An introduction to swimming outdoors
in rivers, lakes, pools, waterfalls and sea.
Written by Flora Jamieson
Illustrated by Gemma Koomen
This short guide is aimed at the novice wild swimmer and contains practical tips on how to find places to swim, health and safety advice, inspiring quotes and resources. It is illustrated throughout its 24 pages with Gemma Koomen’s delightful paintings.
The idea for the project came (as they often do) in the middle of the night. I had been invited to give a talk on wild swimming at Sisterhood Camp, a creative retreat for women held annually at Fforest in Wales in June this year. As part of the talk, I wanted to produce a short fact sheet with some key points on it, but I couldn’t find the enthusiasm to sit down and write it – it just felt dry and didn’t capture the magic I felt when swimming that I wanted to share with others.
Around the same time, I discovered the artwork of Gemma Koomen on Instagram, and instantly felt a connection with it. It was her painting of 2 children riding on a swan’s back that really spoke to me – the image was so similar to a daydream I used to have as a child – my go-to mental image when I couldn’t fall asleep; I would picture myself floating down a river on the soft down of a swan’s back.
Suddenly it became clear what I needed to do – turn the fact sheet into an illustrated guide that portrayed the beauty and wonder of bathing in nature. I approached Gemma to see if she would be interested in collaborating on the project, and thankfully she loved the idea. Printed by Taylor Brothers in Bristol (who print Cereal Magazine) on 160gsm 100% recycled paper, the book is as lovely to hold as it is to read.
Copies are now available for sale via my online shop. It has already been featured by The Outdoor Swimming Society and Wild Swimming Publishing.