To travel through chlorophyll tunnels: Bookart and poetry

July 30, 2013 § 5 Comments


The Arvon Foundation is an astounding and stimulating resource. Established over forty years ago, four historic houses run residential writing courses and create magic.

In the middle of July, with the prospect of perfect weather, the ideal co-tutor and a dream of a guest speaker, I arrived at Hebden Bridge train station laden like a true Travelling Bookbinder.

Jen Hadfield with flea market treasure.

It was the first time dear Shetland friend Jen Hadfield and I had taught together. What a treat. We were able to modify, respond, adapt and restructure our plans as we went along. A true collaboration. Made utterly enjoyable by the delightful reactions and productions of our group.


Abstracting letter forms.










There was word play and experimentation, the learning of folds and new book structures. And instructions to forage; to choose a thing to examine and describe.


Derek foraging.










Jen challenged us to see through unfamiliar lenses and to write what we saw.


Richard Long speaks of walking and making.












Landscape inveterate Richard Long flew in from Japan to show us what he considers to be his first artist’s book, created while travelling across South America with Hamish Fulton in 1972.

The next morning he woke at five to walk up the valley. He said the experience of being in this place – Arvon – and reading Jen’s poetry had opened up a door in him.

Inspiration was evident when students were asked to go and ‘texturise’ a sheet of thick cottony paper using pens, pencils and less conventional mark-making methods.


Flic’s studies in found inks and dyes.











Making art AND catching the rays!










They came back burnt, muddy, rubbed, embossed and trodden on (and that was just the students ha ha….)


Who know foxglove leaves and flower petals could give such deep colour marks? Roni did!












Frances channels Miro.










Once the paper had been covered with text, pigment….character, each was folded into a book form.

Arson by Lynette.

Arson by Lynette.


Jeremy demonstrates how there are two sides to any story….














Carefully berry-stained…













In between times we sat in the sun.










Friday night saw splendid recitations and presentations.


Jen’s Lenses produced and read by Fiona (Complete with props.)














Ela exploring prepositions.











Good listening.


Good looking.

Every morning looking out at the forest wall across the valley made me so happy. Making books makes me happy. Learning/Teaching more about words and books and place has been a pleasure.


Hard to leave this shifting mass of green.










Thank you Jen, Richard, sixteen special students and all at Lumb Bank.

Oh and thank you Hebden Bridge for Radiance, Ruby Shoesday and Snug too!


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