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SAW Festival ’19 at Dove Studios 1) On the meadow

September 26, 2019

Amazing Space

‘Start by not knowing’, the Dove Arts artists’ residency in June, turned into ‘SixUnravel’ for the presentation of our work. Here is some of it.

SixUnravel 6 for blogSixUnravel 1 for blog

Bird Masks by Sophie Willoughby and modelled by the public

SixUnravel 2 for blogSixUnravel 4 for blog

Shannon Leah Watson’s workshop ‘Can you teach me how to knit’ – dishcloths made from torn up charity shop pillowcases (Sue Palmer’s video on the screen)

SixUnravel 3 for blog

Kathryn John’s signpost, which bemuses the dog walkers that come through on the footpath,

Wigwork for blogSixUnravel 5 for blog

Fiona Hingston’s ‘Wigwork’; on the left as featured in Sue Palmer’s video, and right, modeled by one of the knitters….

SixUnravel 9 for blog

Sue Palmer’s video ‘Who is this, who is coming?’

Tree Guardian for blog

and Bron Bradshaw’s Tree Guardian.

Also on the meadow: the extraordinary Treehouse Library, finished in the nick of time,  with its display of specially commissioned books

Treehouse for blog 1Treehouse 2 for blogTreehouse 3 for blogTreehouse 4 for blog

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When stone talks

September 22, 2019

… what does it say?


she walks barefoot on rainwet grass
clockwise from stone to stone


a banner is billowing
we follow
walking into silence

silence is a crow’s cry
a plane high overhead
a dog barking far away

mountain corrie lake

in the top of this stone
there’s a landscape
a mountain
a corrie
and a lake

stone cup

on my knees in wet grass I dip my head
to sip from the stone’s cup
rainwater soft on the lips
cold on the tongue

tilt my face to the sun
midway between midsummer
and midwinter

let something go
it’s done
it’s gone
move on


KIN says the flag
we are kin to these stones
these encircling trees
these lichens this grass this breeze

Lichens 2

what can we give
to undo the damage

to undamage our doings

she hands me a flag
and I tilt with the tilt of the turning earth
whose bones are stone


between a squat stone
and a squat stone tower
a towering cloud
and stones like sheep asleep

slow and deep
the stones are speaking

she’s a receiver
tuned to their frequency

Stone cloud tower

when all the flags are untied

all the words
flutter round this field of stones


books to buy
fresh-baked cakes
and cider to savour

book and cider

“If only all shopping could be like this!”


Posted by Ama Bolton on 22 September 2019

Poetry in Bath this Saturday

September 19, 2019


There will be music! And pictures! There will be tea and cakes! And it’s free! Do come!


Somerset Art Weeks at Dove Studios

September 16, 2019

Dove SAW flyer

If you missed the performance of my sequence of poems “A Conference of Trees” in Somerton last month, here’s a chance to hear it on its home ground, in the Circle of Trees in Dove Meadow at 6.30pm on Saturday 28th September, with spine-tingling music improvised by Maya and Bron. It will last about 35-40 minutes. The trees speak to one another and to us.

Also in Dove Meadow you’ll find “Six Unravelling”: installations by Fiona Hingston, Kathryn John, Shannon Leah Watson, Sophie Willoughby, Sue Palmer and host/instigator Bronwen Bradshaw.

Look out for the Tree House Library, half-hidden in a stand of  poplars. In the last three years it has developed from an idea to a platform to a beautiful physical space, designed to house specially-commissioned handmade books by ABCD and other Dove artists celebrating this magical place. I shall be there to welcome visitors to the Tree House Library on the weekend of 28-29 September.

Work to be seen in the various studios at this venue during Art Weeks includes prints, hand-weaving and ceramics. Open 10am to 5pm Sept 21-22 and 26-29 and October 3-6.

PS. Please note that for the Open Evening only, parking is not adjacent to the studios but on Wild Lea field next to the Dove meadow, and accessed from Barton Road – watch out for signs. For all other days, come down the drive to the regular car park.

Also, Paul Stubbs is bringing his Pizza oven on the evening of the 28th, so we will not go hungry!

Ama Bolton-P15smallA page from my book for Al-Mutanabbi Street. (Edition of 24, 2011)

Posted by Ama Bolton on 16 September 2019.

