Friday 1 March 2024

Book Review: Seasons for the Soul - Spells of Nature

A gorgeous book full of art and insight about the natural world is published this month: Seasons for the Soul - Spells of Nature by Julia van den Bosch. Julia creates wonderful embroidered versions of flowers, leaves, butterflies, and mushrooms. This gorgeous hardback shows her creations as full-page colourful pictures that I've really enjoyed examining. It also offers oodles of information on the folklore and magic of plants, together with recipes and suggestions for ways to use them. 

This is how publisher Unicorn describes Seasons for the Soul:

"The beauty and magic of nature seen through the eye of a needle. Colours of flowers and shapes of plants; bleached grass and golden cornfields at harvest time; spiders webs on the structures of decayed seedheads; a metallic green chafer beetle landing on a deep crimson rose; a shooting star. Beguiling discoveries that are part of the world full of secrets, minute details and the sumptuous colours and textures of nature lend themselves to their translation into rich embroidery. This embroidered path of the seasons uses hand embroidery in its traditional role of storytelling to share nature’s gifts. Each stitch holds the emotion of the moment and keeps a record. The book tells the story of the companionship and healing offered by the seasons during the enforced isolation of the pandemic, and how it enabled the artist to find beauty in solitude."

The book follows the seasons from spring through summer and autumn into winter, showing the yearly cycle in all its glory, but focussing on the small things such as petals and insects. Julia includes crystals in her embroidery, and a chapter on what they mean. There's also a section on the history of embroidery, explaining how people from all times and cultures have depicted nature through stitchcraft.

On my blog and in my own book, Rounding the Wheel of the Year, I encourage people to spend time outdoors, and use art and craft as well as photography to record what they see. Like Julia, I believe creating beautiful things inspired by plants and animals is a way of tapping in to their magical energy.  Julia comes from a part of England I'm familiar with and love: Kent, which is an added reason I love her delightful book. 

You can view Seasons for the Soul - Spells of Nature on Amazon

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