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Poetry in Bath this Saturday

September 19, 2019


There will be music! And pictures! There will be tea and cakes! And it’s free! Do come!



Somerset Art Weeks at Dove Studios

September 16, 2019

Dove SAW flyer

If you missed the performance of my sequence of poems “A Conference of Trees” in Somerton last month, here’s a chance to hear it on its home ground, in the Circle of Trees in Dove Meadow at 6.30pm on Saturday 28th September, with spine-tingling music improvised by Maya and Bron. It will last about 35-40 minutes. The trees speak to one another and to us.

Also in Dove Meadow you’ll find “Six Unravelling”: installations by Fiona Hingston, Kathryn John, Shannon Leah Watson, Sophie Willoughby, Sue Palmer and host/instigator Bronwen Bradshaw.

Look out for the Tree House Library, half-hidden in a stand of  poplars. In the last three years it has developed from an idea to a platform to a beautiful physical space, designed to house specially-commissioned handmade books by ABCD and other Dove artists celebrating this magical place. I shall be there to welcome visitors to the Tree House Library on the weekend of 28-29 September.

Work to be seen in the various studios at this venue during Art Weeks includes prints, hand-weaving and ceramics. Open 10am to 5pm Sept 21-22 and 26-29 and October 3-6.

PS. Please note that for the Open Evening only, parking is not adjacent to the studios but on Wild Lea field next to the Dove meadow, and accessed from Barton Road – watch out for signs. For all other days, come down the drive to the regular car park.

Also, Paul Stubbs is bringing his Pizza oven on the evening of the 28th, so we will not go hungry!

Ama Bolton-P15smallA page from my book for Al-Mutanabbi Street. (Edition of 24, 2011)

Posted by Ama Bolton on 16 September 2019.

Highlights from “Circle of Trees”

September 16, 2019

I very much enjoyed my two days of stewarding at ACEarts in Somerton, spending time with the books/other works and with visitors.

Here are the books of the circle of thirteen trees of the Celtic calendar according to Robert Graves. We start with Pauline Pearce’s Birch: lino-prints, leaf prints, drawings and snippets of folklore in a large-format book with a wrap-around cover fastened with a section of birch twig.

Pauline birch
Pauline 2Pauline also made a chunky little zigzag book of prints.
Pauline small book
Next is Carol Wood’s Rowan (21 Jan-17 Feb), a book of intricately cut-out pages.
Carol rowan
Clare Diprose’s Ash (18 Feb-17 March) comes next: an ikon-like triptych and a small book of poems.
Clare 1
Clare 2
Clare ash
Thalia Brown made several books and booklets on the theme of Alder (18 March-14 April). She made good use of the startling colours found within the timber.
Thalia 2
Thalia 3
Karen Young’s book My Willow (15 April-12 May) is an accordion structure with inserted pamphlets.
Karen willow
Judith’s Naming the Hawthorn (13 May-9 June) is beautifully designed and made using a variety of handmade papers.
Judith hawthornJudith colophon
My book of Oak (10 June-7 July) is a single-sheet Coptic binding of  A4 photo-poems.
Ama oak 1
Ama oak 2
Jane Paterson’s The Holly and the Ivy is quite outstanding. The first photo shows the book, closed, with its Japanese-style case. The second shows one of Jane’s Mokuhanga prints. Holly represents the lunar month 8th July to 4th August.
Jane holly and box
Jane holly
Jane holly 2
For Hazel (5 Aug-1 Sept), Janine Barchard made a machine-embroidered tunnel-book to lead us into a hazel wood, a smaller book of wildlife associated with hazel trees,
Janine tunnel book
and a book of cocoon-silk pages with hazel photos printed on organza.
Janine silk book
For Blackberry (2-29 Sept) Caroline Mornement made a triangular book “Among the Brambles”, illustrating in watercolour and charcoal some of the creatures that depend on brambles.
Caroline bramble
Nina Gronw-Lewis’s book for Ivy (30 Sept-27 Oct) is inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde. In one version of the story, an ivy plant grows from Tristan’s grave and roots itself into Isolde’s grave, uniting them in death.
Nina ivy
Judy Warbey, whose tree was the Guelder Rose (28 Oct-24 Nov), made a set of triangular pyramids, one for each tree. Graduated in size, they nest into one another with Birch, the largest, as a container.
Judy Circle
Pat Wolseley’s book illustrates the characteristics of Elder (25 Nov-22 Dec).
Pat elder
These books were complemented by Charlotte Humpston’s exuberant banners of the Ogham names for the trees
Charlotte 1
and her book “Ogham”,
Charlotte book
and Bronwen Bradshaw’s very large book of etchings with letterpress-printed text.
Bron title page
Bron 3
Bron 2

