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ABCD June 2013: Midsummer Magic

June 25, 2013

Artists’ Book Club at the Dove met on Saturday. The random word picked out last month for our midsummer meeting was “magic”.

As I’d been working on an erasure of the first scene of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for performance by the Fountain Poets earlier in the month, I thought “Midsummer Magic” and embarked upon a distillation of the whole play, leaving just enough of Shakespeare’s words to preserve the sense and the plot. I’ve been following Dave Bonta’s Via Negativa since August last year.  Dave is a very fine poet. Since the beginning of this year he has been making erasure poems from entries in the 1660 diary of Samuel Pepys – a fascinating process that is evolving as the weeks go by. The poems are very Dave Bonta and also very Samuel Pepys.

Then I bought the beautiful little book “Nets”, in which Jen Bervin has performed erasures upon sixty of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Nets is, quite simply, a clever and delightful book that performs serious whimsy …  Nets gives new life to the sonnets, to Shakespeare, and to all fascinated/netted readers and writers.

W Scott Howard’s essay is well worth reading.

I printed my stripped-down text on the new version of Elliepoo 110gsm paper, which is too translucent to print on both sides. I folded each sheet and put the fold to the fore-edge, Japanese-style, and made a stab-binding with a green thread. This looked bad. It emphasised all the book’s physical defects! The tall narrow format is not right for stab-binding, and the ruler had slipped while I was punching the holes. I re-stitched it with off-white yarn by way of damage-limitation. If making another copy, I might try a single-sheet Coptic sewing, which would at least allow the book to open willingly. Or I might use a more opaque paper, print on both sides and stitch it as a pamphlet.

Ama midsummer

Clare showed us an artist’s log-book made by Imi Maufe, who was  artist in residence on board The Swan, a Shetland herring boat from 1900, during the Tall Ships Race 2011. More here.

Clare’s own Magic Book “A Spell of Rain” was printed in an interesting distressed font on Elliepoo grass-paper and stab-bound in landscape format with a paste-paper cover. Lovely!

Clare a spell


Judith had been to Canada. Her Magic book was made from a vintage “Magic Kit” bought in a Vancouver flea-market.

Judith magic

She told us about the Regional Assembly of Text and showed us a couple of tiny and very charming  artists’ books she bought there: “Make the Most of Toast” by Rebecca Ann Dolen


and “5 helpful notes about each of the following topics: collecting, mistakes, logic, memories, sincerity, change, interruptions, loud noises, courage” by Brandy Fedoruk.


Bron had been to Morocco, and brought back wonderful photos, memories and stories, as well as a set of little pots of very concentrated dyes from the Dyers Souk in Marrakesh – they are called Magic Colours and are different when dry and after wetting –

Bron magic colours

and a Berber alphabet written on parchment.

Berber alphabet

Janine’s book “Magic” held an eclectic mix of magical images and was pamphlet-stitched with a tail of seven knots on the spine.

Janine Magic

Karen’s flag-book “Black Magic” was more than just an excuse to buy a box of chocolates –

Karen black magic

– it was, as we have come to expect, beautifully designed and constructed, with appropriate poems tucked into the end pockets.

Karen cover

Elaine brought a variety of foldy books and origami boats,

Elaine 1

and after lunch she showed us how to make them.

Foldy books and boats

Jane’s boat had a lively crew:

Jane Paterson boat

The word for next month’s books is “mapping”. Or, as Karen suggested, just “ping” if in erasure mode!

I shall not be there; I’ll be doing some map-reading in the Lake District. But there will be a book!

There will be courses in printmaking and Japanese bookbinding at The Dove Studios over the summer.


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