Elementum is a beautiful treasure trove of words and imagery. This is not a read today – recycled tomorrow magazine, this is something dive into, immerse yourself in and ultimately cherish.
Reading it feels as if you are being drawn into each of the contributors’ worlds where there are legions of stories waiting to be told.
Now in it’s 4th edition, each Elementum journal focuses on a different theme that explores our connection with the natural world.
For Edition One, it is the call (or the song) of the ocean but also about finding and giving voice – to individuals, to the landscape and the creatures in it.
‘Calling’ draws together a collection of new writings, creative non-fiction, poetry and interviews rub along together and touch upon a sweeping range of nautical and natural narratives.
From the mythical song of the whale to the tidal pull of memory and place. From the ancient beats of Earth Singing to tales of boat building and brown bears, each chapter is beautifully enhanced by stunning original illustrations or photographs.
In Zennor Transformations Alex Woodcock explores this stretch of Cornish coast’s intrinsic, tangible links to the sea, while outlining the genus of the mermaid and how ancient superstitions can still reach out and touch our lives.
In another chapter we meet Alva, a graceful boat alive in the waters of the Carrick Roads. Anyone from the Falmouth area will remember the night that the old pier at the docks burnt down in 2003. So it was wonderful to learn that some of the salvaged wood has now found new life and new purpose as part of this hand-built cutter.
It’s the mutability of the sea, some metamorphosing property of its vast depths and breaths engrained on the collective psyche. Look out to sea for long enough and you might see what I mean. . . writing is like fishing – hours of waiting for something to happen, waiting to find out what will emerge from the sea.
I have been known to buy a book just for its cover or just because of the way it feels in my hands. Elementum is a journal filled with the comforting weight of stories well told, not only is it beautiful to look at but each chapter feels like you are being invited to share a secret.
Continuing with the theme of song, Rob Harrison-Plastow delves into the art of Earth Singing – that is singing to, for and in the landscape. From the Songlines of Aboriginal Australia to the Joiks of Northern Scandinavia, this chapter beautifully articulates the merging of song and the nature world and how music deepens our connection to the earth.
The songs are not a performance to be listened to, rather something to be affected and enriched by, our relationship to a place made stronger.
Rob Harrison – Plastow
With it’s very Cornish roots, Elementum was conceived, designed and printed in the county, and I can understand why this beautiful bi-annual journal has fast become a collectors item. With print publications struggling, in recent years there seems to be an emerging market which places the emphasis back on quality, design and beauty. Creating something the readers will want to handle and to keep but also where content is king.
The Forth Edition Shape is out this Summer and will look at the beauty of the fossilised form and how landscape shapes our souls. You can order it and all the other editions HERE
I was not paid for this review.
If you enjoyed this you might also like: Botanical Art with Scientific Illustration – Review of Sarah Jane Humphrey’s new book