keen to come and see it. The experience had a huge impact on me – I’d go as far as saying it was spiritual. I wanted to mark the occasion by making some of sort of memento. As a kid I always loved to craft, my currency was egg cartons, toilet roll tubes and cereal boxes (it still pains me to see these things put in the recycling) but as an adult we all know too well that life gets in the way. I’m a designer director in digital but I still had that yearning to use my hands again. When I was researching what to make, I happened upon examples of kirigami. I felt paper was the perfect material to make a replica of the Ennis House due to its fragility. I quickly saw that kirigami wasn’t just limited to buildings and I started making scenes from movies.

Is your book suitable for complete beginners of kirigami?

There are a few ‘beginner’ projects in the book to get you started. I feel kirigami is easy to advance in and you’ll soon want more challenging projects. The most important thing is to be patient, take breaks and enjoy the process. I find it meditative to concentrate and not be distracted by the ‘coke machine glow’ of mobile devices.

Do you need any special tools to do kirigami?

You need a few inexpensive things – a cutting matt, a metal ruler, an x-acto knife with replaceable blades. Also a toothpick will be really useful to pop out some of the smaller folds.

Why did you decide to create Star Wars ships using kirigami?

Why not?! It was more of a necessity for me. I was already creating Star Wars kirigami back when I started experimenting with it. The idea to do a ship focused book was suggested by Mike Siglain, the Creative Director of Lucasfilm publishing – he’s a man with good ideas.

Have you always been a Star Wars fan?

I’ve always been a Star Wars fan and was essentially born into it. I’m an 80s kid so never saw it first time around at the cinema but I have an older brother who was the right age. I feel a bit guilty now for commandeering all of his original Kenner action figures – it must have been torture for him to see his baby brother destroy them but I did just buy him a full scale licensed replica of Vader’s helmet for his 40th birthday so I think we’re even now.

How did the book come to be?

A lot of knocking on doors and badgering people with emails. I started talking to Lucasfilm about the idea in 2014. During that time I was invited to the set of Episode VII and in a serendipitous moment I ended up chatting to JJ Abrams about my work. He was really excited by it and frog marched me across the set of ‘Star Killer’ base to meet Kathleen Kennedy. It was the only time I ever had a business card in my wallet – albeit a very dog-eared one. I had an unofficial exhibition of Star Wars kirigami scenes in 2015 – it had a lot of press and went viral. Lots of big media outlets such as the BFI, Wired, BBC World News, CNN were covering it. I guess it was inevitable that Disney took notice and that dog-eared business card eventually made its way to the business development department. I thought I was in trouble when they called! I’ve got to say the process of working with Disney, Lucasfilm, my publisher Hachette and my US publisher Chronicle has been wonderful.

Click here to find out more about STAR WARS KIRIGAMI, which publishes today!

When an Elephant Falls In Love

2016 hasn’t been the most joyous of years, but we are here to help things end with a little hope and a lot of L.O.V.E.

Introducing, When an Elephant Falls in Love by Davide Cali, illustrated by Alice Lotti.

When an elephant falls in love, he does many foolish things…

 

When an Elephant Falls in Love...
© 2016 by Chronicle Books LLC.
He hides when the elephant-object of his affection is around.
He writes dozens of letters that he will never send.
And he tries to be healthy, but ends up finishing the cheesecake…
When an Elephant Falls in Love
© 2016 by Chronicle Books LLC.

This soulful picture book is relatable and revealing; an adorable reminder that love is worth striving for and that the very best things in life will come to those who wait.

On sale 20th December 2016, a perfect last minute stocking-filler.

When An Elephant Falls In Love

When An Elephant Falls In Love by Davide Cali and Alice Lotti, published by Chronicle Books, on sale 20/12/2017.

All Black Cats are Not Alike.

As a cat lover you know all cats have their own unique personalities: Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle have create a book; All Black Cats are Not Alike, to celebrate these diverse personalities, specifically the personalities of 50 black cats.

Meet Blackness/Batwing, Sashi, Ringo and Rashid/Dr. Startlepants.

The following is an excerpt from All Black Cats are Not Alike by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle.

 

Blackness/Batwing
© 2016 by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle

Blackness/BatWing is guilty.

Blackness/BatWing is responsible for the missing hamburger patty. At two-and-a-half, he’s the baby of a houseful of animals just north of Pittsburgh: four cats (Jynx, Wibbles, Kowalski, Effie) and two German Shepherds (Ziggy, Morgan). He sometimes comes to visit All Gray Cat Baboo and Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy Rasko. He does not like to be snuck up on and will jump 10 feet in the air if this happens. He likes donuts, car rides and Christmas. He’s been seen wearing a knit scarf.

 

Sashi
© 2016 by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle

Sashi is scheming.

A shy beauty of Siberian descent, Sashi lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn, with four humans: two large, two small. She yells at the woman in the morning and the man at night. She is starting to manipulate the kids. Sashi is 15 years old but looking great, often mistaken for 12. She enjoys freeze-dried chicken by candlelight and full-body rubs. She does not enjoy overachievers, beef or pork.

 

Ringo
© 2016 by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle

Ringo has just landed.

Though silky, jet-black young Ringo is an easygoing boy, he always looks somewhat startled. When he arrived at Meow Parlour—where he and fellow ABCs Ronaldo and Kim were all adopted and sponsored to appear in this book—he had a single white whisker on each side. One day he lost one of them and seemed very upset by the asymmetry. Until he lost the other. The 1-year-old puppycat personality, a Taurus, likes snuggling, soccer and yellow submarines. He dislikes magnetic anomalies.

 

Rashid/Dr. Startlepants
© 2016 by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle

Rashid/Dr. Startlepants is collecting data.

