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ABCD November 2021

November 16, 2021

Eight members of Artists’ Book Club Dove met on Zoom last Saturday: Judith, Caroline, Thalia, Bron, Judy, Janine, Ama, Kate. Some had suggestions as how to proceed with our meetings.

Thalia said she would like a practical element to the Zoom sessions. This could be sitting and sewing/folding together, either individual work or something we agreed on together.

Bron added an idea to this: could someone volunteer to teach a structure? Judith pointed out that this would take a great deal of preparation and also experience.

There wasn’t huge enthusiasm for a ‘topic’, though a few were put forward: migration, unruly, and leaf. We agreed that it was up to individuals if they wanted to pursue any of these.

Going round the circle, one theme that kept emerging was that of walking/roads.

Thalia is doing research on two of her great-grandmothers who were teachers in the 1890s. She enthused about the current exhibition of Eric Ravilious at the Devizes museum; the white winding roads seen from the air featured in his work. He was working on a Puffin book for children about the chalk downlands when war broke out. The book was never finished, but this one was published in 2019.


Bron has been making contact prints from leaves (front and back view shown below) and using botanical inks to draw her multitasking ancestresses, knitting as they walked their cattle to London from Wales.

Judith is working on a book of leaf contact prints for the tree nursery where she volunteers. She mentioned a big exhibition from Australia, about to go on world tour, starting in Plymouth.

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters | The Box Plymouth

Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters

Caroline expressed her interest in the theme of Migration, which is the one she suggested as a topic. She is working on a book about the house from which her family recently migrated, and following the surprise appearance of a teasel in her garden she is making a book about teasels. And she shared a photo of a gloriously autumnal tree at Westonbirt Arboretum.

Judy is taking online lettering courses with Ewan Clayton and Carry Wouters. She reminded us that during the October Zoom we had discussed the themes of ‘Being Here’, ‘From Here’, ‘Getting There’ etc.

Kate is still working on her book documenting thirty craftspeople – two years’ work so far. She has a new project in mind, continuing the ancestress theme.

Janine has made a concertina book about a grandmother, and has sewn strings of birds from scraps of fabric and beads.

Clare was busy coppicing her wood while we were zooming. She has recently suffered a wild-swimming injury. She writes: Partly because of this, and sitting around with my leg up, I’ve been researching river sewage and signing up to monitor river flies (caddis, and May flies, that sort of thing) as an indicator of river health.  Also reading a great deal of environmental stuff – Chris Packham; Kate Bradbury; Dave Goulson’s ‘Silent Earth – averting the insect apocalypse’; and trying to make changes, at very least on a personal level.  That’s where my focus is, and that’s the direction that would interest me if making books. 

Ama. I am working on a collaboration. Not much to show yet, but watch this space!

Lots of ideas came up, some of which are related. All of which are interesting.We agreed that for the next Zoom on December 4th we would use that date as a deadline and come up with SOMETHING to show, even if only at the ‘few pages’ stage. Fingers crossed for successful screen-sharing!

Meanwhile, here are the eavesdroppings from my notebook.

November Dove-droppings

a Spanish dancer
interprets letter-forms
adrift in a vacuum

shapes of printed paper
delusions visions waking dreams
shifted to different rooms

fat little birds on strings
knit their way home
from one horizon to the other

take the floorboards up
starting at the bottom
it took three weeks

with dandelion stems
black walnut husks
and a cedar pod

And here’s a photo of Jane, me, Bron and Judith at Two Rivers Paper, on our recent visit to East Quay at Watchet. Recommended! Read about it in The Guardian.

May be an image of one or more people, people standing and indoor

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