Desert Skies, Rebel Souls – New Book Cover by Bruno Cavellec

Local Writer Publishes New Novel: Desert Skies, Rebel Souls

A journey into the unknown. A rebellion against family, culture and society. A love against all odds.

From Scandinavia to the Middle East, a young woman travels to discover herself and finds a world of passion and history, war and peace. A whirlwind romance takes a dramatic turn, leaving Olivia caught between countries, belonging nowhere, and with the love of her life in danger far away.

From the award-winning author of The Cosmopolitan Islander comes an uplifting tale of adventure, conflict and reconciliation that never shies away from brutal reality, yet sparkles with the sheer love of life.


Desert Skies, Rebel Souls is a bittersweet coming-of-age story set under the desert sky against the backdrop of music of the nineties and stunning scenery – to be enjoyed by adventurous globetrotters and readers longing to escape.

“Like Olivia, the protagonist, I was in awe of the history and the beauty present everywhere as I travelled through Israel, Jordan and Egypt 20 years ago,” says the author, Michelle P. Tonnesen.

“I hope my new novel will take the readers on an adventure that will stay with them forever. Perhaps this exciting story will help more people appreciate the wonders of this region, and particularly Israel – a country which seems to have everything: sea, mountains, deserts and oases; except peace. Hopefully, readers everywhere will give my second novel a warm welcome!”

The cover illustration and design are by Bruno Cavellec, who also designed the cover of Michelle P. Tonnesen’s debut novel, The Cosmopolitan Islander. “I was delighted to work with Bruno again. He is incredibly talented, and it’s always nice to support my fellow local artists. The lovely cover models are local too.” The book cover was revealed at the recent Manx Litfest.

Desert Skies, Rebel Souls is available soon as paperback from Lexicon Bookshop in Douglas and Bridge Bookshops in Port Erin and Ramsey – or you can order your signed copy directly from the author. It is also available now as e-book and paperback from major online retailers.

Find out more about the author and this exciting new novel at and @mptonnesen


Isle of Man Art News – 13 November 2017

The Christmas countdown seems to have well and truly begun. There are all kinds of events popping up all over the place and diary is getting very full already. Throw into the mix a couple of exhibition changes at The Isle Gallery and The Sayle Gallery, a book launch and a new grand daughter and it all looks rather hectic. Still, I’m not known for sitting around twiddling my thumbs so I’m sure I’ll be having lots of fun catching up with friends old and new over the next few weeks.

The new show at The Isle Gallery previews on Sunday 19th November and is a celebration of 25 years from when it opened as The Courtyard Gallery. At ‘The Courtyard Christmas Exhibition’ you will be able to meet many of the Artists who were part of the original group including Nancy Corkish, David Byrne, Colette Gambell, Peter Hearsey, Julie Collins, Nicola Dixon Adam Berry, Anna Clucas, Sarah Devereau, Paul Parker, Jeremy Paul, Eileen Schaer, Catherine James, Juan Moore, Gavin Carter, Kate Jerry, Petrina Kent and Win Norton and there will also be retrospective works by one of the founding artists, David Fletcher.

The exhibition will also acknowledge the history of the gallery as a registered charity, run by Artists for Artists, which is similar to the format as it currently runs though under the name of ‘The Isle Gallery’. 

You are also invited to go along to the ‘Peel Art Crawl’ which will be a celebration of Manx Artists, Art and Craft from Friday 24th – 26th November. More details will be available soon but will include venues at The Isle Gallery (Tynwald Mills), House of Manannan, Pilates Studios and the Art and Antiques Centre (all in Peel).

Gary Bennett has recently exhibited at the Lighthouse Gallery in Glasgow which was designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh. Gary applied to join the Armed forces Art Society, a historic group which formed in 1925. They exhibit in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow and Gary said he couldn’t believe he got in but he had four of his images shown and also won an aware from a company called Great Art. Great to see Gary flying the flag for the Isle of Man too, so very well done to him.

I’ve been trying to spend a bit more time familiarising myself with and using Instagram as it seems to be the best format for Artists to get their work seen. In doing so I’ve come across some really interesting locals to follow and thought I’d mention a couple of them here. The Clumsy Printmaker is one of the ones that has recently caught my eye. Rachel Kelsall lives in Port Erin and started making prints properly around 5 months ago – before that she had ‘just dabbled’ in printmaking. Rachel told me that her sister has a press and does letterpress printing so she knows the basics, but handpulling prints she describes as a whole different ballgame! It’s really still a hobby but she has now opened an Etsy shop and is doing a few of the local fairs to try and ‘keep herself in ink and lino’.  I’m enjoying seeing both her work and her photographs. 

