York illustrator Lucy Monkman launches handy home project book to untap “creative potential of everyday life” and coffee cups

York illustrator and now book “creator” Lucy Monkman with her Pizza Box Bag with Buckle

YORK illustrator and art tutor Lucy Monkman will launch her debut book, Made By Hand At Home, at The Blue House Bookshop, Bootham, York, this afternoon from noon to 3pm.

Lucy, of Kilburn Road,  has illustrated a number of books but this “celebration of the creative potential of everyday life” is the first she has written.

She draws on her years of experience as a freelance illustrator and 15 years as an art tutor of primary-school children. “The book developed from projects I created for children when, in Spring 2020, we were first asked to stay at home,” she says. 

“As an illustrator, I work from home, so in a number of ways my working life was largely unchanged last year. As an after-school art club tutor, however, my teaching was put on hold.”

In the hope of helping parents, who found themselves home-schooling, Lucy started to offer ideas for art projects on her social media. Many of these projects used the food and drink packaging brought home by her own children.

“The first staying-at-home period gave rise to an extraordinary outburst of creativity around the world,” she says. “Artists and makers offered creative ideas to people who suddenly found themselves at home and many had children to educate and to entertain.

The book cover for Lucy Monkman’s Made By Hand At Home, “a wry social commentary on our times”

“The public response to these ideas clearly showed people’s desire to be creative and the benefits of creativity on our well-being.” 

Lucy’s book celebrates the creative potential of everyday life, whether it is via a humble loo-roll tube or a takeaway coffee cup, offering artistic projects that use recyclable materials in the home.

“It covers a wide range of subjects, including chapters on colour and shape, making decorations and creating cardboard characters,” she says.

Writer and educator Gayle Johnson says of Made By Hand At Home: ‘In part a compendium of creative ideas, in part an accessible art history and in part a wry social commentary on our times, this inspiring book is a must-read for parents, educators and everyone interested in the visual arts.

“It invites us to live differently and to notice our interactions with the things that surround us more closely.”

The late-July publication is timed to coincide with the start of the school summer holidays, when many families face another period of staying at home. The book is available at various York outlets, such as The Blue House Bookshop, or can be ordered via Lucy’s website, lucymonkman.com. 

What can you do with a takeaway coffee cup? Lucy has an idea…