Our May Gibbs x JOS Collaboration is a really special Collection for us, as even though we were both born in South Africa, we moved to Australia as young kids and grew up with May Gibbs Books. I fact, Nicola even found one of her old May Gibbs books(Snugglepot & Cuddlepie) in her parent’s house.
May Gibbs brings us such a beautiful sense of nostalgia and we have been excited to introduce it to our kids through our May Gibbs Collection. Unlike us, our kids are born in Australia – they are Gumnut Babies. We hope the magical May Gibbs characters will help to develop their love and intrigue of the Aussie bush.
About May Gibbs
May Gibbs was a prolific author and illustrator, whose timeless work continues to capture the imaginations of Aussie children and adults. May was born in England in 1877 and moved to Australia in 1881. Raised in a creative household in rural parts of Australia, May spent her childhood exploring the Aussie bush. May says “I don’t know if the bush babies found me or I found the little creatures”. We like to imagine the gumnut babies finding May.
Whether May intended to be or not, she was a feminist ahead of her time, starting an illustrious career as an illustrator in the early 20th century with the Western Australian newspaper. After having various successes and publications as an artist and illustrator, May Gibbs conceived the Gumnut Babies around 1913. This was after May moved to Sydney and discovered the beauty of the Blue Mountains bushland. The Gumnut Babies were originally called the Gum-Nut Brownies and were first commissioned by the Sydney Mail.
Interestingly, May Gibbs contributed to the war effort by making postcards featuring the Gumnut babies and Australian animals, sent to soldiers in World War I.
It was around this time that May created the first story to accompany the Gumnut babies. The Book was a bestseller. This encouraged May to continue with her work and create more iconic creatures, including of course Snugglepot and Cuddlepie.
May Gibbs was ahead of her time in so many ways – a feminist by being a working woman in the early 20th century, a conservationist and a philanthropist. May Gibbs said “Humans please be kind to all bush creatures and don’t pull flowers up by the roots”.
For more detailed information on the amazing life of May Gibbs you can view the official May Gibbs website.
View our full May Gibbs Collection.