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ABCD “Repetition”

April 27, 2017

We gathered at the Dove last Saturday in warm sunshine. Some of us had visited BABE – the biennial Bristol Artists Book Event. My finds included a large and jolly picture book with a blackly humorous message (from OttoGraphic),  a lovely little hand-painted floppy zigzag from Andrew Law, and some simply beautiful, but hard-to photograph, books from Pauline Lamont-Fisher and Julie Johnstone.

I had finished two more books on this year’s themes –  Backwards and Winged. The former opens into a series of little rooms, each of which contains a mirror-poem. The latter is made of cardboard from the recycling box, painted with home-made indigo paint, with added collage and words. The central raven image is a separate revolving piece.

Jane’s take on this month’s theme, Repetition, is a set of boxes with part of a Peruvian-inspired design on each face. When finished, they will be able to be assembled in endless variations on a repetitive theme. The soft colours are remarkably zingy.


Jane is part of an Oxford University project, Redesigning the Mediaeval Book. She has been to the Bodleiean Library for a day of close encounters with a range of mediaeval books, large and small, sacred and secular. We look forward to seeing the book that she will make. There will be an exhibition in December of selected books by the participants.

Judy showed a zig-zag of Rhenalon prints in a box, and some interesting calligraphic experiments with ink on selectively dampened paper.


Carol counts butterflies for the Avon Wildlife Trust. For “Winged” she brought a box of marbled paper butterflies, each on a tiny hand-made spring. They tremble in the slightest movement of air. One of her books on “Repetition” also makes use of movement. Its single page is cut into horizontal slits that spread out when the book is opened. The other is a zigzag of drawn twigs.

Carol 1Carol 2IMG_1507sIMG_1508s

Pauline’s “Winged” is a hanging book, and her “Repetition” can be opened either side to reveal repeated folds. The cover is  printed with a lino-cut title.

Karen has made a little book about repeater pocket-watches.  It has its own velvet pocket.

Clare has made a slip-case for the book she showed last month, and has started on “Repetition” a wavy book of short poems inspired by her many visits to the sea. Photos next time, I hope.

Bron showed us a sample-book she has recently acquired, of Sandersons 1950s designs of wallpaper and fabric. Wonderful! Below: Dandelion Clocks, a classic design by Fiona Howard. And, of course, an instance of repetition.

Judith was recently in Singapore, where she was given a Coptic-sewn notebook and a length of printed cloth cleverly folded and transformed with a couple of stitches into a book. Another instance of repetition.

In the afternoon we went for a walk over some of the land – part of “Butleigh East Field”  where in mediaeval times each family had a strip of land to cultivate – that is the subject of this year’s “Amazing Space” exhibition during Somerset Art Weeks.
White Field was covered in cowslips.

Excavations by badgers show that the soil is actually white. It is tufa, a porous calcareous rock, in this case quite soft and crumbly.

Many fruiting trees were in flower – here are a crab-apple and a quince.

Below: Wych-elm flowers, a Speckled Wood butterfly and one of the local dryads.

Next month the theme will be “Tracks”.

April Dove-droppings

butterflies are on my mind
the pages rise to meet you
they do not strike on demand

back to the sea
torn edges and indigo
speckled wood

trees made of date-stamps
bright green parrot feathers
run by Mormons apparently

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Young permalink
    April 27, 2017 8:13 am

    Thanks so much for the blog. As ever, excellent!
    Love Karen

    Sent from my iPad

  2. sueboylepoetry permalink
    April 27, 2017 9:12 am

    Dear Ama

    This is such a remarkable post. Surely we should include an appreciation of the Dove (?) project as a topic for discussion on Words & Images Day. It would be so enormously inspiring and fruitful… and such a lovely bridge across to Sarah Gregory’s work. Let’s think around it ???


    sue boyle 2017 Cafe Writing Days

  3. April 28, 2017 3:38 pm

    I always love seeing what your group have been up to, thank you for taking the time to share them

  4. April 29, 2017 6:22 pm

    Reblogged this on Bronwen Bradshaw and commented:
    More offerings from the ABCD book group, this time recorded and described by Ama Bolton.

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