Tag Archives: artists’ books

Winter Blue
Mind Map

This winter I decided to make sure I wasn’t bored, having had to cancel all my courses that usually fill my time. So I decided to go back to school, as it were and enrolled on several online courses. It turns out they all seem to have the same theme, which is – here, now. Here being The Dove, Somerset, and now being Wintertime in a Pandemic. Alongside the courses, and keeping me sane, I’ve been planting trees – lots of them, along with volunteers – on our re-wilding project Wild Lea.

Rainbow over the trees

So trees started to be the theme for the different courses I was doing. Firstly, Placemaking Winter, with Alice Fox. This involves choosing a location near to home, and making dyes and inks from what you find there.

Placemaking sketchbook page

Secondly, Mokuhanga with Robin Frood.

Robin demonstrates Mokuhanga

Japanese woodblock printing using water- based inks. I started using standard pigments

but then experimented with some of my botanical inks

This one, appropriately, used oak gall ink. There’s a long way to go with this exploration, and I shall have to make tons more ink as it spreads very thinly. But the next thing I did was overlay a botanical ink drawing with a mokuhanga print, thus

At the moment I’m wrestling with a multi block print involving Scots Pines, where the block comes out much better than the botanical inks print

So, alongside these two courses, believe it or not, I am doing a year’s online Introduction to Herbalism at the Stroud School of Health. Much more of a struggle! It’s serious school time, and that was such a long time ago….but I’m enjoying making teas, and, currently, investigating herbalism worldwide. I imagine trees might come into this too, or at least plants that grow around trees.

As if that wasn’t all enough, I’ve just enrolled on an artists books course ‘Thinking about Books’ with Les Bicknell of Leicester Print Workshop. Starts in February, so no images yet, but I’m looking forward to new ideas that help me organise all this making into something coherent.

Coherence is what is needed.




Lovely preview this evening – the show looked stunning and friends and supporters came and stayed – and actually looked at the work!  I was chatting to visitors and totally unprepared for an off the cuff vote of thanks that Diana Milstein delivered to me, impromptu, generously; and when she said, at the end of it – do you want to make a speech? in my embarrassment I said No, firmly, to general laughter. Afterwards I wished I’d said yes, but the moment was gone.

I should have said yes because I would have expressed the following: – yes, it’s true I started the Dove Book group 17 years ago, and that this current exhibition stems from that initiative and the 17 years of teaching and facilitating since then. But in another, more important way, this exhibition is the fruit of the persistence and ever increasing expertise of the 13 members of the Artists’ Book Club (Dove), and of our group activities that foster creativity, ideas, laughter, and wonderful lunches. That’s what it’s about for me – the group, and what we can achieve when we work together. So thank you to fellow ABCDers; to everyone who came tonight, and to Nina and her staff and volunteers who were brilliant. I hope you read this.PV4

And please note: the show is on for 6 days only: Saturday 29th, and then Tuesday 1st August – Saturday 5th August. 10 – 5 each day. Two members of the group will be present each day to answer questions about the books, and maybe demonstrate a thing or two.

ABCD (Artists’ Book Club Dove) meeting at the Dove today, to share work done on the topic of ‘Winged’. Ama Bolton usually records the work in her blog, but she is in Poland at the moment, so I’ll do it, using photos Jane Paterson took.

CD Tree Spring Book

Tree Spring Book, Clare Diprose

This is called a Spring book as it starts off folded in half like a book, and then quite literally springs into shape when you let go of it.  Look carefully and you see the birds. I’m collecting poems about trees at the moment, and this tree reminds me of lines from a lovely poem by Andrew Marvell, called ‘The Garden’ – “Casting the body’s vest aside/My soul into the boughs does glide;/There like a bird it sits and sings,/Then whets and combs its silver wings.” Lots of poets in this tree.

CD from above

Tree Spring book from above

CM Winged Altered Book

Winged Words, Caroline Mornement

Caroline found the right book by chance, fortuitously called ‘Winged Words’ and altered it to make this explosion of birds and words. I couldn’t remember the title of the book (see Jane Paterson’s book below about memory – or lack of it) so Caroline emailed me this:

Winged Words

KY Winged Book

Winged, Karen Young

A many winged book; an ingenious piece of paper engineering, with details and inserts that you don’t see here.

JW Insect Book

Insects, Judy Warbey

Judy painstakingly drew 100 insects or so onto handmade Korean paper, and constructed this delicate spiralling book.

JB from above

Winged, Janine Barchard

Upside down, but the best way to see all the pop ups in this book, and the nice details on the spine.


JP Not Winged

Memory, Jane Paterson

Last not least: having set us the topic of Winged, Jane had so many ideas she couldn’t settle on one, so made this book about memory and how it comes and goes as we get older. Ebb and Flow (more Flow and Ebb though).


My studio is going to be open for Somerset Open Studios later this month (new name for Somerset Art Weeks), and I’m sharing it with Pennie Elfick and Tony Martin. Just as well, as I’m off to America for a couple of weeks on Thursday, and will be back for the last weekend: 29th, 30th Sept and 1st and 2nd October. But the work will be there when I’m not, and Pennie and Tony will be looking after the show and answering any questions about the work. They are also giving an informal talk about their work on Saturday 24th Sept (see flyer). The show in the Print Room studio is already up; since we are not having a preview evening, here is a sneak preview.sos-preview-1

sos-preview-2sos-preview-3sos-preview-5We didn’t set out to colour code it, but that is what has happened! That’s what comes of working together. Tony’s work will be hung in the upstairs studio. Opening day: Saturday 17th September.

