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The handmade book – Arc-en-ciel

At last I have completed and editioned my four images for our handmade book due to be published in November.  I am one of six artists contributing four original prints each, in various printmaking media including etching, collagraph, linocut and wood engraving.  The images reflect the colours of the rainbow and are interpretations of specially chosen excerpts from some poems of our choice.  It has been a marathon task.  I am not one for editioning – it is a skilled and often quite laborious task, but I feel a certain sense of satisfaction now my handmade prints on lovely Somerset paper are neatly piled and being flattened under boards with heavy weights on top – all 75 of them (including spares).   We will be producing 12 books with 6 for sale at £350 each.  An absolute bargain!  And I’m not joking about that!

Here is a preview of my  contributions.

I chose an excerpt from a poem by Alyson Hallett for ‘white’.  It’s from a book of poems, photographs and scientific text called “Six Days in Iceland”, published by Dropstone Press.   The poem is called “Atlas of Iceland in Nineteen Pages”, and the excerpt is from a section entitled “P.11”.  The print is not exactly white!  But then what is?



“Out here in this clean air
by this high mountain
with swan-white snow
the sound of melting ice
like the sound stars might make if we could hear them”


For ‘green’ I chose an excerpt from “Before summer rain” by Rilke.



“Suddenly, from all the green around you,
something-you don’t know what – has disappeared;
you feel it creeping closer to the window,
in total silence. From the nearby wood

you hear the urgent whistling of a plover……”


And the excerpt from Elisabeth Rowe’s poem, Bornholm, mentions no colour but it made me think of  ‘indigo’. The poem is from her collection, “Surface Tension”, published by Peterloo Poets.




“Everything is in shift:
obedient to the moon, each tide aligns
and re-aligns the watery interface of
earth, air and ocean.”


John Magee’s poem “High flight” also made me think of ‘indigo’.  But then, again, it’s a question of how you interpret the words “burning blue”.  Perhaps we’ll place it between the two.





“Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew –
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”
If you’re interested in seeing the book please contact me (mary@gulwork.wanadoo.co.uk) and I can give you details of the exhibition at High Cross House, Dartington where it will be on display from November 2013 to January 2014, together with individually framed examples of all the prints and texts (for sale too).