Postcrossing Blog

Stories about the Postcrossing community and the postal world

Blog > Inside a Butterfly’s Wing: Jackie Morris's Wild Cards


Jackie Morris is an artist and writer based in Wales. Her Wild Cards postcard set, a collaboration with writer Robert Macfarlane, is grounded in their best-selling book series, The Lost Spells and The Lost Words.

The cover of The Wild Cards postcard set (featuring a kingfisher). A selection of cards from the set can be seen, featuring different illustrated animals

Jackie graciously paused between creations for a conversation with Clarisse (aka Cstar9) about her recent book projects, her lifetime love of postcards, and the importance of painting as if you have paws.

All the art pieces in this story are copyright Jackie Morris, used with her permission!

A screenshot from Clarisse's conversation with Jackie, who is sitting in her attic studio, and smiling to the camera
You’ve described your work with Robert Macfarlane as a kind of alchemy. How did your collaboration begin?
The book The Lost Words sits on a wooden table. On top of it sits the smaller book The Lost Spells. Both books feature birds in the cover

We were both co-signers of a 2015 letter to the Oxford Junior Dictionary to request that they reinstate nature words, like 'acorn’, that were dropped from the new edition to make way for words like 'broadband’.

Here in the UK, we’ve got 70% of the world’s bluebell population, but they had dropped the word 'bluebell’ from the dictionary.

This sat in my head for a while. And then I wrote to Rob, whom I did not know, to say, this would make a beautiful book, all these words: like a tiny dictionary of forgotten things. I asked him if he’d want to write an introduction for such a book. And he said, thank you very much, but I’m really busy. And then about two weeks later he came back and said, this is really haunting me. Perhaps we could collaborate?

So, that’s where The Lost Words started, and it did become a real collaboration of words and images working together.

An illustration of an otter floating in water

It’s become more than a book – it’s theatre, it’s wallpaper on hospital walls, it’s music, it’s postcards [learn more here about the art exhibits, albums, touring musical, and curriculum guides for schools].

But, you know, I had to beg for this postcard set, The Wild Cards. I wanted them straightaway, because I love postcards, and also I think every card advertises the book. But the publishers were worried that people would buy the cards and not the book. However, it seems people are buying both.

I’m hoping we can get a postcard box for our next book, as well.

You’ve said your past artwork feels almost like it was an apprenticeship for The Lost Words. Can you say more about that?

I’ve worked a lot. I’ve made enough money to live on. I’ve followed my own path and learned my craft. I think I was lucky not to have had this level of success too early. With this project, I’ve been able to turn my craft to the attention of really local things. The dandelion in the book was a footstep outside my front door. You can’t get much more local than that. Being able to turn your craft into something so close to your own soul is amazing.

A poem about a dandelion, next to an illustration of the same flower
What do you hope to convey with the project?

I didn’t realize until the first book was published that it was actually a howl of outrage against those who would destroy these wild things. Some people march on the streets, others do what they can in their own way. I try to be as positive as possible in my ways of protest. Every stroke of my brush is prayer and protest tangled up together.

You’ve said you have to inhabit a thing – almost shapeshift – in order to draw or paint it.
Jackie paints a snow leopard

It’s a difficult thing to explain, but you need to be inside a butterfly’s wing – or try and feel like you have paws – in order to paint – in order to drop every illusion that you have of knowing what something looks like. It’s almost like acting your way through paint.

And when you’re there, you know when you’re getting it right, and when you’re not there, you know you’re flogging a dead horse.

One of the things I’ve learned in painting is that you have to be willing to make mistakes. That’s how you get to the bit where something is as right as it can be. And it’s never right, you know. Everything’s always a bit off. I used to be so disappointed with all my finished work. And then I learned it’s not the finished thing that interests me. It’s the process of getting to the point where I can stop.

I’m not saying I don’t value my work, because obviously that’s how I make my living. But now I know it’s the process of sitting on the hill, of growing wings and getting into a raven’s head – that’s the joy.

You invoke a lot of gesture and movement in the wild moments you paint. Can you talk about how you decide, say, what a fox will be doing in your painting?
An illustration of an European barn owl

I try to catch some of the fluidity of their movement. Whenever I’m painting anything, I’m soul-hunting, in a way.

I draw from life, and I use photographs, and I’ve got loads of teachers all around me in the studio.

I don’t know whether you can see these owls behind me [you can see them in a photo below]. This is a European barn owl. And this is a tawny owl. I’ve got a kingfisher over there. And there’s a fox.

I’ve got all these taxidermied things that I draw from. It’s a weird kind of animal rescue, when something is already dead. But I try to put life back into them with my paintings.

An illustration of a fox

This sketchbook drawing is from the bird book.

Jackie holds up her sketchbook to the camera, where a pencil sketch of some birds can be seen
Tell us about the bird book.

It’s our third book. It’s huge. I’m only just over halfway through; there’s a lot of work still to do. I’m painting each species that we’ve chosen, and Rob is writing an exquisite, 50,000-word prose poem.

