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.
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.
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.
Jen challenged us to see through unfamiliar lenses and to write what we saw.
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.
They came back burnt, muddy, rubbed, embossed and trodden on (and that was just the students ha ha….)
Once the paper had been covered with text, pigment….character, each was folded into a book form.
Friday night saw splendid recitations and presentations.
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.
Thank you Jen, Richard, sixteen special students and all at Lumb Bank.