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ABCD: Plastic

May 14, 2018

I could not be at the meeting on Saturday, but Jane has kindly sent me pictures and captions to share here. So this report is really by Jane Paterson.

Judy’s colourful plastic pyramid on cotton bud feet explodes out like a lotus flower.
“Flowers belie the toxicity of the plastic”

Karen’s plastic-free book has wooden letters and contains a poem about plastic pollution by her husband, Ross.

Thalia made three books on the subject of tea bags. The first is an envelope book entitled “Is there plastic in your tea?”   Tea bags book 2 is made of tea bags  and 3 is a hanging
book made of plastic lined teabag pockets.

Judith had sandwiched vintage advertisements for plastic objects between plastic sheets which she fused together with an open flame. “You have to be careful not to burn the house down!”  She admitted the process released toxic fumes, which we all found alarming!


Carol had made an accordion book with extra pockets and folds containing cuttings about the problems of plastic pollution.

Clare had made a dramatic hanging book, its colourful pages made up of heat-bonded strips of plastic bags.  Considerable anxiety was expressed about the dangers of releasing toxic fumes in the bonding process!

Jane had revisited a derelict industrial size greenhouse which had become a plastic mausoleum. She photographed the tattered plastic shading, the shrivelled plastic on the staging and the multiple stacks of pots and trays to make her book, “Plastic Requiem”.


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Janine has sewn a plastic book of woven and machine embroidered strips of plastic bags.  “The process sounds horrible” but the effect is jewel-like. The photos above are by Janine Barchard.

Janine BridgesHere is Janine’s book for the topic “Bridges”, a zigzag with pop-out bridges.

Carol Over the Edge
Carol’s “Over the Edge” is a beautifully made continuous star-fold book of lino prints with book-cloth covers.

Carol FrozenAlso by Carol, a fold book of Lino prints depicting her experience of a frozen landscape caused by the “Beast from the East”.

Carol Frozen 2
Another “frozen” book from Carol: “A Fairy Tale Tragedy” written for a grandchild using found illustrations.

The next meeting will be on Saturday 23rd June, and the word is “Navigation”

Clare has compiled this month’s Dove-droppings:

Clare’s May Dove Droppings

warm hearts
good daggers
ordinary tension

keep every single plastic bag
your machine didn’t mind
a phobia about sticky labels

nicely nasty
it has to be felt eyes closed
grain to grain

a tactile book
from a horror film
it keeps coming through

cotton bud feet
stitching ash
not finishing anything

a theory about men in hats
smooth with a smoky
mausoleum to plastic

is it a star fold?
it is now!
I drown in them

two stuck together
what a shame
a poor offering

plastic in your tea
rotting bubblewrap on the back
take your own tupperware

I didn’t have a plastic foot
a waterproof skirt and paper knickers
you have to be careful not to burn the house down

it explodes – listen
liberated toxic fumes
warn… close the… seek medical…

so close to death
fortunately I had things in the fridge
I skin the broad beans



A poem finds a home

April 26, 2018


This poem inspired by a book-cover (Claire  Crowther’s ‘The Clockwork Gift’) is in Coast to Coast to Coast issue 3, Spring 2018. This pocket-sized poetry journal is a beautiful handmade production that features writing by some well-known names. I am so pleased to be published in it alongside them. I’m grateful also to Maria Isakova Bennett for the nicest-ever rejection note when I didn’t make it past the short-list in her recent pamphlet competition!

Walks in the woods

April 21, 2018

Betty Daw’s Wood in Gloucestershire is famous for its carpet of wild daffodils. We visited on the second Sunday in April. No one else was there, just us and the birds.

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Yesterday we were in our local wood, where violets and primroses are succeeded by celandines and wood-anemones before the bluebells take over. Cherry and blackthorn were in flower at the edge of the wood. Sadly there was evidence that humans as well as wildlife inhabit this wood. As one emerges onto Palace Fields there is one of the best views of Wells Cathedral.

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Message to the Universe

April 5, 2018

This heart-warming post caught my eye this morning: Thank you, Margaret Cooter!

ABCD: Frozen

April 4, 2018

We could hardly have picked a more appropriate topic for this month. Some of us made more than one book inspired by the weather.

Clare brought a book “Rough Ground” incorporating paste-papers and a tiny poignant poem-fragment.

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She re-made her “Loose Ends” with a quilted cover, a book-cloth frontispiece and blown-ink illustrations to her poem about a friendship that started with quilting.

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Janine folded some photographs of frost on window-panes into a map-folded star-book.

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Pauline finished her book of prints “Over the Edge”, with a cut-through cover.