There are so many books about birds, you know. Why do we need another one? Perhaps to prevent a greater thinning in the tapestry of life, as the sky becomes quieter and more empty of flying things.

Within arm’s reach in my studio, I have things like this blackbird nest. These eggs are replicas, of course—the real thing has a different sheen to it.

Jackie holds up an egg from a blackbird's nest to the camera

It fascinates me how this tiny little porcelain casket full of liquid turns into feather and song and flight. And that’s what we’re trying to really celebrate – that utter wonder and creativity.

When I meet somebody who is so diametrically opposed to this thought—who sees nature as dirty, who sees other lives as lesser, I hold to my heart a phrase from Richard Powers, who wrote the book Overstory. He wrote that no amount of argument can change a person’s mind. Only a good story can.

A lot of things give me hope every day. Including this Postcrossing thing. What an amazing thing – when our governments try to divide us, we still just have such a simple way of reaching out to a stranger and going, Hi!

I just signed up for Postcrossing and sent out my first three cards. And the first person for me to send a card to, she’s in America, and she’s an artist, and it’s like, how did that happen? It’s just amazing.

Let’s talk about postcards! What’s your first memory of postal mail?

Getting mail is so exciting! When I was really little, I used to love getting postcards from people when they went on holiday. When I went to places, I loved choosing a card and then posting it.

Some postcards from Jackie's studio

My studio has postcards stuck to the ceiling. I’ve got postcards that I had in college 40 years ago.

I bought an album of old postcards recently, and I’ve been taking them out and sending them to people. I love making original ones, as well.

One of the highlights of my career was being sent a book by Wendell Berry’s publicist, jackiemorris12 which I loved so much that I painted and posted a postcard to thank her. When she received it, she asked if she could use my words as a quote on the front of the book. Now, I don’t do endorsements for books, but I said, Are you kidding me? That’s great.

I love postcard stories. I wrote a post on my own blog a couple of years ago, asking people to write a comment about postcards in their lives – how far is the furthest one you’ve received, what’s the oldest postcard you’ve still got? And their responses were simply amazing.

What’s next for you?

I’m not getting many chances to write at the moment. But I’ve got things that I want to write. I feel myself slipping out of time because I’m over 60 now. I have less time ahead of me than I have behind. All the hours that other people spend watching game shows on TV—I want that time. I’d be an hour vampire if I could. I love sleeping, but you know, there are just things that I want to create.

A recent project of mine is called The Silent Unwinding. The book’s postcard set was released in autumn 2023.

Two views of The Unwinding set of postcards

I’ll show you another project – can you see all the hares over there? They’re waiting to be in a book. One or two more hares have to join them before they’re done.

A picture of Jackie's desk, featuring lots of small items, including a few paintings of hares

The boxes they’re standing on are antique boxes of paints that are about 200 years old. I wake the paints up with some water and use them. They behave very differently than newer paints, and you have to remember not to suck the brush because they’re full of toxins. They’re from the early days, when artists didn’t have to make their own watercolors: proper chemistry and alchemy combined with science. And geography as well. Because of where all the colors come from.

The older I get, the more excited I get to see things. This afternoon, I’m going to the place where the skylarks sing.

We are lucky. We are lucky because we were raised to notice the way a dandelion folds up and then unfolds into something so completely other. How a caterpillar goes into a cocoon and then becomes a butterfly. What interests me is how these stories travel through time, in all of us. Every day we’re making new stories for the future.

To learn more about Jackie and her work, check out her website, Instagram and blog. You can also read a book review of The Unwinding, and watch Jackie paint a snow leopard or give a tour of her studio (so many postcards! 😍).

And here’s the cheeky giveaway you’ve all been waiting for! Clarisse is going to send 4 postcards from the The Wild Cards set to 4 randomly picked postcrossers. To participate, leave a comment below to share your old favorite word that people seem to have forgotten. Don’t forget to come back this time next week to check out the winners!

And the winners of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… HookedonPostcards, Ceres1849, frau_schill and Guny! Congratulations, and thank you all for participating!

135 comments so far

Salarson, United States of America

What a lovely article and new artist to discover! Thank you! My favorite long ago word is "felicity" and I first discovered it upon reading Jane Austen novels. It's a fun and lively word and you have to smile when you say it out loud!

MaryYellan, Italy

Thank you so much for this article. I have recently discovered Jackie Morris through Rob Macfarlane instagram profile and I am now delighted to find out that she has done postcards too! She is an amazing and generous artist.
My favourite old word is "pantry"...maybe not a forgotten word, but certainly a forgotten concept in our supermarket age.

jjmedusa, United States of America

Wow! What a fascinating article and what beautiful artwork this person has created. I absolutely love it, and I would love to own a postcard box one day! In the meantime, it would be lovely to win the giveaway! My favorite old word that isn't used that often anymore is "crestfallen." If you look crestfallen, you look sad and disappointed about something. My life has been very difficult, and that is why this word resonates with me.

