Skip to content

Tears in the Fence weekend

September 20, 2016

Tears in the Fence magazine held a very enjoyable mini-festival in the lovely new village hall in Stourpaine last weekend. Saturday’s events started with a rather challenging workshop on hybr…

Source: Tears in the Fence weekend

Beyond the Page

September 13, 2016

The members of ABCD have chosen ‘Letters’ as our theme for a group exhibit as part of ‘Beyond the Page’, an exhibition of Artists’ books in Bridport. Details below.

I have made two books. One is called ‘Dearist Muther’, featuring two letters from an 8-year-old Victorian child.

My paternal grandmother Phyllis Arnott was born at Levino near St Petersburg on 22nd December 1894, the younger daughter of James Hamilton Cundell, a Scottish civil engineer, and Etty Verena, neé Goodier. The family, including Etty’s mother Mary Ann Radnor Goodier, moved to England in 1901. Phyllis wrote to her mother in the spring of 1903 while she and her older sister Dorothy (Doris) were staying at Folkestone.

Russian, which is spelled phonetically, was her first language. It is clear that she had trouble with English spelling! Her beautiful handwriting is in the style of the C19 Russian copy-books from which she learned to write. In one letter she asks her mother to “plis bring sum kopibuxs”.

Dearist Muther: Phyllis writes home: Zigzag book of 14 pages.
Materials: Jessops 170gsm matt photo paper, Lana Colours paper cover.
Size closed 21x13cm, open 21x up to 182cm.

My second book is ‘Hide and Seek in the House of Letters’.

Hide-and-seek in the House of Letters: Sculptural book of 7 unequal pages.
Structure: “Dream-book”, invented by Mark Wangberg, USA.
Materials: deconstructed cardboard box, wooden skewers, gesso, Dulux paint, deconstructed clothing catalogue, Polyvine matt acrylic varnish.
Size closed 32x19x5cm, open 32x up to 70cm.

Beyond the Page

Allsop Gallery, Bridport Arts Centre, Dorset, UK. 24th September – 15th October 2016

To coincide with Open Book Week and the Bridport Prize Ceremony – Bridport Art Centre’s annual, highly regarded writing competition – we bring you ‘Beyond the Page’. An Exhibition that features Regional, National and International artists using the book as the starting point to inspire both physically and metaphorically within their practice. Alongside this there will be a selection of unique workshops with practitioners who use words, recreate pages and manipulate books in fascinating and unusual ways. The exhibition will feature a special selection of borrowed books from UWE Bristol; British Library acquired artist, Christine Tacq and Sketchlook, a travelling exhibition of handmade sketchbooks from Austin, Texas.

Supporting Events

Learn how to Coptic Bind with David Squirell from Squirell Press, Saturday 1 October, 10-12.30 – £20 per person. Coptic binding is the earliest form of bookbinding dating

back the 2nd century. It requires only a needle, scissors and thread and some skill and knowledge of how to handle and use paper which you will be introduced to in this half day workshop. The books fold out flat so they are perfect for drawing, painting, writing and calligraphy. All materials are provided.

Letterpress Demonstration with Squirell Press Saturday 1 October, 2pm – 3pm, FREE, all welcome.

Visual Zines – Creative Workshop with Megan our exhibitions Officer. Sunday 2 October, 1.30pm – 3pm, £4 Each, Ages 8 – 12. Learn more about Zines and mini publications. Make your own zine with collage, drawing and print.

Film: Relaxed Screening: Book of Life, 3pm

Combined Ticket Offer – £7 for both workshop & film.


Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3NR, UK.

Welcome to Bridport Arts Centre

Bank Holiday Monday

September 13, 2016

GIFT – ceramic sculpture by Jenny Southam


Poems by Jack Clemo set to music by Jim Causley

A new Chapbook from Beau Beausoleil

July 31, 2016

Compass resized

I’m happy and proud to announce a new chapbook from Beau Beausoleil, founder of
the Al-Mutanabbi Street Coalition. Thirty new poems are printed on ‘Metaphor’
recycled paper and hand-bound. The cover photo is by Carolyne Charrington.

These are clear-eyed, uncompromising poems of startling beauty, poems in which language is pared to the bone and each line can lead the reader into a new place, into heartbreak or wonder.

