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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)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn Manning permalink
    December 10, 2017 11:16 pm

    Good stimulation for winter. I have reduced contacts and need things to trigger ideas.

  2. December 13, 2017 11:35 am

    Glad you found something of interest. Thanks for visiting.


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