Lulukate, Canada

The Lost Spells is a favourite book of mine! I've also given it as a gift to friends and they've been delighted. I love the word "twilight". It's not forgotten but it seems an unusual word these days. It has the feel of what it is, and is just so lovely.

CuriousGeorge13, Canada

Thank you so much for this great article!! I truly love it! One of my favorite old words is Serendipity. No one uses that any more. Maybe I am too old fashion!
Thanks again!!! :)

eselbox, Germany

The drawings are so beautiful. I reacently read a historic novel (in english) and had to look up the word "spinster".
Thank you!

alter3ch0, Finland

The word I would like to share is “petiz”. It’s a Portuguese word that means “small” as an adjective and “child, kid” as a noun.

Sounds good to me, quaint, but it’s being dropped from our vocabularies. Mostly old people use it and even then it’s not so common.

This interview was very interesting. I’ve been in awe of these postcards since I’ve know they exist. To know that there are books… oh, guess I have reading plans soon!

Thank you for sharing and thank you for the chance!

HM, Netherlands

Beaitiful cards.

'Aanstonds' (soon - within very short time), hardly used anymore - my grandma used it often to our questions.

bell91095, United States of America

Wow, beautiful cards and such a thoughtful article. I like "egads" (mild oath or expression of surprise) - so much to be surprised by in our world today!

Matvey-, Belarus


Katsiaryna_, Belarus

Really good!

lizalou, United Kingdom

Thank you Jackie for your beautiful delicate drawings. I have some of your books and love reading and looking at them with my granddaughter. She loves them too.

AccentOnHakes, United States of America

I like the work "lambent," which means something glowing. I don't think it's an "old" word exactly, but it gives a cozy homey vibe to me that I can also associate with nostalgia.

lama1, Netherlands

Great work.
A word people seem to have forgotten ( to act like the word) : respectful

CEBooth, United Kingdom

What a lovely, lovely interview. Thank you Jackie and Clarisse.

beesknees, United States of America

Oh my, I feel an order coming on! Lovely work.

cspt, United States of America

A favorite old word, or rather, phrase:
“Are you out of your cotton-picking mind?!”

DrHyde, United Kingdom

Another fantastic British wildlife artist is Alexia Claire - you can find her on Etsy.

bryn31, Netherlands

I like the old word ‘archaic’ l, an old word that also means ‘very old’!

Jennpal, United States of America

I was introduced to her work through Robert MacFarlane and am a big fan of her work. I just recently ran across her Unwinding postcard set at a local bookstore. I didn't know she made postcards and I was over the moon. They are so beautiful. I then discovered and ordered the Wild Cards set which was hard for me to find here in the states. They are soooo beautiful. They bring me so much joy.

poetess, Canada

I like the word 'comely'; it is a lovely compliment, and more striking than pretty, gorgeous, etc.

sealed4ever, United States of America

What a lovely article and beautiful postcards!

I remember my Sicilian grandfather and my Irish grandmother )who were married) always referred to the refrigerator as an icebox even when it was electric and no longer had ice in i to keep food cold. Whenever I hear "icebox" in old movie or TV dialog (like The Honeymoones), I think of them

Thank you for the giveaway. Best of luck everyone

Andi1909, Germany

What a nice article, thank you very much for it!
I own the book "The Lost Spell" by this incredible artist and was very happy to find her on Postcrossing as well.
(Best regards to you at this point! :-)
I like the word "Kleinod", which means something like a precious little thing.
Happy Postcrossing.

Free-to-be-Me, Netherlands

I love the English slang Coddiwomple; To travel purposely toward an as-yet-unknown destination. It is something I wish I could do every once in a while.

NaturalistNatalie, United States of America

I like the word "overmorrow". It means the day after tomorrow, or two days from now.

Casehandler, United Kingdom

Spooky! I’m just writing an official card from this set at the moment - ‘But there has always been singing in dark times…’ How very true. Thank you for a glorious set of cards 🙏

Dolorita, United States of America

My favorite word is discombobulated because I often feel that way. I recently came across a picture of old quirky words: Beejeebers, Nucklehead, Thingamyjig. Two of the words I havent heard and don’t have a clue as to their meaning are Kerfuffle and Skewwiff. The list is compiled by adgrayvisions. This topic is so appropriate as the postcrossing prompt for May is slang.

Kristi-D, United States of America

I have The Lost Words postcard set. However, they're very large and don't fit with the rest of my card sets--I tend to forget about them. I just got the box out and I'll place it with my letter-writing supplies. They'll mainly go to friends, as many Postcrossers don't want odd-sized cards. Now it appears Jackie has her work on standard postcards. I'll order one of those beautiful sets today!

KeithC, United States of America

I've always liked "furshlugginer," which comes from Yiddish. The word had its heyday in the late 1950s/early 1960s as a MAD MAGAZINE euphemism for any and all swear words.

penguinmail, United States of America

I like the Dutch word "naamgenoot" - a person with the same name (like a doppelganger, but for names rather than physical likeness). Thanks for a lovely article!