Edition of two hundred copies, available for $15 in USA from overlandbooks(at)

UK and the rest of the world – contact barleybooks(at) £10 by sterling cheque or Paypal only. Postage payable outside UK.


you said
bring me to that place

where we can sweep the words
into each corner

where we can sleep
as the blood dries over us

but I haven’t seen you
since that day
and now is the third hour again
and tomorrow the third year

and my kitchen prayers are not easy

and it is only wonder
that takes me past each darkness

                                                                              Beau Beausoleil

These poems have the qualities of the first light of morning: clear, intense, and essential.
~ DUNYA MIKHAIL, poet and editor

Beau’s poems plunge us into the blind darkness of loss, where we have only the tendrils of each slender, living poem to guide us through the grimness of our world. We peer through the blood on the windows, we name those who gather in the shadows around us, and “the blood dries over us” in our sleep. It is a poetry that allows us to reckon with the public and private dead, but one that can also steer us to wonder. These are poems for the missing, but they are also poems that help us find our way past the darkness, as when a tree slides off the page “and put / its roots / near you”.
~ M LYNX QUALEY, writer, editor, literary activist

This book is a meditative work, not only about actual and present things, but about those who are absent, whom the poet calls the disappeared: I am listening/ to your disappearance’ he writes and ‘the disappeared are there’. Thus, ‘their shaded voices’ can be heard in these poems ‘amid the mountains’. All of this happens in a ‘bare room’ where the bareness, both poetically and humanly, mirrors those who are absent.
In Compass, Beau Beausoleil produces a kind of unity between life as a real experience and the poem’s message as a metaphorical one.








Swindon Poetry Picnic

July 23, 2016


Morag, Rachael, Sara and I will be the guests at Swindon Poetry Picnic on Saturday 30th July, performing our latest collaboration “Second Skin”. Entry is free: bring a picnic and, if you like, a couple of poems to share.

1pm to 4pm – details here.

A quick trip to Edinburgh

July 22, 2016

Daughter Mary discovered that the University of Edinburgh had acquired thirteen of my grandfather Gill’s sketchbooks last year. There are some very good photos on their website. Mary arranged for the four of us to see them on June 24th and booked an exceptionally nice B&B in Morningside, a very pleasant half-hour walk from the University.

We drove up on the 23rd, leaving Gloucester very early in the morning and arriving at 8am for a picnic breakfast in bright sunshine on the sea-wall at Crosby. Anthony Gormley’s installation “Another Place” was every bit as impressive as we hoped. A hundred life-sized cast iron figures gaze out to sea.

Our next stop was at Vindolanda Roman fort and Romano-British village, near Hadrian’s Wall.

Excavations are ongoing and there is an excellent museum. Most poignant exhibit – a tiny child’s shoe. The Vindolanda Tablets were first-century messages written in ink on postcard-sized slices of wood. Hundreds of them were found on the site of a quenched bonfire and painstakingly conserved, photographed  and deciphered. The most famous of them is a birthday party invitation written by a scribe and signed by a military commander’s wife – a rare early example of a woman’s handwriting.

Apart from a short ice-cream break at the border, our next stop was Edinburgh. Keith Paterson’s B&B was all we could have wished for! Quiet, comfortable and civilised and full of interest. This little person, for example, sitting quietly in her miniature arm-chair by the fire-side.


Our appointment at the University library was in the afternoon. We spent the morning in the National Museum of Scotland, where the Celts exhibition is on until 25th September. I cannot recommend it too highly. It is magnificent. I bought a few postcards in the shop. The one below caught my eye, I enquired about it and a helpful member of staff showed me the way. In the summer of 1836 some boys went rabbit-hunting on Arthur’s Seat and discovered in a small cave seventeen tiny coffins. The full story is here.


On arrival at the University Library we were taken to a seminar room and the collection of sketchbooks, in two cardboard boxes, was brought on a trolley. These are no ordinary boxes, we were told: they can survive fire for an hour without being burnt. They are kept on the top floor (in case of flood) in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment.

The sketchbooks were laid on book-cushions for us to look at. We could turn the pages but we were not permitted to take them off their cushions. They contained, for the most part, sketches of buildings and architectural details, and designs for new buildings and alterations to existing buildings. There were notes in French and English. One note read “Half-timbered gables – not a good idea.” I felt that I got to know my grandfather a little better. I remember him as a quiet, kindly man in gold-rimmed specs. His hobby was making violins. The sketchbooks cover his whole career as an architect, from student days in the 1890s to a year before his death in 1960. I’ll add some photos later. They are on Mary’s camera.

It was only my second visit to Edinburgh since I lived there in the late 1970s. It’s a wonderful city and I haven’t seen enough of it!


The Very Quiet Foreign Girls poetry group

July 14, 2016

Necessary reading, from Kate Clanchy in The Guardian today.