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ABCD: November at the Dove

November 4, 2018

Ten of the thirteen members of Artists Book Club Dove met on Saturday in a mood of post-exhibition euphoria and excitement about finding our new direction, in which trees and hedges will predominate. Judith brought, by way of inspiration, Forest by Riccardo Bozzi, and a recent reprint of  Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours. She also brought some of her own handiwork, some very beautiful blank books made during a bookbinding course at Dartington with Tom O’Reilly. She also informed us about the following:

Hannah Brown: designer bookbinder extraordinaire now living in Shepton Mallett

and more about Hannah:

Little Book Project in Cornwall:

More images as last lots on this auction site:

Karen brought Norman MacCaig’s posthumously-published Between Mountain and Sea, a book that celebrates a landscape in which I spent a memorable summer in 1964, and Julie Johnstone’s Brevities, in the characteristic elegant and minimalist style of Julie’s Essence Press.

Clare brought her sketchbook, replete with watercolous, pencil drawings, notes and collage, a loving souvenir of a recent holiday in the Scilly Islands with her sister.

Jane brought a book on hedges from Collins’ useful and practical New Naturalist Series, and Caroline brought The Great Hedge of India by Roy Moxham.

To my great surprise and delight,  the rest of the group presented me with a card designed by Jane and a garden token as a thank-you for organising the exhibition.

E Coker mug

And Caroline delivered my colourful prize from the East Coker Poetry Group for a two-line poem that was joint winner of their recent competition, in which each entrant was allocated a random colour as a prompt. Mine was Yellow Ochre:

handprint on the rock
I was here

After the usual splendid lunch we went on a “field trip” to the tree circle in Dove Meadow. Each of us picked a tree (according to our birthday, if possible) from the thirteen species represented there. We will do some research and come up with ideas and prototypes for our chosen species (not necessarily the individual tree in the Tree Circle) to bring to the next meeting on 1st December. This dovetails (see what I did there?) rather well with a poetry project I’m engaged in.

These are the species representing the thirteen Celtic lunar months, as described by Robert Graves in The White Goddess, a book that has been important in the lives of more than one of us in the group.

Birch (Beth) 24th Dec – 20th Jan:    Pauline
Rowan (Luis) 21st Jan – 17th Feb:   Carol
Ash (Nion)  18th Feb – 17th March:   Clare
Alder (Fearn)  18th March – 14th April:  Thalia
Willow (Saille)  15th April – 12th May:   Karen
Hawthorn  (Uath)  13th May – 9th June:   Judith
Oak  (Duir)  10th June – 7th July:   Ama
Holly  (Tinne)  8th July – 4th August:   Jane
Hazel  5th August – 1st September:   Janine
Blackberry (Muin) 2nd  -29th September:   Caroline
Ivy (Gort)  30th Sept – 27th October:    Nina
Guelder Rose (Peith)  28th October – 24th November: Judy
Elder  (Ruis)  25th November – 22nd Dec: Bron

Here are some close-ups of bark from the tree-circle. Click to enlarge.

As usual, I collected eavesdroppings:

November Dove-droppings

I passed the Titanic on the way here
an ichthyosaurus bone
brownish purple red

the taxonomy of colours
fil rouge: a connecting thread
for a year and a day

loops of paper
medical tweezers and giant knives
between mountain and sea

a hedge of spiny acacia
patterns of hedgerows
patterns in the landscape

to keep us on the barricades
where we belong
with birds and invertebrates

thirteen trees in ogham script
beautiful as they grow older
the yew came from Chewton Mendip

index the contents
of the seed-bank
organised by colour

he wanted to learn flamenco
those hand-movements
using sound like light

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