Luziaceleste, Brazil

It is a delight to read over people that dedicate time, effort and sensibility to produce postcards.
I would say the word 'love' not because prople forgot but because people do not reach entirely it's depth and magnitude. World misses love for sure.

DarciNZ, New Zealand

Thank you for a beautiful article with beautiful content! Salarson got in first with the word that I like, "felicity", and for all other classics readers, I love the word "luncheon" to talk about the event that we now call "lunch."

ljbeelady, United Kingdom

What a lovely blog. I am doing a painted work at the moment and trying to draw a jaguar.

ejcain, United States of America

I love the idea of the artist inhabiting an animal in order to represent it visually. I like the word "meandering," like manatees in a river, or the butterflies and rabbits in my garden.

EvieB, United States of America

Loved the article - thank you! My favorite old word is "groovy". Maybe I just dated myself?!

stormarela, Canada

Oh, these are so beautiful! 😍 . I like to use 'cross' as an adjective for angry. "Don't you make me cross!" It reminds me of my grandmother, who seemed to alternate between being "cross" and "tickled pink".

megarber, United States of America

Oh, I love this article, the artist, and her work and ethos! I’m so glad I paused to read it, and that you highlighted it here. My favorite slipped-away word is “gloaming.” That particular, peculiar, enveloping quality of evening light just seems so encapsulated by this word.

jrowley, United States of America

I love this artwork and the spirit behind the work. I grieve the loss of our fellow travelers. I'm old, so the word I'll give is "hip" as in being cool.

Michaela-SK, Slovakia

Beautiful work! My favourite old word is "cmiter". In Slovak it means a cementery and the sound of this word fascinates me. When I read it for the fist time I thought some vovels are missing.

an-foxy, Belarus

I remembered the word "zanachka" (“stash”) - it means money that you hid/set aside and keep for some purpose or just because.

Holka_z_Osmecu, Czech Republic

That´s an amazing interview, thank you! I really enjoyed myself reading it and I am yet to go through the links! I like the word "conundrum", not sure how much it is used, and also some of the words that other people already mentioned here... And one of my favourites is "bařt" - a word my grandma used for bortsch - I suppose it was a mixture of Polish and Ukrainian because of where she came from. And also "ostroh" - which is a promontory, or a cliff in Czech. This reading so reminds me of my favourite books about Sabine and Griffin who used to correspond with special beautifully strange postcards...

juliakay, United States of America

I love this artist and her point of view on many things, especially disappearing nature words. I'm "keen" to receiving one of these postcards. "Keen" is a word we don't tend use much in the United States.

triplightly, United States of America

Lovely illustrations and postcards.
A favorite rarely used word is "persnickety". It feels fun in the mouth and I think we all feel that way sometimes.

JonathanChua, Singapore

I use the word "awesome" very often.....simply a great word

Canuck, Portugal

Lovely interview - thank you for that! I find that the word "flabbergasted" is hardly used anymore. It is so expressive, I can't understand why!

Tisfortexan, United States of America

What beautiful art and I loved the viewpoint on time vampirism!

My favorite word is "cattywampus" as I often heard my elders using it and using it today reminds me of them. It's generally understood to mean askew or out of sorts, or not directly across from something if used in navigation/wayfinding. You'll encounter a variety of regional spellings which I find fascinating.

PeggyLoh, Singapore

A great idea to include postcards with a book to further drill in the subject matter......simply gorgeous.....

Karl_Pen, United States of America

You create such beautiful Wild Card art to revive lost spells with words. One of my kids tells me that sending postcards is "buffoonery", but secretly she loves getting my postcard messages.

lissevel, Belarus

You have such a wonderful craft! My obsolete word is "Зацяцца" . This word means to hold feelings in Belarusian. (。•̀ᴗ-)✧

InkGoesWildAlaska, United States of America

I loved reading this blog post! How cool would it be if the Amercian artist Jackie just sent a postcard to was me? I realize, of course, that the odds of that happening are astronomical LOL. Still it would be really awesome!

I look forward to checking out more of Jackie's artwork.

Pulmu, Finland

I like the Finnish word hyrysysy. The history of the word goes back to a time when “automobiles” were just making their way to Finland. At that point it was a good idea to think of a Finnish word for the car.
The present word auto is somewhat dull compared to hyrysysy.

OksanaTerra, Russia

What a wonderful story and amazing postcards! In Russian, there is a word "namedny" (намедни), that is not used at all. But his introduction adds some deeply Russian flavor. It means "recently", "shortly before today, before this moment".

moonraker_girl, United Kingdom

Fantastic interview! I was given the book 'The Lost Words' when it came out, and I later bought the postcards. A favourite word is 'horsebuckle', a word used in the English counties of Wiltshire and Kent for the spring flower 'cowslip'.

la_luna_pusa, Philippines

I think of the old word "Betamax." It's old technology used for watching home videos during the 90's. Now it's obsolete.

