Wednesday 13 December 2017

London Magazine winter front cover; and the British Library exhibition and more

In haste, so not a brilliant picture but here is the cover of the December/January issue with my image from Some Light Remains  - and James' new Christmas carol poem is inside.....
Christmas cheer from the London Magazine......
and talking of London - we really enjoyed the Harry Potter exhibition at the British Library yesterday - something for everyone, really beautifully displayed as usual, and some really beautiful old books and the fabulous Ripley Scroll, over 6 meters long - alchemical hand-painted diagram  from the 17th century in Britain, really gorgeous; lots of exciting objects from the excellent Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle too.

More beautiful painted diagrams too in the Wellcome Institute Galleries Ayurvedic Man display too about Indian and wonderful, the Wellcome always a good place to visit....

Attending the Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets dinner and presentation was really interesting  and enjoyable in the evening - many thanks to the British Library for this invitation,.

Friday 1 December 2017

Guest Blogger for British Library Poetry blog

My post has just gone live at

Workshops, Websites and belly-worms was a hard act to follow......but I am very honoured to have been invited....

Meanwhile - just back from the Bodleian show PV yesterday, now open from today....
with an exciting display in the glass case of contemporary work in the entrance hall of the Weston Library; the exhibition of medieval books is a stunning and interesting collection; it is open now until 22 April 2018 - well worth a visit

Sue Doggatt won the first prize - her book is right in the middle of the picture

and Paul Johnson, who was teaching bookbinding at the course at Schumacher College where James Simpson and I first met, won third with his wonderful rendering of the tale of the Wife of Bath shown above.
The  view across towards the Bodleian Library looked pretty good too.....

What a week - the Women in Print Symposium in Sheffield was a joy; six talks centred around Love and Friendship alongside the Rav&Co exhibition at the Millenium Gallery it was inspiring and uplifting, lovely fellow speakers and a real sharing of research and ideas.
Women discussed included Peggy Angus and Tirzah Garwood, Enid Marx and Barron and Larcher, Ethel Mairet and Hilary Bourne, and Mary Hope Greg.
Sheffield looked lovely and was very welcoming - some wonderful artworks in the Graves nearby, there is a Ruskin room in the new Millenium Gallery, a Christmas market and bright golden angels in the lovely wooden cathedral roof with a green man and a sheila-na-gig; still a handsome city.

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Nov 24th - Rav&Co in Sheffield and the Women in Print Symposium

See my September 17 post for details or the Millennium Gallery Sheffield  website.

The week after that - from 1st December - is the Bodleian exhibition - my book will only be on show in a digital format but here are some pics trying to show how it opens out as promised.....

The Wise Woman’s Girdle Book

The asymmetry, irregularity and organic materials of medieval books always inspire my own contemporary aesthetic but a few things sprang out from the books shown to us – new variations of folded papers, the sewing up of holes in the vellum, the ‘veiling device’.

I immediately wanted to make a very female book to hang on a girdle, which would include cosmography and zodiac references, and alchemical, herbal and temporal devices and iconography, for lunar and menstrual cycles rather than the liturgical year.

I then later read about the Voynich manuscript in the LRB*[1] and found that what I had started to imagine possibly already existed; with its coded text and intimations of women’s affairs - the LRB hinted at possible …’heretical descriptions of female contraception or abortion…’ – unsurprisingly, someone in the 16thc had got there before me.
However I decided to proceed with my own version, and meet the Voynich MS head on.

 As the LRB revue pointed out, ‘…studying the (Voynich) MS in the hope of unlocking its secrets is to miss the point ‘… there are ideas embedded in my book but the main idea is to enjoy playing with parallel worlds.

[1] July 27 2017

Friday 27 October 2017

Designing Graphics on the Medieval Page/ Designing English - Bodleian Library

Today I received a beautiful invitation to the PV of the Bodleian Library's new exhibition starting on December 1st ....see my post earlier in the year when I went to a workshop looking at medieval hand-written books. The book I subsequently made has been shortlisted and chosen to be included - hopefully exhibited in the flesh if not digitally, I think the display arrangements may still being finalised...
My post for March 24th under BABE Arnolfini has images from the Bodleian study day and other details - I should have given it its own heading....( it has been a busy year )
and see the images below for the exhibition details or look up on the Bodleian Library's own site...

[revisit the post Women in Print  -20th september post - as well for details of the symposium/study day in Sheffield accompanying the Rav&Co exhibition...coming up soon - 24th November]

Here is a taster of my piece, called
The Wise Woman's Girdle Book 
maybe I will post images of it opened up nearer the time - it is very small when closed up and lives in a little soft leather bag that can be worn on a belt....opens up in various positions to a large spread...

