Books to remember (5)

There are some books that will always stay with us. In this blog series, illustrators share a book that has made a big impression on them. Here, illustrator Elizabeth Olwen tells us which book she will never forget.

“I never thought that I would get a tattoo. You see, the things that inspire me and that I find beautiful can differ vastly from year to year, so I just never thought that I could commit to an idea or a motif that I would want on my skin forever. That changed, however, when I read All About Love by Bell Hooks.

It’s not often that a book comes along and actually changes your life, but the first time I read this book by Bell Hooks, I felt like a changed person. I read it once, then I read it again, and again, and now anytime I’m feeling a little lost, I pick up this (worn and weathered) book and it provides me with such great comfort. It’s a way of looking at love that is different than anything I’d come across before it.

Sometimes I feel that, nowadays, we are often disconnected from each other. I might go so far as to say that we, as a culture, are suffering from a certain lovelessness. But this book gives me hope. It provides a new model for love, and it redefines what love truly means and encourages us to connect with ourselves, with our loved ones, and with our communities in more meaningful ways. It has changed the way I look at love, and has helped me to embrace a more meaningful love ethic in my own life.

The book ultimately led to me have a tattoo: a tiny heart, on my wrist… It’s my little homage to this beautiful book and a reminder to myself to keep its message close to my heart.”

“I thought this design was appropriate for the book and my story.”

Elizabeth Olwen’s work is regularly featured in Flow (for example in issue 5 of the Flow Book for Paper Lovers), but you can find her patterns and designs on all manner of things. You can see examples of her work on her website. Elizabeth normally lives in Canada and is currently in Lisbon. She decided to stay there to see how changing her environment will affect her life and work.  

Illustration homepage: Jennifer Orkin Lewis