Yuisan, Japan

Every card is beautiful. The words we forget are Mottainai.
That is Japanese, but it is a very important word. We must not forget to use things with care.

salkinila, Germany

Very beautiful artwork!
My favourite old word is "Dreikäsehoch" which is a term used for small children (i.e. tiny tot) - the translation is "three cheeses tall" :)

glob6sofy, France

Thanks a lot for this article. Jackie's collection of postcards is just so lovely that I may treat myself and buy it . This way I'll be able to treat postcrossers ! A phrase I really like is " higgeldy-piggedly ", though it isn't that old.

KristinaLd, Germany

Oh, what an exciting post! It´s fascinating to learn something about the background and creation of such works of art and to be able to watch how thoughts almost come to life through the images.
Funnily enough, I´ve added the postcard set to my wish list some weeks ago because the pictures are simply beautiful and I admire anyone who can paint so wonderfully.
My "forgotten" word is "anheimelnd" (in German), which means familiar, comfortable-looking, homely.
A great idea to collect these words and honor the language.

Minaminx, United Kingdom

These are lovely, next payday I might buy a copy of The Unwinding book and postcards.

JackieMorris, United Kingdom

It was so lovely to do this interview. And I adore postcrossings. It's such a wonderful and random way to connect with strangers and learn stories of other lives.

TurtleFan, Switzerland

In Hungarian, I always liked the word "dzsuvás" or more commonly "piszkos", which both mean "dirty". Barely anyone used it a few decades ago already and I pretty much never hear it anymore, which is a bummer.

Thank you for the interesting interview. I would have liked to know why the author never offers book endorsements.

MrsMidsomer, Finland

The character Anna, played by Julia Roberts makes fun of Hugh Grant's character when he uses the expression "Oopsy Daisy" in one of my favourite movies, "Notting Hill". I find the expression adorable.
Thank you for an interesting article. I am always amazed by people with a true talent for drawing ❤️

Miss_Amy, Germany

I like the word "daffodil"

frau_schill, Germany

I remember my grandma's words for strong smelling hyacinths and carnations, she said, they smell loudly ... and so I always "hear" these flowers in spring :-) thank you for this great interview, I really enjoyed reading

kcm76, United Kingdom

Here's a good word which no-one seems to know ... tintinnabulation: a ringing ir tinkling of bells. It's very onomatopoeic (another good word!).

Jacoba1979, Netherlands

Hello very nice story.
My word is LOVE not an oldest word but we love all the postcrossers and the animals.
I wiss you all the best

stacyj25, United States of America

This was a lovely gentle read. Thank you for reminding us to see the beauty in nature. My favorite forgotten word is "thistletoot". An older norwegian relative called his cat a thistletoot because she was stubborn and crabby. I use it all the time.

NerdyUnicorn4, United States of America

This was a pleasant post to read. Love the artwork! Hmm an old word we don't use much anymore. How about 'grumpish'? I like to use words like this to stump people I use them on. Another word I like is beef-witted. Nowadays, we would say they are just a meathead!

Emcea, Netherlands

My favorite old word is Grandmother.
When I hear that word I can see a really old Granny, or a modern Grams.
My grandchildren call me Nonna. I think that sounds sweet. :)
Grandmothers are so important. They can tell us stories youĺl never belief.

Selena, United States of America

First off, I really appreciate the work they’ve done to bring awareness to words and vocabulary, and their importance. And the environmental impact; why would bluebell be removed? Reading this blog entry made me feel pleased. I love reading and using words from books I read, so this aligns with my worldview. I didn’t know that such modern words would be dropped from the dictionary either. Acorn? Really?
“ We were both co-signers of a 2015 letter to the Oxford Junior Dictionary to request that they reinstate nature words, like 'acorn’, that were dropped from the new edition to make way for words like 'broadband’.
Here in the UK, we’ve got 70% of the world’s bluebell population, but they had dropped the word 'bluebell’ from the dictionary.
This sat in my head for a while. And then I wrote to Rob, whom I did not know, to say, this would make a beautiful book, all these words: like a tiny dictionary of forgotten things”

Omg, so many good words, it’s hard to choose just one. As a teen I learned the word malarkey, and it was also the last name of someone at my school too; it suited him as well. I especially like the word sullen, and veranda.

norma4728, United States of America

I enjoyed this blog post SO MUCH! Beautiful artwork from an especially lovely artist and soul! Very inspiring indeed! My word rarely used these days is "bereft" ....a feeling of loss or loneliness. It comes from the word "bereavement". I use it every so often myself.....especially when I feel "bereft"! I love this postcrossing community! So happy that I am a part of it.
Norma Hanlon

RomaandPaul, United States of America

Just when I think postcards can’t get more beautiful! Amazing…

petrini1, United States of America

The artwork is amazing! And I love the idea of preserving these words so that they are not lost. One of my favorite old-fashioned words is "peripatetic." It's fun to say, and sounds like it propels forward movement.

civrob, United States of America

Enjoyed the article. How about bringing the word "Crapulous" back? You’re thinking this has something to do with feeling crappy, right? Well, you’re not entirely wrong. It means to feel ill from excessive eating or drinking, like feeling crapulous the morning after your cake-binge-worthy birthday celebration.