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She made two books for this month’s theme. “Frozen in Time” is a stab-bound book of little artefacts from museums printed on pages from a 1980s magazine. The pages are folded at the fore-edge. “Frozen” is a zigzag of Mokuhanga prints mounted on heavy paper, with the words of the title cut from a collograph and pasted onto the cover.

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Jane’s hanging book is her response to being trapped indoors by snowy weather. She splashed white paint onto brown wrapping-paper, folded it ingeniously and added a frame-like cover and a stick from which to suspend it. It is quite a large book, perhaps a foot wide and upwards of 4 feet long.


Judy brought two “Over the Edge” books: one is a fan-like folded accordion with mini-books  hanging from the lower edge, and the other is a Secret Belgian binding with geometrical shapes taken over the edges of the cover and pages. Her “Frozen” is a recycled painting in acrylic on canvas. When opened or closed it makes creaking noises reminiscent of cracking ice.

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Caroline made a book of “Frozen Dove-droppings” (my monthly found-poems composed from the day’s eavesdroppings). She has been in Lisbon recently, and told us about a company there that collects and cleans and re-uses waste plastic to make beautiful and useful items. Their range of hand-made products can be seen here.


You may remember Nina’s use of old letters found in a discarded box for her contribution to “Letters”, our exhibit in Bridport Art Centre. This time she made a flag-book and a cover for it from a 1918 Inland Revenue statement from the same source. For the theme of Bridges, she  made a delightful “Severn Sandwich”, inspired by meals eaten during journeys across the Severn Bridge to and from Wales. Naturally, it is bilingual. Unfortunately I did not get any photos of these books.

I made three books. “Thaw” is a nested accordion pop-up containing a poem written during a recent thaw. I found this structure here. “Frozen” is a double-accordion structure  based on something I saw  on Peter and Donna Thomas’s website. It contains a series of photos of frozen cobwebs, and a tiny poem. “Roost” is a tunnel-book using a photo of a neighbour’s hens sitting on a snowy branch during a recent blizzard. I  added a short extract from Dave Bonta’s Morning Porch blog. Due to my worsening eyesight, none of these books is entirely satisfactory. It’s hard to measure accurately when you’re seeing double with one eye and a fuzzy blur with the other!

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Judith brought some examples of a sewn-board binding that she learnt recently. The one illustrated is a book of Mokuhanga prints inspired by a visit to Iceland. The spine is covered with a piece of Icelandic fish-leather.

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Bron found that a book she had made during the last time we had prolonged snow fitted the theme admirably! “Ten” is a stab-bound A4 journal of ten days of being snowed-in at The Dove in January 2010. Another book “Caves of Ice” was made from Coleridge-inspired etchings. The structure is based on one of Keith Smith’s in “Books without Paste or Glue”, a textbook from which we learnt much in the early years of the book group at the Dove. Instead of glossy colour illustrations it has clear and detailed diagrams.


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Karen could not be with us but she has sent me some photos. She writes: “The first two are from my workshop at ACE with Angela Morley. I made a small hanging from prunings. . I then photocopied it and made it into a book-cover. The other threee are for Frozen.  I based my book on the poremise that each snowflake is unique. I made a case for the book from some indigo-dyed fabric. The book is an accordion with two double map-folds with snowflake patterns on one side and on the reverse is the scientific explanation of why snowflakes are unique.

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Thalia was unable to come to the meeting but has sent me a couple of photos of her book “Frozen”.

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After lunch Judy gave us a brief but exciting workshop on stick calligraphy. We wrote with two widths of balsa-wood strip and learned about cola pens, writing through water and the different properties of Indian ink and acrylic ink. All of us were keen to go and try it at home!

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We talked so much about the plastic problem that we decided to make “Plastic” the theme for next month. The meeting will be on Saturday May 12th.

Finally, here are the latest eavesdroppings.

March Dove-droppings

Jack Frost in map-folds
cut with a scalpel
frozen in time

little artefacts
trapped indoors
with a circle in a square

secret Belgian
random rhomboids
with sound-effects

I like dangly things
all that plastic for one dog
good for Lisbon!

my old man actually was a dustman
more paper from the skip
it’s all about paper

in hibernation mode
the shop ran out of chocolate and wine
not bread and milk

empty book syndrome
feels like the real thing
with fish-skin leather

a man in shorts out there
it felt quite odd really
just the three of us

Flyer for email



A reading on International Women’s Day

March 12, 2018

via #MeToo in Glastonbury

A reading in Bristol, UK

March 12, 2018

Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here bookmark project

I had the privilege of participating in a lunch-time reading at the University of the West of England on Thursday 8th March. This included a tabletop exhibition of books, broadsides and prints made for the project. It was good to see old friends (both people and printed works), and to meet new ones. Julie Bruck’s poem always makes me shed a tear.

Julie Bruck poemBooks on the table

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