Maia Walczak’s childhood summers were spent in Poland in a cabin in the woods built by her grandad, CzesÅ‚aw. ‘I was born in London, but the memories and nostalgia that I have from my childhood are wrapped up in that cabin,’ says Maia. ‘That way of life stayed with me. We had an outdoor compost toilet and the running water for bathing was so cold! We would heat it over the fire to wash outside – pouring buckets of water over ourselves; if it was warm enough and we felt brave, we would bathe in the stream, and we would wash our clothes by hand. We bought produce directly from local farmers. It was supposedly a less comfortable way of life but it stuck with me and is still an inspiration. It was such a divide, like I was living two different lives – London city life and the cabin.’
Those memories have strongly influenced Maia’s work, most recently in her new children’s book, Wylder (selfpublished, £6.99), a ‘silent’, or wordless, book in which the story is told solely through illustration. Why a silent book? ‘The idea was born when I realised that silent films exist, so why not silent books? I didn’t know at the time that there were already a few silent books, so I started experimenting,’ she says. ‘It’s about the atmosphere, emotion and feeling. For example, when I hear a piece of music without lyrics, it can speak to me more deeply. With silent books… I had a sense that sometimes words can take away meaning or muddle it. As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words!’
My soul in pictures
The illustrations in Wylder are deeply personal. ‘I’ve always had an obsession with forests. The book was inspired by our cabin hidden in the pine trees but it is also about gentleness – showing compassion towards nature and one another. I knew I wanted it to reflect that and encompass the things that I love, such as foraging and growing food,’ she says. ‘It’s like I poured my heart out into the book and then released it. It’s so special to me.’
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The star of upcoming Netflix series The Stranger shares his thoughts on embracing the unknown, seeking happiness, striving for social unity and the comfort of helping others
The love boat
Suzy Walker’s slow life on the water isn’t short of stormy weather – but wait… is that a second mate on the horizon?
Lost and found in music
Rachel Chalmers struggled with anxiety until she learned to play an instrument – and found a gateway to mindfulness
Daisy Ridley “Self-care is important. I took control and I'm calmer and more settled. I feel great”
Five years ago, unknown British actress Daisy Ridley was thrust into the limelight as feminist icon Rey in the Star Wars films. In our profile, we celebrate her exuberant spirit, self-awareness and courage
“ There is joy in catching a wave… My work expresses the wonder of life and nature”
Artist, author, award-winning children’s illustrator and keen surfer Maia Walczak is deeply inspired by the ocean and the bounty of nature
A Solid Foundation For Your Best Life
What can we do when our goals seem too lofty and float out of reach? Anita Chaudhuri asks the experts how to go back to basics and establish an effective new beginning through positive practical habits
I Can't Cope With Sick Parents And A Teenager
Award-winning coach Kim Morgan helps an overstretched woman who is struggling to take her rapidly changing life in her stride
New Year's Revolution
Does a shiny list of goals excite you? Change it up, writes resolution fan Harriet Minter, who asks us to ponder how we want to feel instead
I Want Love, So Why Do I Ruin It When I Meet Someone?
Our agony aunt, Mary Fenwick, offers a new perspective on whatever is troubling you
'Where Are All My Friends'
At the end of last year, Heidi Scrimgeour was mourning close friends who had drifted away in the craziness of life. This year, she decided, would be different
The Beat Goes On
Kraków hums with industry, culture and youthful energy.
Tuning In to a Happier City
Noise is an irritant of urban life. But there are ways to make it easier on the ears—and the psyche
Simon Butler on Foundational Change
A London in Transition
Turn It Around
Amruta Patel is a student at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She has been studying Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication and Heartful Communication for the last several months.
New York City Made the Office
And the office, in turn, made modern New York.
Kingpins and wannabes barrel through the London underworld.
Back on the Road
We all know travel can be a pain, but when it hits below the belt you need to know there’s something you can do about it
GET YOUR FRONT ROW SEAT TO VIRTUAL FASHION SHOWS
It’s hard to remember now, but it was during the fall ready-to-wear shows last February that the fashion world first became aware of the coronavirus, even before it had been declared a global pandemic.
AMAZON OPENS FIRST UK CHECKOUT-FREE GROCERY STORE IN LONDON
Amazon has opened a cashier-free supermarket in London, its first bricks and mortar expansion outside the U.S. as the company bets on strong demand for its contactless shops.