Marches Book Arts Group

Mbag Blog/Newsletter

Dyed Paper

2017 NEXT MEETING  ... October 17th ... Papier Mache for Book Arts
September was preparation for the Woodland Fair on Oct 7th  ....We also discussed a new type of Epson printer which comes with 3 years’ supply of ink. One example is the ECOTANK ET-2700 Cartridge-free printing. From the Epson website- ‘This 3-in-1 inkjet with Wi-Fi is easy to use and comes with three years' worth of ink included. RRP: £249.99 incl. VAT.’ Small quantities of replacement ink do not seem expensive.

An Envelope Maker was also demonstrated ...  We R Envelope Punch Board, which makes envelopes of various sizes and shapes, with rounded corners. It can be used to make other imaginative items too - see Youtube. Available from Amazon, Hobbycraft etc. This is American so is based on Imperial measurements.

August was our visit to Newtown Textile Museum.

The Textile Museum opened especially for us and gave a fascinating insight into the lives of the weavers in Newtown. The curator was very knowledgeable and very informative. We were able to see the living conditions and the looms, dyeing, weaving, leatherwork and Crimea blankets.Then on to the Oriel Davies gallery to see an exhibition called Twelve Tall Tales which included a Welsh space suit and red medieval shoes with poulaine! We also enjoyed good coffee and browsing and buying in their excellentt shop as usual.Finally, after lunch,  we visited the Mid Wales Arts Centre. Again the centre opened especially for us and Cathy Knapp showed us around the art work and sculpture and explained the projects underway for developing the centre. We rounded off the day with a delicious high tea in the house, surrounded by an inspiring exhibition including work by Emily and Gordon (mbag members).

How to make small tunnel books with great results! We made a fabulous variety of books.

Briefly – to make an A6 book

·         Cut 2 pieces of quality A4 paper into quarters (4xA6) for the concertina ribs and the pages.

·         Cut a piece of stiff A4 card into quarters (4xA6) (mountboard or greyboard works well)

·         Cut one of the card quarters in half (2xA7)

·         Cover one side of one card quarter and the two smaller pieces with bookcloth or decorative paper for the outside back and the doors. Put under a weight to dry flat.

·         Make the ribs-  fold two of the A6 papers in half, half and half again to get an even zigzag with 8 planes and 7 folds

·         Glue the ribs to the inside edges of the back

·          Glue an image to the inside back, overlapping the zigzags

·         Make 3 pages as frames or cut outs, based on 3 of the other pieces of A6 paper, and stick to the zigzag folds

·         Attach the doors to the front of the front folds.

·         Add fastenings, trim etc

Our June meeting was a Dying Day ... It went something like this .... Put sprinkle of Procian MX dye in a jam jar, add cloth add splash of fix, repeat those 2 steps until jar full. Then microwave for 3 minutes. The results were unpredictable but always colourful, occasionally explosive and always exciting. The group tried out numerous variations and discussed all the ways the resulting fabric might be used in book arts. The hedge was garlanded with all the results as they dried in the sun outside.

Our May meeting was all about the different types of fastening that can be used to fasten, tie or close a book (or box )  We all made paper beads suprising ourselves with the range of possibilities using recycled paper.

April Meeting was another successful get together when there was a gadget and bookbinding tips bonanza with loads of information and advice shared between members on useful book making techniques.

The March Double Needle Coptic Book Binding Workshop was a great success. Everyone discovered the advantages of using a double needle ... ( a needle on both ends of the thread) although it took a bit of time to get the hang of how it worked. We also finalised preparation for our table at BABE ... Bristol Book Arts Fair in the Arnolfini Gallery 1st and 2nd April 2017 and our April exhibition at the 40th Anniversary of  Hay on Wye becoming an "Independent Town."  We will have our Artists Books in shop windows around the town for the month of April.There is also an exhibition of altered books (including several by Mbag members) called "Re-imagining the Laws of England" at Baskerville Hall in nearby Clyro. There is a map to follow aroung Hay to view all the exhibits

February 21st ... This meeting was a flurry of preparation for the Babe and Hay on Wye Events. A chance to share work in progress, techniques and news.

First Meeting on Jan 17th ... Gelli plates and monoprinting for book artists. Bring any useful kit, A selection of paper and acrylic paint if you have some ... and, very important ... an Apron

A record of 2016 ... what we did in MBAG

December was our AGM, A time for a great shared lunch, A visit to Clun Church to see the Stars Exhibition and our Stars exhibited there and making a new book structure for a 2017 calender with Mike Clements. A busy day to round off 2017.

November was given over to Stars and Maps. Unfortunately Katy Alston our guest speaker couldn't make it but will come instead sometime in 2017 at a time to be arranged. However everyone brought and shared ideas on maps and map type books and there were certainly plenty of ideas, examples and resources to inspire everyone. We also made a variety of stars that will be shown in the Christmas exhibition in Clun church. For the past three years the group has participated in this annual event.The Stars will be erected from 9 December for a service on the Sunday 11th.The launch coffee morning is on Saturday 17 December, when the knitted bible should also be in place. The whole event finishes on New Year's Day, Sunday 1 Jan, 2017.

