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ABCD: Loose Ends

December 10, 2017

We welcomed Thalia back to the Dove yesterday. She used to come to the book class some years ago, and has now moved back to the area. It was cold outside – we had a little snow the night before – but cosy inside with the wood-stove.

Here is Carol’s flag-book on the theme of loose ends left unresolved in the ongoing Brexit fiasco.


Judith made an abstract interpretation of loose-endedness, a case-bound book with little head-bands and book-cloth pages tied at the fore-edge with strips of fraying fabric.


Pauline brought a maquette for “Nostalgia”, using the printing technique demonstrated by Janine last month to combine snapshots of somewhere she lived as a teenager with drawings of how it looks now. In the finished book she plans to put the complete poem – one that meant a lot to her at the time – at the end of the book instead of on the individual pages.


Caroline deconstructed and re-used a copy of John Galsworthy’s The End of the Line to make a box of unfinished lines.


By coincidence I too re-used pages from an old book, a badly damaged teach-yourself manual published in 1909. No Loose Ends is coptic-sewn at the spine and stab-bound at the fore-edge with all the thread-ends tucked out of sight.


I also brought a copy of The Unseen Web, my one-poem micro-pamphlet about mycorrhizal associations, as it fits last month’s “Connection” theme so well.

Judy inherited a collection of coloured embroidery silks from her great-grandmother. She has started making a sample-book . I hope to get a photo next time.

Jane looked in her box of bits left over from books she’s made in the past, and composed some of them into a sturdy zigzag book hinged with indigo and rust tie-dyed cotton and backed with hemp paper. My rather dull photos do not do justice to the striking black, red and neutral colour-scheme.


Janine brought a book of intriguing juxtaposed images.



Thalia’s tiny concertina packed a lot into a small space, using both sides of the concertina and the space between the two layers.


Clare’s cloth-book includes samples of gorgeous exotic fabrics and memories of an important friendship.


On the theme “Connection”, Bron is making a concertina of 10x10cm plates, made in a place where pilgrim routes converge, printed contiguously. She directed us to the website of Karen Kunc, an inspirational colour-woodcut printmaker who makes fold-books.

Karen could not be with us yesterday, but she sent me photos of her book for “Loose Ends”

After the lunch-break, Judith gave us a demonstration of making book-cloth by pasting fabric (or a delicate paper or print) onto paper. She made use of instructions from the textbook Japanese Book-binding that some of us worked through for a whole term back in the day when we were a weekly class. I think this excellent manual by a Japanese master-bookbinder is now out of print, but copies are still obtainable from some suppliers. Judith also directed us to the helpful and entertaining tutorial on Sarah Bryant’s Big Jump Press,

Here is my book-cloth, made from linen that I waxed and dyed in an indigo vat. I have always used a thin Chinese paper of similar weight to the Kozo paper from Intaglio Printmakers, but Judith’s demo showed me that thicker paper would make the job a lot easier, especially for backing heavier fabrics. This piece dried overnight in an unheated room and peeled off the Perspex with no fuss.


Next month we’ll be meeting on Saturday January 13th, and the word is Bridges.

Meanwhile, in Bron’s words, “have a good midwinter break with all that that entails!!!”

December Dove-droppings

there were equations still on the blackboards
and of course I can’t resist
the perfect English metaphor

nice to have all your loose ends in one place
I should have done it before
it begins and ends with an ampersand

I’ve tidied up and I can’t find my loose ends
in that space in between the old and the new
I went in two directions at once

she made me a nest
what have I done with it
the alcohol is kept under the floor-boards

and there is no translation for fudge
so let’s make a start before we get terrified
— Mornington Crescent

And finally, for Judy and anyone else who may be interested, here is my recipe for
WATER KEFIR, with thanks to Hilda Sheehan.



2 tablespoons Kefir culture

75g organic unrefined sugar – around 3 heaped tablespoons

2 dried figs, sulphur-free

Half a lemon (or lime), washed

3 or more peeled slices of ginger-root



Heat-proof glass or plastic jug

Plastic sieve

Wooden or plastic spoon

2-litre glass jar

Muslin cloth or coffee filter and elastic band

Plastic funnel

Air-tight bottles for second fermentation


Short Method

Day 1, bottle a batch of kefir and make the next batch. Day 2, put the bottles in the fridge.

Detailed Method

Dissolve sugar in boiling water in a heatproof jug.

Add figs, ginger and lemon juice plus the rest of the half lemon except the pips.

When cool, pour into glass jar and make up to 2 litres with cold water.

Add kefir culture.

Cover jar with muslin or coffee filter secured with a rubber band, or leave glass top on loosely.

Leave to ferment for 48 hours. Stir occasionally.

Sieve into large jug. Pick out and discard figs, lemon and ginger.

Using a funnel, pour the liquid into air-tight bottles.

Make a new batch of kefir with the “grains” in the sieve. When they have doubled, in about a week, you can give half away. Or put in the compost.

Leave your bottled kefir for 24 hours. Then refrigerate. It will develop a champagne-like sparkle so don’t leave it more than a few days before drinking it.

Keep in the fridge and drink before breakfast and throughout the day. It can be served in a jug with slices of lemon, marigold petals or whatever.

The culture will be damaged by heat, by contact with metal, by the presence of sulphur and by chlorine. I use tap-water but if your water is highly chlorinated, use filtered or bottled water. When you are away from home, keep the culture, with a little sugared water, covered in the fridge.

(Judy, I will bring the culture for you on Jan 13th)


ABCD “Connection”

November 18, 2017

Ten of us met in the Print Room today. A damp and chilly morning but there was hot coffee, there were stollen and flapjacks and good company and lots of books.