The other Instagram account I thought I would mention is of Iain Mackenzie-Fidlin, aka ‘macfid’. Iain was born in South Africa and spent much of his career looking after multinational company accounts in banking in London, Hong Kong and Frankfurt. His wife Susie (who also has a rather nice Instagram account) introduced Iain to the Isle of Man and they have made the island their home. Iain said it satisfies his passions for history and the outdoors and his pastimes of hiking and photography. Here are a couple of his photographs that I rather liked recently.

Colleen Corlett, who is currently exhibiting at The Hodgson Loom Gallery in Laxey with Kathryn Cain, posted up some great news this week. She said that she was waiting in excited anticipation for the arrival of Strokes of Genius volume 9 which had accepted another of her drawings for publication in their beautiful books, when she received another message from one of the editors with North Light Books to say that her artwork, Gorgeous George, had been selected for publication in Strokes of Genius 10. Congratulations Colleen!

With Nicola Dixon’s new artwork installed in Market Square in Peel, Culture Vannin this week shared their 2014 film of Nicola’s work. Here she is talking through the 9 lines from The Deer’s Cry which have continued to inspire her, and which are represented in the new metal panels in Peel.



Potty Knit Wits in Silverdale has decided to follow suit with the same dates as Grenaby Studios (30 November – 2 December) to make “a wee Christmas shopping southern art trail weekend” with one late night shop. Celine Appleyard specialises in ceramics and she has exhibited her work at the Isle of Man Art Festival. Here are a couple of pictures of the studio shop – looks like there are some lovely gift opportunities there.

New Shorts


Michael Starkey shared this picture in tribute to the men from Ramsey who lost their lives during the Wars. There were also some lovely photographs of the War Memorial on the promenade from a variety of people over the weekend showing their respect for the fallen.

Manx Pets in Pencil posted up this gorgeous picture of a seal – tragically almost half of this year’s pups have been lost due to storm Ophelia.

Darren Jackson (Farmyard Studio) is presently busy carving stags at the Edinburgh ice festival. More on this next week. Look out for his work in Strand Street on 2 December!

Ellen Scott is producing some lovely new work at the moment – this is a tattoo design. 

and Element.Isle has some rather gorgeous festive packing for their fabulous range of artisan jewellery. Pretty high on lots of Christmas lists would be my guess.


Dates for your Diary


On now until 19 November;  ‘Painted Dreams’ by Eileen Schaer a the House of Manannan, Peel

On now until 2 December – Colleen Corlett and Kathryn Cain are exhibiting at the Hodgson Loom Gallery

On now at Studio 42, Port St. Mary – ‘A Place Known’ by Daniel Price

On now until 27 January 2018; Manx Tholtans at the Manx Museum – Ray Kelly and Niamh Kelly

16 November – IOM Drawing Club – Pregnant Life Drawing at Noa Bakehouse, 7pm-9pm

19 November – Courtyard Artists’ Christmas Exhibition – Preview and then normal opening hours at The Isle Gallery

22-26 November – Isle of Man Art Society Seasonal Art Exhibition and Craft Fair at the Village Walk, Onchan

24 November – IOM Drawing Club – Fashion Illustration, 7pm – 8pm

24 – 26 November – Peel Christmas Art Crawl

25 November – Christmas in the Yard – Katy Mitchell at Lower Bishopscourt Farm

30 November – 2 December – Artisan Market at Grenaby

2 December – Farmyard Studios – Ice Sculpture in Strand Street


Here’s this week’s round up of images from Social Media. Click on the pictures to view in the lightbox.



Please remember to Share this post via your social media to help get the word out about our fabulous local Artists.

Have a great week!

Jane x

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Making Light Work – by Myra Gilbert

Making Light Work


I work away,

this way, that way,

such light work,

weighing heavy

so little light,

less as night falls silently.

I sew, 

so tired, 

so worn, 

afraid, frayed, 


bearing it,

barely a sound as

stitches are quietly born

of my labour.


My needle needs feeding

with its eye so small, 

for sewing tiny steps.

Its thread treads 

across the cloth 

following the fold,  

the needle ducks through

a lace hedge,

a ditch of piping,

furrowed tucks

hems and verges.


Dense layers, 

clods of cloth,

baulk at the intrusions,

fight my tender fingertips

pierced to match 

my piece of work,

more nimble

minus thimble.

I need to press on,

with threaded needle

taping, shaping

pricking, licking 

the tail of the thread

twisting, knotting 

tugging each stitch

gently but firmly.


My hands 

know the well worn pathways,

stretching and rolling the cloth,

feeling the will in its grain.

Twill’s tough love,

wool’s warm pull,

stiff upper poplin,

coy veils of voile,

draped shapes in crepe,

crumpling linen.

Then snipping, ripping,

nipping, clipping, 

I tease these creases, 

At ease, pleased,

no pins now,

I feel the thrill

of the finish.

Then a sharp slip, 

just my haste,

I taste the blood,

But a pinprick brings good luck.


Myra Gilbert