Ceres1849, United Kingdom

Wonderful article, wonderful books, wonderful art and the song Lost Words Blessing blew me away when i first heard it. My favourite word that i rarely hear these days is "Mellifluous", from the Latin, honey flowing, she had a "mellifluous" voice, flowing like honey. That word has stuck in my mind for years , if ever i use it people say "what"?

Chirp2lou, Canada

Lollygagging is a rarely used anymore - probably because everyone is too busy doing everything but lollygagging!

Oarfish, Canada

wow this was such a lovely read. My first postcard ever received
on here actually had Jackie morris's art I believe. Its the same fox and moon one shown being sent in the 12th photo.

My old word is Skookum. Its a word meaning great, amazing, or powerful in chinook jargon. Chinook jargon was used in the pacific northwest in 19th century north america for mainly trade. Its based on the indigenous chinook language group with french and english mixed in. Its not used as a real language anymore but you can still find books and streets with its words.

estromberg, United States of America

Lovely interview!! The word I use all the time when I'm with my grandgirls is wackadoodle. Because they are crazy little beings! Now off to find me some Wild Cards!!

Nadia_Jang, Korea (South)

What an awesome discovery of an awesome artist! Now I want both books and all the postcards! I like the word 'glee', but I am not sure if it's rare or out of use or old, it feels so anyway!)

siff, United States of America

Such a wonderful collaboration.

I always liked the word "discombobulate". I really just means 'disconcerted', but is much more fun so say!
Another favorite word is 'sastrugi" - wind driven snow that can form ridges.

Squirrel18, United States of America

Beautiful works! I especially like the dandelion. One of my favorite words is "archaic," though I am not sure if the word itself is archaic.

wolfnowl, Canada

Thank you for sharing this! We've long been fans of Jackie's work.

A favourite old word...there are so many. What fascinates Mike more is the etymology of words and how the meanings of words change over time. The word sinister means 'of or relating to the left'. Porcelain refers to the smoothness of a pig's udder. Competition comes from the Latin competere, meaning 'to strive together'. Seek the best in yourself and encourage the best in those around you. Author Jean Little always intended to write a book about word meanings but we don't know if she did.

For the two of us, a favourite word is Love. It's old, but it's also timeless.

Marcia and Mike.

snowflake1, Australia

What wonderful paintings & cards!! Also the concept to beautifully educate and encourage appreciation of the natural world.

My favourite old world is: `betrothed' ~ to be promised to marry. I think it sounds more romantic and emotive than engaged.

Huari, Germany

Just beautiful! Have been considering buying "Lost Words" for quite a while and now I want the postcards, too.
I am actually wondering if "typewriter" is considered a lost word already...

ningnong, Australia

My aunt had a glass of sherry before lunch but always declined the second saying she'd be "squiffy" (tight).

Clever words Clarisse & beautiful artwork Jackie. Thank you both

Demmi, Romania

Wonderful Paintings & Cards! Hope to win a postcard!
Good luck everyone!
:) :D

thecottonwoods, United States of America

A lovely old word is smidgen. It's only usually seen now in old cookbooks. It conjures up to me a scrap piece of paper with an old recipe in Grandmother's handwriting.

GoCindy, United States of America


coyotemagick, United States of America

Such a excellent article. The passion she has for her art comes through in the article.
I miss hearing the word doilies, it is such a pretty word and brings back memories of visiting elderly ladies and the scent of lilacs and pretty little teacups.

leavesofgrass, United States of America

I am entranced by Jackie's work and musings about her work! I can't wait to find and send the Wild postcards. A few years ago I purchased the Spells and Lost Words for my grown daughters. I think they should get a set for me!

leavesofgrass, United States of America

I love reading everyone's favorite rarely used word!

littleglitterwoman, Germany

Such a spellbinding article, Thanks to CStar9 for interviewing the artist!. My favourite forgotten older word is "untermengen", in German, means "to subset" in English. So, to mix in an ingredient in baking or in cooking.

Flippie, Canada

I love the word "old fashioned", because I feel that I'm old fashioned. I love the time before computers, telephones, face book or social media. I love to have a real conversation face to face and sending a card/letter.
I love Jackie's work. Thank you for sharing with us.

Bossmare, United States of America

I've been given a few of your postcards from a friend in Wales! I love the foxes. An old word hardly used these days is "pay phone"! I saw one at the airport once. It's gone now.

dutchgranny, Netherlands

- once I used in a poem
the selfmade word: "regenbooggelukkig"
meaning - rainbowhappy -
to tell my young children
how lucky I was with them :-)

NIDUSKA, Finland

beautiful art

JasonDavid, Canada

The Lost Spells is a beautiful book.
When I was a kid, people brought "jellied salads" to potlucks - a term one doesn't hear much these days!

puttingpentopaper, United States of America

I intend to add the Lost Words book to my library. Beautiful art. Intriguing journey and insights. Thank you for sharing your talent.

letterstotheo, United States of America

This was such a profound read! Her line about "the dandelion on your front stoop" and "it doesn't get that much more local than that" just got me!!