Carol had made a stab-bound book of connections (and one disconnection) illustrated with rubber stamps and connected with black threads. The cover was a lovely bit of marbling.

Caroline, a seasoned sailor of tall ships, decorated a box with knots and photos of ropes, and filled it with rigging and sails

Clare’s book of connections in Pentire Wood was illustrated with rubber stamps and joined with red threads.

Janine brought three books. The one below uses ribbons, buckles, hooks-and-eyes, press-studs and buttons to express the theme of connection

Janine’s book on last month’s theme draws on her memories of making cushions from gorgeous fabrics at Nice Irma’s in sunny Goodge Street in the 1970s.

Janine’s third book was a loose zigzag connected by a strip of hessian sacking and footpath-like lines of stitches. It had a wonderful smell.

Both Judy’s books were rather flower-like. One was made from interconnecting zigzag strips of map, which can be arranged in a variety of shapes, and the other combines folds and curves in a book-form that seems to ask to be rotated.

Judy 1

Karen made a very neat construction of four connected books that fold into a box shape. Each one is about one of the festivals in Wells, and they open up into a cruciform  that suggests the floor-plan of Wells Cathedral.

When I got home I discovered that unfortunately I don’t have any photos of Pauline’s work. She brought a book in which collaged fragments of woodcuts connected from page to page, and spoke of a project based on the history of letter-forms, and handwriting-related connections within her family history.

Jane too has an idea in mind. We all thought it was a good idea!

I have been busy with other things but I did bring a work in progress, a collaboration with my grandson, who suggested this week that we should make a book together. Though still at pre-school, he knows how to use an awl and is quicker than I am to thread a needle.

Bron has been busy preparing for exhibitions (see below) but offered us a useful new word: discontached.

Dove Artists e -flyer


After lunch Janine demonstrated the use of Lesley Riley’s Transfer Artist Paper, a versatile means of transferring images to fabric or difficult paper.

Next month we meet on Saturday 9th and the theme is “loose ends”.

November Dove-droppings

Irma la Douce
meandering from A to B
I wish I could get my life like that

it sort of does things
a collapsing star
holes at each bend

how to make a human
with plastic buckles
nicked from a skip

joined-up writing
my blue-stocking grandmother
was an ink-monitor

nostalgia is on the drawing board
books are about protecting and revealing
Ovid’s poetry of exile

I got carried away this time
the smell of hessian
won’t go through the printer


Dove Artists at the Red Brick Building

November 17, 2017

Dove Artists e -flyer

Only seventeen of these left in my studio

November 15, 2017

Compass resized

Beautiful book, wonderful poems. You can read about it here

Reproducing “Between two Moons”

November 14, 2017

Facsimile in progress

Since Art Weeks I’ve had requests for three extra copies of “Between two Moons”. I have covered the boards with blue mulberry paper and added a photo of the original book on the front cover. The chapter dividers are scans of the original rag-paper ones, with hand-painted edges that contrast nicely with the grass-paper flyleaves around each chapter. In this photo the third copy is nearing completion. This beautiful and satisfying sewing is described in detail in Keith Smith’s excellent manual “Exposed Spine Sewings“.

ABCD: Nostalgia

November 2, 2017

Artists’ Book Club Dove met recently to share the books we had, or had not, made on the topic of “Nostalgia”.

I showed the folded spirals illustrated in the previous post.

Carol spoke of her personal nostalgia for the good old days when we were trying to save the world from nuclear weapons. Her book about the women’s peace camp at Greenham Common is a Secret Belgian binding with photos, monoprints and cutouts.

Caroline used a double-square of Indian embroidery to cover her book of material memories – samples of fabric paired with quotations.


Clare found the subject of nostalgia a thorny one. Eventually she mined her past as a feltmaker and came up with a powerfully expressive book of thorns. The quotation on the back cover, translated from Anglo-Saxon, reads ” Strong are the roots of the briar/ so that my arms are broken/ working at them again and again.”

Judy mined on old dictionary and created a secret compartment inside it for two little books and some objects with a freight of memory.

Karen made a flag-book about evocative smells and tastes, incorporating a poem written for the occasion by her husband Ross.


Judith made a large and a small flag-book from her photos of reflections in Iceland.

Several members were eloquent about the books they had not made …

Lunch, as usual, was a rich sensory experience …

Lunch 2

After lunch we folded some spirals!

The next meeting will be on November 18th and the topic will be “Connection”.

October Dove-droppings

a murmur of book-makers
is it a goose
it was completely involuntary

look back in joy
the book I didn’t make
this book bites

we were trying to save the world
the village was a drawing-board

secret Belgian
cut out the middle
I’m actually a bit lost for words

the busyness of finishing things
Julie Christie’s bedroom
in a castle in Sweden

other people’s memories
too many chapters
we choose to unknow

Folding spirals

October 20, 2017

Inspired by Paula Beardell Krieg, I’ve spent the last two evenings folding spirals. First I followed her instructions:

4 spirals

Then I made my book on the theme “Nostalgia” from an old hydrographic chart, with a poem rubber-stamped on the plain side of the paper:


Then I wondered what would happen if I cut one long edge of the paper on a slant, and tried folding it in different ways. With the diagonal folds sloping one way I got a space in the middle. The other way, no space (picture 6).


I also tried making the ninety-degree folds at right angles to the sloping edge:


Then I experimented with making the diagonal folds slope symmetrically about the centre. The green one has standard proportions (i.e. A4 cut in half lengthwise, or larger or smaller in proportion); the other is two and a half times as long.


Finally I made two little standard spirals from left-over pieces of the chart. I learnt that if you want one side to show on the top and bottom, you have to make the ninety-degree valley-folds on that side.

two little ones