Designing English
1 December 2017 — 22 April 2018
ST Lee Gallery, Weston Library (Map)
Weston Library Information desk 01865 277094

Graphics on the medieval page

This exhibition will illustrate the graphic design of handwritten
manuscripts and inscriptions for the first thousand years of
English, across the Middle Ages.
Showcasing the Bodleian Library's rich holdings of medieval
manuscripts in English, ranging from Old English picture books
or notes scratched into herbals, through fragments of medieval
songs scribbled on spare pages, to masterpieces framed with
illustrations and gold, or new page designs for practical tasks,
such as manuals for handling swans. It will cover the experiences
of both the makers and the users of writing: how craftspeople
planned and made books, and how readers responded to their
To show the likeness to modern craft, Designing English will be
shown for the first two months alongside
Redesigning the medieval book:
a display of contemporary book arts inspired by the exhibition,
through a workshop and competition.
We asked over a hundred contemporary book artists to redesign
the medieval book - the best of these will be on display in
Blackwell Hall and three winning entries will be announced.

Monday 16 October 2017

Ink Paper Print - after the fair

I think it can be said it was a resounding success - over 1800 visitors were recorded coming through the doors and it certainly felt extremely busy from a minute to 11am until closing time ; there were four really good talks ( by James Russell, Jonny Hannah, Alan Powers and Emma Mason ) on offer in the new auditorium at Towner and lots of people made a day of it. Hopefully it might be a regular fixture. The weather and the trains ( more or less for a sunday) were kind and there was a really lovely atmosphere and buzz and some excellent things tucked away on the stands - it was just a question of getting near enough to let the dog see the rabbit.

I was very happy to buy a small but exquisite little watercolour of a decorated elephant by Denise Hoyle, one of the Bardfield painters, from the stand next to me - not much time to browse further afield as a continuous stream of lovely customers and old and new friends passing by.  Kind patrons not only purchased but brought me presents, both comestible and literary. Bought some lovely Harold  Jones wood engraving Christmas cards from Judd Street Papers; there is always good stuff on Neil Jennings Fine Art, and Emma Mason, lovely goodies on Design for Today, and just managed to to get a good look at the last minute at some fascinating watercolours by Kathleen Hale ( better known as the Orlando the Marmalade cat lady - but also a very good artist before, and after, the cat took over ) on the Michael Parkin Fine Art stand at very reasonable prices. I've been writing about Kathleen in my book about Women Painters but you'll have to wait another year to read it...

A copy of my new book Some Light Remains has gone off to the British Library so you can ask to see that in due course...thank you to them...

Conversations with visitors are always interesting and a couple told me they had recently managed to buy one of my very early ( 1976 ) woodcuts printed Japanese style with rice paste and pigment, The Tree of Life in a Lewes flea market. It would be interesting to know its history of how it got there - at least it didn't go in the bin! and is now very well loved, carefully restored and remounted and hangs over their bed. I was very touched by this story; they had looked me up online and come to introduce themselves; sobering to know I really exist out there; and really lovely to talk to them. I wonder where all my other paintings and prints over the years travel around and end up, how many survive .....

I just remembered to take a pic of my stand at the very last minute (when no-one in front of it) - so it looks a bit rumpled! ( not to say blurry in low res - a bit how I felt by 4.30) I didn't have time to take a picture of the wonderful Jonny Hannah and Sharon driving away in their Cakes and Ale Press painted taxi which had been parked outside the gallery all through the show - I had my hands full of bags and managed a wave but not a pic....

next time....
here's to it - many thanks Joe Pearson Design for Today and Tim Mainstone...and Towner, for a fun day....

Saturday 14 October 2017

Towner Print, Artists Book and Illustration fair tomorrow Sunday 15th October

I'm exhibiting my books and prints here and it looks a really good fair - hope to see everyone there........11am - 4.30pm    FREE

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Women in Print

click on images to enlarge and read the text........

Thursday 24 August 2017

ArtWave one week in

Here are some studio shots....

two more weekends and the bank holiday monday to go - do come and visit....the earthenware jugs are by James  the poet, its hard to see from the pic but the owl ones are especially lovely...

Went to hear Jeremy Parrett from MMU Special Collections talk about Barnett Freedman today - really interesting
btw the Towner Symposium in mid September has been cancelled - we thought you might all be a bit ravilioused out - and the show will soon be moving on to Sheffield, where I will be speaking in November next...with a special day event on the women in the group again; watch this space for further details in due course......
and don't forget the Towner Ink Paper and Print event  on October 15...should be great; see blog post two back for the posters....

Sunday 13 August 2017

Some Light Remains - further images

 Still in progress, but printing nearly finished - should have a book or two made for next weekend in my Open Studio - come and find out what it is all about.....11am - 5pm  19-21, 26 - 28, August, 2-3 September  - Lewes Con Club, first room on the left  139 High Street BN7 1XS

Friday 21 July 2017

Summer News

The last batch of talks safely delivered, the next event I am involved with is the big Symposium at Towner on September 16th  - book now for the all day session with refreshments and lunch - look up the Towner website under events - it should be really interesting with lots of good speakers.