Kewl, Philippines

I have not received any of these cards she has made, but they look exquisite! Thank you for them. One of the English words that I learned only Filipinos ever use frequently is "viand" or food dish for a meal. Not sure if this has fallen out of the dictionary though.

Mirfi, Australia

What an uplifting blog!
I love "Quicksticks", it means 'quickly' or 'without delay'. It is apparently shortened from the phrase in quick sticks.
I would often say to my daughter when she was little "quicksticks" when she was going slowly, especially getting to school. We often walked to school, and I would also say put you hurry feet on.

Sverige, Sweden

I miss the old pronouns like "thou", "thy" and "thee" as in the poetry by Shakespeare "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" or in the Bible: "Heavenly Father, thou that are in heaven ..."
Thank you for a wonderful presentation of Jackie Morris!

pogo19, United States of America

So nice to be able to read about such a talented artist. My forgotten word is used to describe the music or people who perform the music of the Caribbean. It is calypsonian.

rachkatt, United States of America

What a nice article! The Lost Words is a favorite book in our house. I didn't know there were postcards-off to buy them now!
My son suggested that the word splendid is a good word that isn't used too often-and I agree :)

WeAreOne, United States of America

Sometimes life brings us the most wonderful synchronicities. (That's a word I love actually, synchronicity.) A few months ago I bought "The Unwinding" postcard set, and have sent several to fellow Postcrossers already. I also recently read the novel "The Dictionary of Lost Words" by Pip Williams. It's based on real life events, namely the compiling of the first Oxford English Dictionary. As a child, the main character collects "lost words" that did not make it into the dictionary, most of which were used by common, working class people. She eventually compiles all of the lost words into a book. One of these words was "knackered", and I love that word! It means tired out/exhausted.
Jackie, I am a huge fan! If you happen to read this comment, please contact me. I'd love to have a conversation with you and send you a postcard.

clbrown, United States of America

I LOVE ❤️ Lost Words!! :)

betslets, United States of America

So nice to "meet" another talented Postcrosser (there are so many in our Postcrossing community) as well as becoming acquainted with those that offer comments in the Blog. I agree with several "lost words" already mentioned, so had quite a time remembering a different one. One word that does come to mind, is still used often, but will very soon become "lost" is AFFORDABLE. I think several of us are feeling the pinch in our pocketbooks. (Is that another word?) Or how about handkerchief?
Lost Words -- a great idea for what to write.

Mika_Butterfly, Austria

This is such a brilliant and interesting article. Thank you so much. I adore Jackie Morris's work and art.
My words: mud-luscious and spindrift

alterego, Canada

I loved this blog post! I have read (and own) a couple of the Jackie Morris/Robert MacFarlane books and am looking forward to the next one!

An old and seldom used word I love is *meander*. In reading these comments, I see that someone has already mentioned it but to me, it is such a visual word as well as a physical and emotional one.

I look forward to finding the new box of postcards. Welcome to postcrossing, Jackie!

Granja, United States of America

Great interview Clarisse! I just picked up some of Jackie Morris's cards from my local bookstore from the Unwinding series. I am drawn to her work so enjoyed the article immensely. The old word I still use regularly is "petrichor" --that sweet smell of dusty desert after a light rain. Happens often here in Idaho.

Boondoggling, United States of America

My favorite old word is "bamboozle." I once had the chance to browse through a copy of Samuel Johnson's dictionary (one of the first standardized English dictionaries) and found this word as an entry. I was shocked to see that bamboozle was used in the 1700s. It's a fun word to say and being bamboozled is always an experience.

sanddunebunny, United States of America

What a lovely writing. I don't make a living at making art but I have a lot of fun doing it and I really liked learning about your process and getting inside the creatures you create.
So many words that are fun and we don't hear much anymore, but one I really like and miss is, "bamboozeled". My Grandma use to say it.

SalishSea, United States of America

I have both of those books by Macfarlane and Morris, funny thing is i have motioned in my post crossings bio as being a fan of Macfarlanes other books; I have been wanting to own some of Morris' ill. children's books but it looks like those postcards will be taking center stage and front. thanks, for such a great story of an artist who does such glorious work! I am "gob-smacked " with delight!

Guny, Switzerland

My favourite word is Baringeli. It's a name for mirabelle plums, but outside of my family, nobody in Switzerland knows the word 🇨🇭.

Evalefthanded, Austria

What a lovely Interview! Thank you Jackie and Clarisse. And what a heartwarming view into artists life!

firebird_55, United States of America

What a glorious article and what a poet you are, Jackie Morris. Both with your artistry and your words. Thank you for sharing this inspirational interview.

My favorite forgotten word is gloaming - that magical time of day between sunset and dark, when the sky is rich with blues and purples and the leaves still hold their green, just a little, before they fade to black for the evening.

MailboxIngrid, Netherlands

Thanks for this great and interesting article. I love, love the postcard box!
I am a big fan of it and I hope to receive one of these wonderful postcards. Thanks for sharing this lovely story, dear Jackie Morris :-)

rubber_ducky, United States of America

Wonderful set! My favorite old word is "dandy".

