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ABCD August 2020

August 3, 2020

For this month, Bron came up with the idea of making collaborative Blizzard books (see “Art of the Fold” by Hedi Kyle) with 14 pockets. Each of us would make our own page of content, drawn from our lives during lockdown, and reproduce it fourteen times so that each of us would end up with a full set. Somehow this idea disappeared by the end of the meeting, but afterwards I felt disappointed and suggested we should each contribute a single page to a book (for which I would make the blizzard spine) for the Tree House Library.

Caroline shared this nice clear tutorial by the wonderful Paula Beardell Krieg. Paula’s blog, Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works, is full of papery wonders.

Judith has been folding blizzard books from eco-printed papers. She found that Cotinus coggygria (smoke-bush) leaves and flowers yield interesting colours.

Jane took a day-long online workshop on sculptural book processes with Guy Begbie. This is just one day’s work, an experiment, not yet a finished book. It all ingeniously folds up into a blue cover. Wow.

And here is Jane’s work in progress for Landscapes from Chalice Hill. The paper edges are stained with walnut ink. Again, not a finished book.

Judy is using poems for her content: one by Mary Oliver, one by Kitty O’Meara and one by her own grand-daughter. I love the calligraphy, and the colours she has used.

Caroline practiced with brown wrapping paper, then used plain wallpaper, painted. She has been drawing teenage moorhens.

Thalia has made a small blizzard book from gift-wrap from Oxfam.

Janine has made a small but perfectly-formed blizzard book.

Carol is still looking at moths. She was in transit and not able to join the meeting, but sent this photo of a Box Tree Moth. This beautiful species was first seen in UK in 2008 and is considered a pest as it destroys box hedges.

Kate was not with us either, but writes that she had a lovely time with Jane folding paper to come up with the blizzard construction. For her (as for most of us) content comes first so she’s cogitating. Still making drawings of practitioners of the old crafts, and singing with a little choir outdoors. The lovely Bright Morning Stars is a song she mentioned. (NB this performance is not the choir in question)

Pat has a lot going on and could not join us. She is still weaving, and looking forward to finishing this one and thinking about the next one. She has sent me these photos. What rich colours from her plant dyes!

Bron’s life is all tipsy-turbo (that’s predictive text for topsy-turvy) at present, but she did manage to join the meeting. She has been treating all her wooden buildings with a non-toxic wood preservative. For USA suppliers, see

She has put the Tree House library books back on the shelves.

Clare has been spending time painting in a field and enjoying close encounters with local wildlife: a hare, a roe deer and a family of kestrels. She recommended a 1950s book, The Pebbles on the Beach. The latest edition has a foreword by Robert MacFarlane.

Ama: I enjoyed this post from the British Library’s book conservation blog.

I folded a couple of practice blizzard books to refresh my memory, and have made a page of content, Khadi rag paper dip-dyed with red cabbage. The poem was inspired by one of Judy’s Dante calligraphies and by the June Dove-droppings. The font is 1942 report, printed on a lightweight jute paper from Bangladesh. The observant reader will note that my triangles were folded in the wrong direction before being corrected!

Pauline has been very productive. Blizzard books and Coptic-bound eco-prints and …This piece of bookcloth is recycling at the extreme. This is made from a piece of bed sheet (white) that I use to clean up after printing. As I always print with Hawthorn inks and use vegetable oil to clean up, I wash all my rags to enable me to continue using them for as long as possible. This is how this coloured piece was ‘created’. Too beautiful to use again for cleaning up, so it has become book cloth.”

Thanks once again to Thalia for hosting us on Zoom. We shall not be meeting for a few weeks, but we hope it will be possible to get together outdoors at the Dove on the second weekend of September. DV and WP.

Finally, here are the August Dove-droppings

coming from the black square
and a black Dante
multiply your errors

to end up with a short one
slice the bottom off
a handwritten Wordle

beginnings and ends
and words in between
the difficult folds

make a virtue of that
do not go gentle
– are you raging?

pages … I love pages
I went to rescue my neighbour
beauty as a beast

a rainbow in a yellow sky
a storm in the distance
a small blizzard

Hari Rama the Brahma hen
unable to tell right from left
take her home and love her

Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Comma
a three-mile walk and a river-swim
wildflowers and blue butterflies

a roe deer watching me
crossing the days off
looking out/staying in

all the windows open
I’ll lie on my table
a bit wobbly

the year has lost its shape
sleep until the spring
it’s storytelling

2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 22, 2020 4:16 pm

    I’ve just had a go at my first blizzard book – what a beautiful idea it is. You post is inspirational. So much richly coloured and textured work. Words, paper, books. What more could anyone want? And these blizzard books are well suited to haiku I think. Not sure I have time to complete that project yet, but it’s an intriguing idea. Thanks for sharing your work and ideas.
    Julie X

  2. August 23, 2020 6:59 pm

    Thank you so much, Julie. Good luck with filling your blizzard book!

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