Later in December I am involved with another event in our Women in Print series at Sheffield Museum this time- watch this space for more details of that in due course.....

and I will post up some more images of my new book Some Light Remains, with poems by James Simpson in the next couple of weeks; hopefully it will be finished for my Open Studios in Lewes ArtWave which starts 19th August ; the ArtWave brochures aren't quite out yet but there should be some stuff up on the website shortly

Finally saw a couple of the rugs I designed at The Keep last week; lovely colours, 
well done Gaff Rugs, Brighton, I was pleased.
A big thank you to all the many people who turned up for my talk too.

Sunday 11 June 2017


The big summer exhibition at Towner Eastbourne is now on called Ravilious & Co: The Pattern of Friendship - English Artist Designers 1922-1942.
It's a fabulous show curated by Andy Friend, widely acclaimed as the best they have ever put on. it's absolutely beautiful as a display, containing fascinating and little seen new pieces, and together with the accompanying book newly published by Thames and Hudson - containing excellent new research and juxtapositions. Not just another exhibition about Ravilious, Andy has certainly made a case for the women in the group too I am very pleased to report...

I am giving a talk at Towner on Thursday 25th June called Friendships, Significant Others and Topographical Clumps
Much can affect inspiration, a career, fame or lack of it; this talk focuses on the women in the exhibition, within a wider web of their own affiliations and networks across the country,
looking at their artwork in the context of social and political changes in the twenties and thirties and wartime disruption on the home front. 

There are other talks by Eric Ravilious and Tirzah Garwood's daughter Anne about her mother, and others about Thomas Hennel, Bawden, and Cecilia Dunbar Hay - check the events section of the website at  and click more if necessary....

I am giving another open talk at The Keep, previously East Sussex Archive, on July 12th

These are among others concerning the women discussed in my book about Women Artists between 1910 and 1960 which will be published next year....of which more in due course...

Meanwhile I am working on new Artists Books with poet James Simpson, and other work for my Open Studio in Lewes Artwave the last two weekends in August and first weekend in September - again more details in due course...still waiting for summer to really settle down before I think about August and September.....

...meanwhile women I will probably discuss in my talks include Tirzah, Claudia Freedman, Enid Marx, Diana Low, Phyllis Dodd, Peggy Angus, E Q Nicholson, Katherine Church, Mildred (Elsi) Eldridge and Evelyn Dunbar - and a few others .....
I will try and have a different angle for the two talks too....

see you there?

Sunday 9 April 2017

Landscape and Literature at the Wealden and Downland Living Museum

Just back from a glorious day at Singleton at this event - incredible sunshine and bursting buds and birdsong, and a splendid gallery of speakers organised by writer Suzanne Joinson, author of two good novels I've enjoyed, The Photographer's Wife and A Lady Cyclist's Guide to Kashgar . In the morning there was a great presentation by Alexandra Harris ( Weatherlands and The Romantic Moderns) starting off a discussion with Suzanne which then widened out to include us all; then Clare Best introduced and launched her new book done with Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis Springlines (available now from Little Toller) - from dew-ponds to ancient wells via hammer ponds and other hidden stretches of water; there will be an exhibition from the project 9th June to 23 September in Tunbridge Wells with Mary Anne's artworks.

In the afternoon poets Sasha Dugdale and James Simpson read from their work and discussed how the West Sussex landscape had inspired them and referred back to certain themes which had been cropping up throughout the day - a fascinating and in the end very wide ranging and pertinent discussion about the role of the artist and poet in difficult times and within a global perspective, enhanced by Sasha'a experiences at events meeting poets from around the world and touching on political and ecological issues.

All in all a really interesting day in a beautiful venue and the best possible weather.
Here are a couple of views of the Reddleman's Daughter books I did with James for those visiting this site after the event. ....

Here a some pages from the original book

and the cover

Monday 3 April 2017

Back from BABE

As usual a very nice experience with good friends old and new on both sides of the table. The sun shone and the Arnolfini is in a beautiful spot ( the road works locally and part closure of the M4 the only fly in the ointment for some people). Sarah Bodman looks after us all brilliantly with excellent organisation and tea, coffee and cake. This year her colleague Stephen Fowler was running a BABE passport scheme for the public - visitors could collect an empty passport from the passport control office and have it stamped at participating tables. ( All very topical). My grandsons enjoyed collecting and stamping our communal passport as well as seeing the books at the fair.

I think this might be my first (and possibly last) ever selfie!
And we now have indefinite leave to stay at the Arnolfini - quite a relief. P is looking fierce because he's remembering the M4 and concentrating on willing the tea trolley to appear