Etching course 1 for blogMy studio is a fabulous place for courses, particularlly in the summer when the light is wonderful, and it’s warm (we hope). Etching can even happen outside if it’s very warm, or if we need to use the large etching bath. Here you see my regular Monday course beavering away, and here are the sort of etchings that you might make during the 3 day summer course (these were made by students in Venice a couple of years ago, over a weekend, so not even 3 days).

Etching course 3 for blog

I’ve decided to offer a basic book binding course this year. The basics are easy to acquire and go a long way: I still often use the simple fold book for preference, but it’s good to add a few others for a different approach. This one is Single Coptic stitch, which is learnt in a day, though it requires practice to perfect it. It’s a hugely useful binding: as you can see, it’s a way of attaching single sheets, and it opens out flat.

Handmade books 2 for blog

The third of the three day courses will be tutored by Robin Frood, and is Mokuhanga: Japanese woodcut which uses water-based inks, so is a form of printmaking that can happen on the kitchen table. Here are some of the students’ works from 2 years ago

Mokuhanga 4 for blog

and here is Robin (and me) with some of the students at the end of the course.

Mokuhanga 2 for blogFinally, click on the link below for details of fees, dates and how to enrol.

Dove Studios Summer Courses Programme 2016

(I’ve just discovered that doing this downloads the pdf; it doesn’t open it in WordPress)

The topic this month (and last month) was Trees. It’s such a vast subject that several people are carrying on with it into month 3. Here are some of the books, both finished and unfinished, that people brought along today.

Jane P Kiss me in Coombe Wood

Jane Paterson went up to Combe Wood in Butleigh and found carvings both old and new on many of the trees there. She also had made a ‘tree’ out of the leaves of a book of letters ‘of Mr Pope and several of his friends’.

Letters of Mr Pope

Rowena P Monotype

Rowena Pearce still inspired by the silver birch trees in the Mendip quarries she worked in last summer, produced a folder of water based monotypes.

Janine B Trees

Janine Barchard printed photos of her favourite trees and made a simple fold book.

Judy W Woodlands and hedgerows

Judy Warbey – sorry Judy, the only photo I took is out of focus – found a book in a charity shop and inserted pop up trees and poetry.

Clare D Prototypes

Clare Diprose made prototype pop ups of the trees she had helped plant, both when they were planted (bottom) and now (top).

Clare D Cricieth

Clare also brought along a travel sketchbook from her birthday holiday in Cricieth.

Karen Y Christmas Trees

This is Karen Young’s book containing trees cut out from her Christmas cards – there were a lot.

Harry Young Winter Trees

Lastly, a poem by Karen’s grandson is the content of this book.


step in stone – a project taking place in the East Mendip quarries this summer and autumn – gave me a commission to make work inspired by the quarries. The Quarries were indeed inspirational, but what to make to go into them? There is so much there already: stone, plants, fossils, bird life, insect life; the list goes on. After several visits and much pondering I found that the beautiful Google earth map of Westdown/Asham quarry had stuck in my head. So I made my work ‘You are here’ by increasing the scale of the map mightily, and making 10 etched aluminium plates that fitted together to make a map that measured 2 x 1 metres. Here is the story of the project so far, in pictures.

Google earth map

Image drawn with wax onto aluminium plate

the plate is etched in a solution of copper sulphate and salt.

Some of the finished plates in the garden

All the plates

My rubbings of the plate, to be displayed in the Black Swan Arts exhibition for SAW 15

Entering the quarry in pouring rain

Contrasting drills

It looks small now!


Workshop participants have a go at a rubbing

Rubbing close up

Back at the Earth Science Centre

Brass Rubbing 'heel ball' sticks make good rubbings of leaves etc

More drawings and rubbings.

The books are finished

Group photo

I have been commissioned, together with the ABCD group (which you can explore under a separate page in this blog), to make a large outdoor ‘book of memories of the Dove’ for our Amazing Space exhibition this autumn. Today was our first real design meeting, and Jane Paterson had made a model of a fold book based on willow/hazel wands construction, together with experiments on making the ‘pages’ (waterproof, windproof, printable etc etc). Here are the images:

Judith Staines had made paper out of processed willow bark (laborious but interesting), and Janine Barchard experimented with Ama Bolton’s idea of pressing and steaming bark between paper pages to create a stain image. Caroline Mornement printed onto muslin.

Forthcoming dates: on 19th June Jane Paterson is giving us an indigo dyeing day, as the colour blue will be a main colour in the design of the whole exhibition, and on 20th June we will be making the pages. All extremely exciting, and good to have the project underway after months of thinking about it!

(More photos and descriptions on Ama Bolton’s blog)



Mud and Thread

Documenting the creative collaboration between ceramic artist Gill Bliss and textile artist Joy Merron.


BTW poems and links to Barbara Turney Wieland

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Campaign For A Living Venice

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a creative journey


with Kathryn John


pages from an unbound book


Produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW, PROCESSIONS marks 100 years since the first women in the UK won the vote. Somerset Art Works and artist Dorcas Casey deliver a programme of creative workshops leading to Somerset participation in the PROCESSIONS mass participation artwork in London on 10 June 2018.

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