HookedonPostcards, Canada

Always interesting to read about postcard inspirations and creators. Thanks @CStar9!
The word I offer is "palimpsest". Seldom used, but a great descriptor for anyone who has tried to send and resend a postcard from person to person, the writing often scribbled over a prior layer. Graffiti often qualifies as a palimpsest.
From Oxford Dictionary -
A manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.
something reused or altered but still bearing visible traces of its earlier form:
"Sutton Place is a palimpsest of the taste of successive owners"

Zulhma, Argentina

Hello.This article is very interesting and allows us to see first-hand how an artist creates her work, what she is inspired by. The postcards look very beautiful. It's wonderful how these works can be acquired in Europe. Thank you very much for publishing this note. A look into another world, for me. Thank you. greetings.

BKMacC, Canada

As a fan of The Lost Worlds, The Lost Spells books and the recordings made from those books (find them, look it up on YouTube - they are wonderful!) and a number of Robert MacFarlane books I was thrilled to see Jackie Morris featured here.

For underused, nearly forgotten words I like "burn" and "race" for running water. There used to be a music festival here in Southern Ontario called the Mill Race Folk Festival and one day it occurred to me to look up why 'race'. I had no idea. While not common at all around here for a creek or stream, burn turns up in place names usually brought over from what is now the UK, like Shelburne. Running water is so much more than rivers, creeks and streams :-)
MacFarlane's Landmarks is a great book to read (or listen to!) if the topic of topography and toponyms appeals to you.

Cocosmom, United States of America

My new favorite word I burbling. I just read a book with very descriptive nature writing, and the author used the word. 🙂 The Guide by Peter Heller.

melilot, France

I don't play because I've already bought The Wild cards twice (and I'm ready to buy it again ♥). Incredible, and happy to learn ther eis another set of postcards in this style, will check if i can find it.

Favourite word is fuligineux or fuligineuse, it's rather rare but not forgotten, I would say it's more unknown than forgotten.
You can use it for descriptions in nature.

Please comment in English so that everyone can understand you. Off-topic comments may be removed. Thank you!

...Sorry my favourite word is in french, not in english!...

Carol1, United States of America

This is the most enjoyable article I've ever read in Postcrossing, I love it! I'm going to get some of your postcards. My word is Intrepid, because it describes me.
50 Years ago I fell in love with the words "jus de pamplemousse" (hope that's spelled correctly) while I was traveling in France, because it made me feel like I was kissing. Try it. I still say it whenever I can.

MsKoby, United States of America

Beautiful article and works of art!

My favorite "old" word is "shenanigans"

schmoochee, Singapore

My old favourite word is ‘divine’ - I use it when I am deeply inspired by something :)

Mavis02, China

I love 'forever',though nothing is forever,I still love the feeling when I remind it☺

LordPuffin, United States of America

I've been reading books by the author Jean Stafford recently. She had a wonderful command of the English language and I have to keep my phone near me while reading so I can look up the definitions of many words I've never heard before (or hear rarely). Some recent examples from her novel, The Catherine Wheel: hyaline, lapidary, and cuspidor.

Neuset, Spain

I have loved getting to know Jackie Morris's work. I have liked her drawings a lot because they have soul, and here is the word 'ALMA' written in Spanish.
Thank you for this beautiful interview and discovery =)

Lilou_lavande, Germany

One of my favourite old words that aren’t being used a lot anymore in Germany but I remember from my childhood, is ‘Tohuwabohu’. It is a loan word from Hebrew into German and means chaos, confusion. I just love these onomatopoeic words that make you feel their meaning just by pronouncing them…

melilot, France

@Lilou_lavande : We have tohu-bohu here, I had no idea about its origin. A word from the Bible indeed.
Words never cease to be fascinating. Here I follow an account (on IG) from a dictionnary (Le Robert) that gives little explanations and riddles about words or expressions, surprise guaranteed!

reiselustig, Germany

I don’t know why, but I like to use the German old word „hanebüchen“ although most people don’t use it anymore. If people say: This is „hanebüchen“ it means that they strongly disagree and are kind of outraged/ scandalized about an argumentation in a discussion or about how people act.

reiselustig, Germany

I forgot to add something: I really appreciate all these intersting interviews of @Cstar9 - but I think this one is the most interesting and touching at all! Reading it I have the feeling I would love to meet Jackie Morris myself! There is so much personality in this interview! Thank you so much for that!

mezzanine2, Canada

Thanks for the article. After thinking for some time what my old favourite word that most people have forgotten, I do like the word calligraphy. In a time of instant messaging and computers, the idea of stylized writing seems quaint, and endearing!

WattlePark, Australia

Dropping the word "acorn" - this is madness, will that dictionary next drop "tree" or "leaf". Not all trees have acorns but to lose a word for a thing that exists is truly bizarre.
But not as bizarre as a name given to the grandchild of an acquaintance. I was, and still am, flummoxed by hearing about little Hemlock.


Back to top