Science is the driving force in the life of Rashid/ Dr. Startlepants. He is a mad scientist genius who would rule the world if he could do it from under the covers. His biggest love and his biggest phobia are the same thing: strange phenomena. Even before his tail has returned to normal size, he will sneak up on whatever he encountered, closely observing its behavior until it gives up its secrets. He likes vanilla cupcakes and talking smack at his archnemesis, a crow who sits on the roof across the street. He lives in Seattle with humans Beverly and Rick and tabby sister Surya, who is also his lovely assistant under her nom de science, Miss Smackwiggins.

 

All Black Cats are Not Alike by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle is available now.

All Black Cats are not Alike

 

Celtic Tales

Kate Forrester, illustrator behind the bold illustrations in Celtic Tales, talks inspiration, loving what you do and the beauty that comes from stepping out of your comfort zone.

Celtic Tales_Book Cover

Every now and then I get sent a commission that really allows me to push the boat out and create something really special. So often my jobs are very heavily art directed and don’t require as much imagination as you would think but this was no such project.

Before I had even got my hands on the manuscript, I knew this project was going to be right up my street! When i spoke to Emily, the designer from Chronicle, I knew we would be approaching this with the same vision. As well as illustrating the stories, she wanted me to design various patterns and bring the traditional Celtic knot work into my work and those are the kind of details i adore. I knew that it would work well to keep the illustration quite simple and the colours flat – my work is often likened to paper cuts or silhouette art – so this balanced nicely with the decorative borders and end papers she had in mind. Despite the traditional nature of the tales, I knew from the start that i didn’t want my illustrations to be too quaint or conventional so this was a challenge to overcome.

Once I read the manuscript, I was even more excited to be asked to illustrate such a rich collection of stories. There were sea monsters, princesses and even a 3 headed giant! Being very character driven, it was quite different to my usual commissions which tend to involve hand lettering as the main starting point. But it was refreshing to do something different and out of my comfort zone.

As luck would have it, right about the time I accepted this job,there was a big exhibition at The British Museum on the art and identity of The Celts. It was such a perfect start to my research. The exhibition was brilliant – dark and atmospheric and featuring lots of knot patterned metal and ceramic tools in pleasing shapes.

The way I work is to sketch out the rough layout of each story illustration using pencil and pen on paper and fill in heavy areas of dark shades to make sure they are more or less balanced designs. I do not keep my sketches and they are not beautiful!

Rough Sketches_Celtic Tales

 

But I was happy to know that my roughs were accepted pretty much as they were with very little amends before moving on to the final images.
The next stage for me was to develop the colour scheme as this was to tie all the tales together and was to be quite limited (I think there are only 8 or 9 shades in the whole book.) I also saw this as a chance to inject a more modern element to the book with some nice clashing shades of coral pink and mustard yellow. Colour is always important in my work but for this project it was vital to get it right!

Celtic tales Colour scheme

I guess the most laborious (but satisfying!) part of the task was researching and re-imagining the Celtic knot borders. Luckily my research at the British Museum had  left me with a wealth of books and visual reference to draw from. Once the 16 designs were complete, the cover was a breeze. I simply chose my 4 favourite characters from the stories and used them as a starting point to fit in the rough layout given to me by Emily.

celtic tales_blog post

We tried a few different colour ways but i was very pleased when my favourite coral and teal version was chosen for the final jacket.

celtic tales_alt covers

It was a dream project and I was so excited when the final book landed on my desk this week. I just hope everyone else enjoys reading those crazy , wonderful tales as much as I did!

We think you did an incredible job Kate! 

Find out more about Kate and Celtic Tales here.

chronicle-books-celtic-tales-57d2c256f2ca6chronicle-books-celtic-tales-57d2c24970714chronicle-books-celtic-tales-57d2c24955afd

 

Tell Me a Tattoo story.

Tell Me a Tattoo Story

“I love this book. It is original, unique and a ‘it’s about time’ kind of a book!” Treasures of Picture Books

A bestselling author-illustrator duo join forces to create a modern father-son love story. The father tells his little son the story behind each of his tattoos, and together they go on a beautiful journey through family history. There’s a tattoo from a favourite book his mother used to read him, one from something his father used to tell him, and one from the longest trip he ever took. And there is a little heart with numbers inside-which might be the best tattoo of them all.

Tell Me A Tattoo Story Internals

Tell Me A Tattoo Story Internals

Tell Me a Tattoo Story Internals

Tell Me a Tattoo Story by Alison McGhee and Eliza Wheeler is out now. Pick-up your copy any good bookstore and online.

What’s It Like In Space? Stories from Astronauts Who’ve Been There.

What's It Like In Space Book cover.

What’s It Like in Space?

Leaky Suits

LEAKY SUITS

The early male astronauts often had leaky spacesuits. They would frequently complain about their urine leaking intoother areas of the suit. For a while, no one could figure out what was wrong with the spacesuits. NASA eventually realized the leaking was due to the oversized condom catheters the astronauts were using.Turns out that when the astronauts were asked by doctors what size they needed, they would often ask for “large.”

Which Way is Up

WHICH WAY IS UP?

In space, you need to decide which way is up. Unlike the spaceships of science fiction, the space stations of reality use every available wall for storage: no walkways, no ceilings, no empty corridors. Orbiting astronauts find that they have to consciously choose which direction they want to treat as “up” when working on various tasks such as fixing broken items, conducting experiments, and even meeting with fellow astronauts.

Share your own space facts with us using #WhatsItLikeInSpace. Plus, discover more stories and facts with Ariel Waldman’s magnificent little book, available to buy in all good bookstores and online.