Meet Sanet Stegmann, author of The Adventures of a Honeybee in Paris
Since my arrival in Paris (Autumn 2015), I have been exploring daily to familiarize myself with the culturally rich capital of France. Inspired by the city’s art and culture, architecture, music and people, ideas for a children’s book started brewing inside me.
Whilst getting to know the city (mostly on foot), I started to document inspiring places that caught my attention. Shakespeare and Company, the beloved, historic bookshop nestled on the banks of the Seine is one of them. Surrounded by books, the smell of coffee and the sounds of live piano drifting through the bookshop make it a beloved sanctuary to me. Inspired by these places I pulled my inkpot and watercolours closer to capture the story of a honeybee named Clémence, and her adventures through the City of lights. This creative project bloomed into The Adventures of a honeybee in Paris (Les Aventures d’une abeille à Paris).
The process of writing and illustrating the book was done with great care and attention to detail. Each illustration was completed patiently, to ensure that each destination drawing would capture the essence of the city that has inspired and intrigued so many creative minds. Living with my senses wide awake I am naturally attentive to the visual and tactile elements that shapes the context within which I find myself. As a result, careful consideration went into the details of the book. From selecting the paper and investigating the way ink settles on different textures of paper, to the size and shape of the book (compact enough to fit inside a traveler’s bag). Appreciative of small details, I decided to include a Polaroid photo of Clémence (another love of mine; photography) in each book. I find great joy in the act of wrapping each book, as a final gesture of the care and attention that has gone into the creation and production of the book. Today, with large scale commercial fabrication as a norm and busy schedules with deadlines lurking around every corner, I find it essential to create things that are made with respect and crafted with care.
I am humbled and grateful that my book has found a ‘home’ at 37 Rue de la Bûcherie, in the company of writers whom I admire and respect. My hope is that the book will inspire people to appreciate the small details in life, to explore and to live with their senses wide awake.
THE ADVENTURES OF A HONEYBEE IN PARIS by Sanet Stegmann is self-published and is available on our website (€15.00).