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ABCD at midsummer

June 23, 2019

Eleven of us met at the Dove on Saturday to see what progress we’d made with our Ogham tree books. Most of the books have already been described here, so I’ll just show a few new works for the Ace Gallery exhibition.

Judith could not be with us – she is in Tanzania I think – but she sent me this image of paper contact-dyed with hawthorn leaves, along with some interesting ideas for a script of thorns …

Judith hawthorn 2

Thalia (Alder) has made seven little books and a box to house them,

Thalia box

and  a resource book/sketchbook.

Thalia notes

Clare (Ash) has made  a book for her poem about bringing the woodland to a friend in hospital.


Here is a withy-bundle from Karen, showing several different coloured varieties of willow and tied with the traditional rose-knot.

Karen withy bundle

Bron is making a large (33x40cm) book of seven etchings, with letterpress-printed text on the facing pages. Here are some of them drying.

Bron a love of trees

Jane has been on a course at West Dean, making cyanotypes on paper and linen cloth. She has printed her mokuhanga illustrations for the Holly and the Ivy; they are really special, in soft glowing colours. Janine has made a couple of small books to complement her Hazel tunnel-book, and has started a book with silk-paper pages dyed a luscious lettuce-green. Carol brought her wonderful travel sketchbook. Caroline brought a prototype of the collective book we’ll be putting together at the Dove at our next meeting on 13th July. Pat has been getting inspiration from a gorgeous book from the Natural History Museum. It has illustrations of all the Waterhouse botanical ceiling panels. The price has been reduced to £5: a real bargain.

Lunch was a treat.


And some of us went out to see the orchids in Whitefield. Another treat!


Masses of Pyramidal and Southern Marsh orchids, several Bee orchids and a few spikes of the green-flowered Twayblade that springs from two oval leaves at ground-level. Meadow Brown and Common Blue butterflies, grasshoppers and various bees. We learned from one another. Pat noted that none of the Bee orchids we saw had yet been pollinated. Clare pointed out a bumble bee who, too burly to reach the nectar in a Comfrey flower, was cutting a hole in it. The Yellow Rattle is all going to seed, and we were too late for the Butterfly orchids. Meadows like this are so precious. I gave silent thanks to the spirit of Patrick Whitefield.

Here is my found poem cobbled from fragments of the day’s conversations.

June Dove-droppings

a collection of cauldrons
and a few small flexi-things
soaked in fish soup

unravelled lobster-pot rope
iron makes it very dark
could it be more blue

in the sea for a long time
they pulled her out of the loch
but she’s disintegrated

I went to Sorrento on a school trip
I went to the local gasworks
I asked them not to come with ideas

borrowed keys and sprockets
hand-painted birds and animals
a cork and sealing-wax

the Western mind is trained
to set the colophon again
it seems to me quite normal

I do a lot of hanging
I was printing at 4am

they lose their hollyness
without the pines and the poplars
in the garden at 8 o’clock eating roses

very sticky glue in a squirty bottle
and a bit of bryony out of the hedge
performing like a flashmob


2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 24, 2019 10:04 am

    Love following this journey!

  2. June 24, 2019 3:10 pm

    Thank you Petru … love yours too!

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