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ABCD: February 2020

February 23, 2020

Seven members of Artists’ Book Club Dove met yesterday. We are all beavering away at our own projects.

Bron is writing music for some of Shakespeare’s songs and incorporating the music into etchings.

Clare is keeping a notebook about the hedge she is documenting. It includes stories, watercolour drawings and new and old maps.

She has also been using material from the hedge to make some very beautiful eco-prints.

Clare prints

I (Ama) have made an eight-page leporello (what’s that? Judith found this lovely explanation) to house an erasure poem derived from this interview. The title is printed with some home-made stamps cut from memory-foam. I also used them to print the walls of the tunnel, cave or mine into which the poem descends.

Ama Downwords

Carol has made a square book of abstract images of her hedge. She brought some small books folded from very beautiful abstract prints she made on a recent course with Sue Brown in Cheltenham.

Carol books

Jane has been thwarted by the weather: grey skies, rain and more rain, mud underfoot and water everywhere. She has, however, found inspiration in a poem, Alcaic by Peter Levi, in the Common Ground anthology Trees be Company.

Peter Levi Alcaic

Pat has her loom set up and is spinning wool for a tapestry to represent her hedge, in the intervals between caring for ailing neighbours and doing botany in Sri Lanka and the Himalayas.

Judith is another of our great travellers, but since breaking a wrist she has been limited to cultural trips to Exeter and London. She recommended Indian Masters at the Wallace Collection, Ed Ruscha at Tate Modern, and everything at the Wellcome Collection, not forgetting the library and cafe upstairs. Judith has made a large-format book of mokuhanga and other prints – known affectionately as boju-hanga – using indigo and kakishibu – fermented persimmon juice – for colouring the cover. The book is put together with a very delicate-looking Japanese stitching (not a stab-binding) that I’ve attempted only on small light-weight books.

After lunch we all made Blizzard books, using the instructions in Art of the Fold, along with Bron’s inspired notes on dimensions. Paula Beardell Krieg’s blog posts on this structure are really helpful. Our next meeting, which I shall miss, unfortunately, will be on Saturday 28 March. Clare has volunteered to collect the March dove-droppings. Hellebores and snowdrops were in full bloom in Bron’s garden.

Conversation was wide-ranging and fascinating, as you may guess from the longer than usual February Dove-droppings.

she sat in a Perspex box
conducting imaginary orchestras
listening to the night

a proper baby carriage
wheeling unfired pots
where the bee sucks

she takes one out and pops it back in
ooh what a lovely thing
but it’s about the genocide

remind ourselves of stitchings
which reminded me of
a recording of ice cracking

the book has a QR code
but I don’t have a smart-phone
do you read music though

a parish map from 1886
iridescent turquoise beetles
and a ladybird in the floodwater

I tried to knit with dried grass
wrap it round a rusty can
and boil it for an hour

the next day I went to the hedge
for ink beyond the oak gall
the golden glow of the first rust

after the sofa disaster
I did go up to Paradise Lane
incredibly muddy positively dangerous

the water was right up to the railway line
and more rain coming
the elvers can migrate across the fields

nothing’s finished or even really started
it’s the endless drizzle
it’s hibernation and gestation

compromise and process
some of it is a bit mokuhanga
I’ll have the argument later

wacky tea and chocolate for altitude
I didn’t mind about the gruelling
but I’m not good above 5000 metres

they sell lichens by the ton
it put us in a taxonomic situation
I’ll ask the entomologists


3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2020 2:44 pm

    Best Dove Droppings yet, IMHO

  2. February 29, 2020 2:48 pm


  3. February 29, 2020 7:07 pm

    Thank you, both.

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