© Tom DymondTom Dymond 00447825740400

I recently heard a poet talking about how surprised he was when he saw the illustrations come back for his first book, because the illustrator had seen something completely different in his work from what he saw when he was writing it. It made me think and prompted the idea for this project…

It’s all about exploring and pushing the relationship between words and images, and how they can feed off each other to evolve ideas and take us in completely unexpected directions.

Part chain letter, part Chinese whispers, part consequences game, part conversation and complete experiment, I invited a group of writers and imagemakers to collaborate in an experimental story/ dialogue and see where it goes.

Making the most of digital communication to include a number of contributors across the country, it also allows time to digest thoughts and ideas before responding. In a world of instant comments, shares and clicks, the project gives each participant 24 hours to mull over and create their response before passing it on to the next person.

How it works

I started with one word – the first ‘crumb’ – which I sent to the photographer Tom Dymond, inviting him to have a think about what it meant to him and then create an image to illustrate his idea. It could be a quick snap or a photo set up specially, depending on the time available and how the concept inspires. Alternatively, it could be an image selected from his portfolio that relates to the idea/ theme of the word, be it directly or as a tangential concept/ metaphor. He had to send his image – the next ‘crumb’ – back to me by 11am the following morning. I then took another 24 hours to respond with up to 25 words – the next ‘crumb’ – which I sent on to an illustrator. And so it went on: writer – imagemaker – writer – imagemaker and so on. A thread of linked ideas shaped in twists and turns through each person’s unique slant/ interpretation.

It’s still going on, so if you’d like to take part, email [email protected] to receive your crumb and see where it leads…

Here’s the story so far:


© Tom Dymond Tom Dymond  00447825740400

Image by Tom Dymond

The door clicked shut behind her. She stared up at the sky. Finally, she had done it.

(Words by Helen Gilchrist)

04_Nick Radford


Image by Nick Radford

Sometimes she watched through the keyhole,
Her feet laughing in the draft.
The affair was like an open book
Or an elephant in the bath.

(Words by Gareth May)

06_Jon Cherry

Image by Jonathan Cherry

“Why write your name on the wall –
to mark territory,
to look cool?…”

“Like the caveman understands –
I was here,
with my hands…”

(Words by George Mackay)

08_Simon Peplow

Image by Simon Peplow

Every day she’d knock at the door and listen out for Alice’s footsteps, picking at the pebble dashing while she waited.

(Words by Laura Watkins)

10_Tom Hubmann

Image by Tom Hubmann

Delicate Impressions
Reductions all boil
The violence of concrete truth
Lest we forget
Your Blue Tomorrows
And whisper of impending dreams

(Words by Daniel Crockett)

12_Matt Jessop

Image by Matt Jessop

What’s the worst that could happen if you step on the cracks?

(Words by Joanna Thomas)


Image by Marcus Oakley 

Rinky dink dink, sweets make you think, maybe it’s time to see a shrink?

(Words by Jacqueline Wild)


(Image by Millie Marotta)

“When you get older, this will all make sense.”

(Words by Hannah Stocks)

18_Anthony Greenwood

(Image by Anthony Greenwood)

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