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ABCD: Comfort

January 16, 2017

We met at the Dove on a bright cold morning in January to share our response, or lack of response, to the word “Comfort”. Nina brought three editions of “Hive”, a collective work by about 15 artists. Each participant produces one page, and one artist edits each edition. Nina left early and I didn’t get a chance to photograph them. Maybe next time!  Each edition looked quite different from the others.

Nina also brought a “teabag book” and a template for making the teabag page, courtesy of Pauline Pearce.

Pauline was a visitor and potential new member. We loved the way her books were constructed, and the sensitive lino-prints that they were made from. Here is just one.


Judy has acquired a collection of diaries from half a century ago. She has altered one of them, giving it a black plush cover and filling it with scraps of comfort.

My offering was called It’s freezing out there … let’s hibernate! The box/room and lid/roof are cut and folded from a sheet of heavy card. The two sleeping figures are modelled from salt dough (2 spoons of flour to one of salt, with just enough water to make it stick together: dry slowly in cool oven) and the bed is foam covered with fabric.

Jane brought what she called a five-minute book! Like mine, it depicts a warm bed as the source of comfort. The cover shows an image of an old-fashioned stone hot water bottle.


Karen focussed on comfort food. Her book Chocolate Comfort features a poem by her husband Ross, pictures of chocolates, and a painted wrapper.

Clare’s source of comfort is her patch of woodland. Her book is a triptych incorporating twigs-as-handles, twigs-as-feet and twigs-as-scenery.

Carol Wood, another visitor and potential new member, brought a scrap-book Hidden Greenham, and some beautiful books of lino-prints of birds and insects.

Judith is making a book about Iceland but is struggling with a new printer. She told us about her recent cultural visit to Vienna, where she visited Druk und Buch and Kunsthaus Wien. She’s still listening obsessively to Love Itself by Leonard Cohen.

Janine has been finding comfort in making hand-stitched pages and … listening to the songs of Leonard Cohen.


Caroline’s book has a cover made from an old cardigan and is filled with comforting images … places, blankets, chocolate cake …


Jane brought some shadow-puppets to give us a taste of a possible future workshop/performance. One was a traditional puppet from Kerala; others were made by Jane and by school-children she worked with. The puppets can be made from almost anything!

Judith showed us some miniature books given to her by an uncle who collects them. They are exquisite. Some are produced by Simon Lawrence at Fleece Press.

Next meeting will be on February 11th. The topic pulled out of the hat after lunch was BACKWARDS.

And here are January’s Dove-droppings.

comfortable memories
a hot-water bottle
mother’s recipes

a house in Vienna
a box of seeds
must be locked forever

love itself
how plants colonise
Greenham Common

birds that visit
a book of the wood
for comfort

make them out of anything
chocolate and paint
a nice old cardigan

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Young permalink
    January 16, 2017 10:12 pm

    Thanks for the comfort blog! Well done. X

  2. January 17, 2017 8:21 pm

    Lovely lovely books and blog post ☺️ I too have been listening to Cohen for comfort…

  3. January 17, 2017 9:59 pm

    Wow, lots of lovely books. I’ll be looking up teabag books, and I particularly love the herb garden book and woodland book, but they are all very inspiring. I’d love to know how long the salt dough lasts. I think it would quickly go mouldy here in damp Cornwall!

    • January 17, 2017 10:54 pm

      Good to hear from you Nina. The instructions for the teabag book are in Creating Handmade Books by the incomparable Alisa Golden. You can see it on Google Books.

      When baked, the salt dough is really hard, like ceramic. It can be painted and glazed – I didn’t bother because wholemeal flour gives a beige-ish flesh-colour. I’ll try baking some and leaving it in a damp shed!

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