Circle of Trees

September 2, 2019

Amazing Space

A Circle of Trees flyer

The latest exhibition of artists’ books by members of the Dove group ABCD opened at ACEarts in Somerton on Friday. As usual there is lots of fascinating work to look at/read. It’s on for a week, so don’t miss it!

Circle of Trees 1

This time, there is a single theme: the Tree Circle at Dove Studios, planted over 30 years ago, comprising 13 native trees. Each member of the group was commissioned by Dove Arts to research one of these trees, and produced work, both books and 2D, over a period of 7 months. The books will later form part of the Dove Treehouse Library collection and can be seen during Somerset Art Weeks this year, Sept 21 – Oct 6. Here you can see the ‘circle’, created by a ring of tables, each ‘hosting’ a tree. In the background against the arched windows are some of the Ogham Tree Scrolls made by…

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An Invitation

August 10, 2019


ACE flyer ABCD

In case you missed the small print: Private View, Friday 30 August 6-8pm. This includes, at 7pm, my sequence of poems “A Conference of Trees” performed by fourteen readers and two musicians. It’s an attempt to look at the climate emergency from the trees’ point of view.

And on Saturday 7th, the first ever Somerton Artists’ Book Event! I’ll be stewarding that day, and Thursday 5th, 10am to 5pm. Do come if you can.

NB the gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Ace Arts is easy to find, opposite the church in the centre of Somerton. TA11 7NB.

found poem: on the coats

August 8, 2019

Another bit of wisdom from j.i.k.

chocolate is a verb

found poem © j.i. kleinberg

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With Bath Artists and Writers, 20th July

July 22, 2019

Genesis 9

It’s not my habit to introduce my posts with biblical passages. But these chilling verses from Genesis, quoted by Sue Boyle at the start of her audio-visual presentation on Saturday afternoon, do sum up pretty well how our species has used the earth and the other species with which we share it.

Sue’s presentation, of moving slides accompanied by Dido’s Lament from Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas”, came to an end in stunned silence. It was magnificent, but applause would have been inappropriate.

For me, this was the high point of an outstanding meet-up.

At our meeting on 1st June, Ann Cullis proposed a project called The June Almanac. The object was to write a short observational piece for each day of the month, avoiding similes and metaphors and the use of the first person. Fourteen of us took part, and later submitted our choice of ten entries, which Ann collated and anonymised. They were read during the morning session by a team of five readers. Later, some of us read a few more entries. They were, on the whole, just as good as the chosen ones. Overall, a very high standard of observation and writing, taking in all the senses, and including notes on weather, human foibles, and activities of birds, animals, insects and  gastropods. Each one was complete in itself, and together they gave a wide-angled view of our lives over the previous month. All the participants enjoyed the process and felt they had benefited from it. We are grateful to Ann for proposing this project and for seeing it through. Below is a photo of the submissions laid out in date order. My June Almanac can be seen here.

122 pieces

The afternoon session of environmental writing was introduced by Peter Reason, starting with a showing of the film “Rise: from one island to another“. Do take a few minutes to watch this film, unplug from your daily distractions, immerse yourself in the beauty of our shared home, and let the poetry heal.

Sue’s presentation (mentioned above) was followed by an unrehearsed ceremony of readings in response to “Rise”. Each reader came to the lectern at what felt the right moment.

After two dear deaths in the past two weeks I was rather emotional, but even without this I think I would still have been moved to tears by many of the readings, and especially by Eileen Cameron’s short poem “A land laid bare”.

Conor Whelan brought the afternoon to a close with a performance from memory of Yeats’s  “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”. The day was a heartfelt sharing of our deepest concerns. As a group we are moving forward into new territory, growing into a deeper knowledge of ourselves and of one another.


Posted by Ama Bolton on 22nd July 2019.