Jay Armstrong is the Founder, creative director and contributing editor of Elementum Journal.
Founder, creative director and contributing editor Jay Armstrong was born and brought up in Glasgow. After university, Jay spent a number of years as an Army officer before leaving the military to work as a freelance photographer. When her Royal Navy pilot husband joined the Search & Rescue squadron in Cornwall, she and their young family followed and Jay went back to university to study for an MA in Professional Writing at Falmouth University. This is where she developed her idea for a collectable ‘journal of nature and story’. It was during her studies that Jay realised that her childhood fascinations with stories, pictures and nature had been left behind in the busyness of an education that separated the artist from the scientist and weighted profession against vocation. Inspired by the wilder landscapes of Cornwall and West Scotland, Jay set out to create a publication that explores our place in the natural world – a journal in which folklore sits alongside scientific findings and visual narratives carry as much weight as written stories.
Now living in Dorset, Jay lectures on publishing and multimedia storytelling at Falmouth, Plymouth, and Kent University. She founded the Porthleven Literary Festival and is becoming a regular at the Port Eliot festival interviewing nature writers.
Elementum is a biannual journal that explores our place in the natural world through new writing, illustration and photography.
The theme of Edition Four is ‘shape’ and we join women responding to a shifting environment in lace, cyanotype and stone. We follow colourful trails of fish with marine biologist Helen Scales and trace an alphabet of otters with Jackie Morris. We track down fossilised sea urchins impressed in burial mounds and church windows, and learn how observing birds can help us to pin memories to places. Wyl Menmuir finds that working with wood helps to continually reshape his writing practice, while Jane Lovell shares her path through a poem, where words glimmer with hope in a dark landscape.
There is new writing from Whitney Brown, Will Burns and Alex Preston and striking imagery, newly commissioned, from Tor Falcon, Neil Gower and Catherine Hyde. Other articles explore the long-forgotten but now recently recovered work of Anna Atkins and Emma L. Turner. More than a hundred years ago, these pioneering natural historians were harnessing technology to frame the future of nature photography while breaking the mould of who might tell the story of Britain’s algae, ferns and birds.
We travel from the chalk of the English South Downs to the reedbeds of Norfolk, and from a Welsh valley sculpted by ice and dynamite to the foot of a cliff in northwest England, where Annie Worsley uncovers the imprints of our prehistoric coastal ancestors, a mother’s straight path along the sand encircled again and again by the small footprints of her children.
- Cwm Elan. A valley sculpted by ice & dynamite. Dry stone waller @wbrownstone revisits the Welsh valley to discover… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
- 'It was winter, near freezing,/I'd walked though a forest of firs/when I saw issue out of the waterfall/a solitary… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
- Stay updated with our newsletter – The Monthly Notebook. Be one of the first to hear about upcoming Editions and… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…