Highlights from “Circle of Trees”

September 16, 2019

I very much enjoyed my two days of stewarding at ACEarts in Somerton, spending time with the books/other works and with visitors.

Here are the books of the circle of thirteen trees of the Celtic calendar according to Robert Graves. We start with Pauline Pearce’s Birch: lino-prints, leaf prints, drawings and snippets of folklore in a large-format book with a wrap-around cover fastened with a section of birch twig.

Pauline birch
Pauline 2Pauline also made a chunky little zigzag book of prints.
Pauline small book
Next is Carol Wood’s Rowan (21 Jan-17 Feb), a book of intricately cut-out pages.
Carol rowan
Clare Diprose’s Ash (18 Feb-17 March) comes next: an ikon-like triptych and a small book of poems.
Clare 1
Clare 2
Clare ash
Thalia Brown made several books and booklets on the theme of Alder (18 March-14 April). She made good use of the startling colours found within the timber.
Thalia 2
Thalia 3
Karen Young’s book My Willow (15 April-12 May) is an accordion structure with inserted pamphlets.
Karen willow
Judith’s Naming the Hawthorn (13 May-9 June) is beautifully designed and made using a variety of handmade papers.
Judith hawthornJudith colophon
My book of Oak (10 June-7 July) is a single-sheet Coptic binding of  A4 photo-poems.
Ama oak 1
Ama oak 2
Jane Paterson’s The Holly and the Ivy is quite outstanding. The first photo shows the book, closed, with its Japanese-style case. The second shows one of Jane’s Mokuhanga prints. Holly represents the lunar month 8th July to 4th August.
Jane holly and box
Jane holly
Jane holly 2
For Hazel (5 Aug-1 Sept), Janine Barchard made a machine-embroidered tunnel-book to lead us into a hazel wood, a smaller book of wildlife associated with hazel trees,
Janine tunnel book
and a book of cocoon-silk pages with hazel photos printed on organza.
Janine silk book
For Blackberry (2-29 Sept) Caroline Mornement made a triangular book “Among the Brambles”, illustrating in watercolour and charcoal some of the creatures that depend on brambles.
Caroline bramble
Nina Gronw-Lewis’s book for Ivy (30 Sept-27 Oct) is inspired by the legend of Tristan and Isolde. In one version of the story, an ivy plant grows from Tristan’s grave and roots itself into Isolde’s grave, uniting them in death.
Nina ivy
Judy Warbey, whose tree was the Guelder Rose (28 Oct-24 Nov), made a set of triangular pyramids, one for each tree. Graduated in size, they nest into one another with Birch, the largest, as a container.
Judy Circle
Pat Wolseley’s book illustrates the characteristics of Elder (25 Nov-22 Dec).
Pat elder
These books were complemented by Charlotte Humpston’s exuberant banners of the Ogham names for the trees
Charlotte 1
and her book “Ogham”,
Charlotte book
and Bronwen Bradshaw’s very large book of etchings with letterpress-printed text.
Bron title page
Bron 3
Bron 2

Circle of Trees

September 2, 2019

Amazing Space

A Circle of Trees flyer

The latest exhibition of artists’ books by members of the Dove group ABCD opened at ACEarts in Somerton on Friday. As usual there is lots of fascinating work to look at/read. It’s on for a week, so don’t miss it!

Circle of Trees 1

This time, there is a single theme: the Tree Circle at Dove Studios, planted over 30 years ago, comprising 13 native trees. Each member of the group was commissioned by Dove Arts to research one of these trees, and produced work, both books and 2D, over a period of 7 months. The books will later form part of the Dove Treehouse Library collection and can be seen during Somerset Art Weeks this year, Sept 21 – Oct 6. Here you can see the ‘circle’, created by a ring of tables, each ‘hosting’ a tree. In the background against the arched windows are some of the Ogham Tree Scrolls made by…

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An Invitation

August 10, 2019


ACE flyer ABCD

In case you missed the small print: Private View, Friday 30 August 6-8pm. This includes, at 7pm, my sequence of poems “A Conference of Trees” performed by fourteen readers and two musicians. It’s an attempt to look at the climate emergency from the trees’ point of view.

And on Saturday 7th, the first ever Somerton Artists’ Book Event! I’ll be stewarding that day, and Thursday 5th, 10am to 5pm. Do come if you can.

NB the gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Ace Arts is easy to find, opposite the church in the centre of Somerton. TA11 7NB.