• undressing windows

Juliette and the dream of the clean white desk


Juliette is a children’s book illustrator and this is the window of her study which is sitting nicely at the centre of her Queen Anne house in a green and somewhat Bohemian London suburb. Below her twin daughters’ bedroom and above the slightly dark lounge with its high ceilings and aromatic original wood floorboards.

Juliette’s illustrations are colourful, deep and intricate. There is always a defined centre to them but the interesting parts are often in the background where she likes to hide little surprises, like little sweets that children will find but adults usually won’t take the time to notice (when they do they sometimes think that there is a hidden meaning to them and try to explain these to their kids. Of course there are none because what meaning can a ladybird on a leaf have?). She positions these hidden treats in specific places in perfect symmetry and creates these mandala-like menageries of colours and life.

The first thing that Juliette placed in her study was a large white corner desk top on minimal white metal trestles. The light was so lovely in that corner that Juliette wanted to keep her study all about the clear white desk. Empty. A gleaming open space with a few carefully curated inspirational pieces, confidently impactful against the chalky white background.

That lasted maybe a week.

kids school pictures. Cups of coffee. Pieces of paper of various importance. A rainbow of pencils and markers. Little trinkets dropped without a thought. An old chair that moved from the dining room to make room for cartwheels and must have felt safer by the window.

While Juliette was busy drawing her serpentine creations, life constructed them all around her lovely, clean, white fantasy of a desk. Her children and their friends would spend hours exploring the many scattered wonders that lay above and below but Juliette, an adult with work to get on with, paid them little attention.

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