With Holly & Co
Just before Christmas I was invited down to Richmond for a meeting with the three lovely founders of Holly & Co, Holly Tucker, Carrie Gateshill and Gabriella Munro Douglas. I went down to talk about a project that is very special to me, one you might be aware of if you have listened to Holly’s podcast ‘Conversations of Inspiration’ in which I chat about it and how it has shaped what I do now. Link to the episode here: https://holly.co/podcast/zack-mclaughlin-paper-wood/
I have been chatting with Holly, Gabriella and Carrie for years now but unbelievably I had never been down to visit their Holly & Co headquarters, shop and cafe! All I can say is WOW! What a wonderful space they have created, a true reflection of all their beliefs and love in one place, I just love it! If you get a chance definitely pop down, they have a super shop with beautiful hand made artisan gifts, the cafe is so relaxed and homely with delicious cakes and coffee!! I love the old fashioned feel of the shop too, feels like it has always been there.
They have such a strong message about shopping independent and supporting all the small creative businesses out there and I love them for it!
After enjoying a delicious coffee as I was early, Holly came in and as ever was full of warmth and love, shortly followed by Carrie and Gabriella who all just have the biggest smiles and hugs, you instantly feel a part of the family.
We had a good old catch up and then started discussing the project they want to help me with, my book.
So those of you who have been following me for a while and know my story, you will know what this book is and why it is so important to me, but for those who don’t know what it is, I will explain briefly…
In my final year of University I decided to write and illustrate my own Children’s book, this Children’s book was called ‘Hairy and Scary’ and it depicts my experiences as a child with an abusive parent, growing up and ultimately freeing myself from the self doubt and emotions that come with it.
After this initial book was made by me, (nowhere near published) I went on to illustrate many other books for a few years as a freelancer and then after 5 years I decided to go back to it and re-illustrate/tweak the story and try to get it published. What transpired changed the course of my life creatively forever.
The boy in the story originally created his own plane to escape the monster holding him captive, but over the years the plane became more and more irrelevant to the story as it is a Robin that inspires him to fly away, so on further reflection I decided it should be a paper bird lantern he creates. In my illustrations I couldn’t get this bird lantern to look right so i went about making a large scale paper bird lantern out of pages from an old book, willow sticks and tissue paper so I could use it as reference to draw from. As I hadn’t made anything like this before it took me around 3 months, but when it was finished I realised this is what I want to be doing, crafting 3D birds out of paper, the spark was ignited.
Now another 5 years since then I am making paper birds daily and selling them all over the world, but ultimately I am always drawn back to the story that started it all and finishing it….
On hearing this story and it striking a note Holly told me she really wanted to help me get this book finally finished, published and into Children’s and parent’s hands alike, to spread the love and help who it can overcome their demons, as we all have some.
I couldn’t and still can’t believe how she and Holly & Co wanted to help and felt passionate about my book, with help from people like them I know it will happen! Thank you from the bottom of my heart guys!
So look out on my social feeds as well as on here, this year I will be working on this book and hope to release it sometime in the summer….