In 2007 Tessa Duder brought together almost all of Margaret Mahy’s marvellous writing in verse for the first time in one book. Harper Collins were the publishers, and I was invited to illustrate the
collection. It was a great honour and a huge task which took over a year to complete.
The breadth of Margaret’s poetry posed special challenges. Usually when working on a book there is one world, one set of characters, a general direction to the whole adventure. The Word Witch traverses many worlds with a host of characters and moods but throughout it all, Margaret’s voice and vibrant personality is unmistakable.
When the book was completed, Kathryn Mitchell, the then curator of the Ashburton Art Gallery approached me and asked if she could
purchase all the Word Witch artwork for the Gallery’s collection. She also put together a touring exhibition entitled ‘The Making of the Word Witch: The Poetic and Illustrative Magic of Margaret Mahy and David Elliot’. The Exhibition toured nine civic galleries and has now returned to its permanent home in Ashburton.