October was a session with  intensive look at Paper and Inks .... There was theory and practice and hopefully everyone is now a bit wiser about which materials to choose and use. See how handmade paper is made at

September Mbag was a visit to Hereford Cathedral to see the chained library,  have a trip up the tower and view the Mappa Mundi. Mbaggers also went to see the exhibition of Altered Books (Halesbury's Statutes, celebrating Magna Carta) currently on display at Hereford College of Art.. Several members of Mbag have work in this travelling exhibition which will go to Bristol on December 16th and then next year to Cranleigh and Hay on Wye. To see the books visit ...

The Shakespeare Books are currently in storage in Liverpool library after being exhibited there in June & July. We are waiting to hear if they are going to an exhibition in Naples ... more news on that to follow soon.

Book Arts Events Events coming up soon are Manchester Book Arts Fair 2016 on October 15th & 16th will be held  this year in The Old Fire Station, London Road, Picadilly on as part of Manchester Design Week. 

The Small Publishers Fair is in Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London on November 4th & 5th

BABE (Bristol Book Arts Fair) is to be 1st & 2nd April 2017 in The Arnolfini Gallery on the Waterfront in Bristol

August Mbag Meeting on Tuesday August 16th .. was a visit to Ludlow Bookbinders, Unit 5, Lower Barns Business Park, Ludford. SY8 4DS. A very informative visit with a talk by Paul Kidson and the opportunity to view the workshop where they produce and repair short run leather & cloth bound books for limited editions. Take a look at  the interesting work they do ...

Clun Arts & Crafts Fair ... Opened July 30th and ran for a week The exhibition included mbag books.

Liverpool Shakespeare Exhibition was at at Liverpool Central Library throughout June and July and mbag had a table at  Liverpool Book Arts Fair also at the Library ...on 8th & 9th July.

The Re-imagining the Laws of England Exhibition has left Northwich Art Studios & Gallery, Northwich  and is now on display in Hereford College of Art for Sept & October. After that the exhibition goes to Leeds Central Library for  November 2016 then moves to UWE December - January 2017. Later in 2017 it will be in Hay on Wye followed by Herefordshire Archive and Records Centre.

July .... was all about tyveck, foiling and the amazing results that can be created with heat, embosing powders, water soluble paper & fabric and the humble plastic bag. Big thank you to Ann Paterson for an inspiring session.

June ... Origami Picnic

May ... Collage workshop

April ... All about setting up a display/exhibition

March 2016 was Pop up Books

February 2016 was the meeting when everyone learnt how to make Jacobs Ladder and Flexagon structures

January 2016 was Rust Dying

Christmas workshop December 2015, with contributions of ideas from members, included 3d pop-up Christmas Tree cards, potato print wrapping paper, house fold cards, ribbon Christmas trees, folded trees and baubles, folded tree cards …

Here are some useful materials

             Sakura Quickie glue pen – pinpoint roller, gives a very fine line of glue for glitter etc

             Stickles glitter glue pens, adult version of glue pen for decorating card

             Daler Rowney mixed media paper 250gsm from Hobbycraft

We had a good messy time fortified by excellent cake

OCTOBER 20th ...

After a talk  & demonstration there was a chance to try making drypoint prints using tetrapaks, acrylic or plastic sheet, card or mountboard marks were made with awls, nails, knives, old biros, etching tools etc. Plates could be cut to shape,  holes made or texture added with sandpaper. The ink used was waterbased Akua. which cleans easily but may not give as sharp an image as an oil based ink such as Hawthorn. Prints were made on damp 150gsm acid free cartridge paper from Paperchase but for quality prints  Fabriano Rosaspina or Hahnemulle is recommended. Materials can also be purchesed from Intaglio Printmakers, Jackson’s Art or TM Lawrence. Google "How to make a drypoint print?" and you can find lots of excellent detailed articles and additional information. 

Other Miscellaneous News/Useful tips/recommendations ... Recommended for Bookmakers ... Fiskars paper trimmer which clamps the paper and cuts accurately.

Scrappies Scrap Store ... MBAG has membership of  Scrappies, so members can visit to get materials. Contact Cathy if you would like to have the membership number.

Manchester Book Arts Fair. Many thanks to everyone who helped. Sadly MBAG sales were poor overall, but the event was enjoyable and good for promoting the group. Thans also to everyone who helped set up and man the stalls/display at Clun and Newcastle

The Re-imagining the Laws of England Exhibition is now in Hereford Records Office have been to Liverpool Library. The exhibition visited London - Lexus Nexus (January 2016), Westminster Reference Library (January 2016), Aldeborough Literary Festival, University of the West of England, Northwich Arts Centre (Summer 2016), Hereford Art College (September 2016)

Priory Hall Fair 14th November from 10.00 to 4.00  Please contact Jen if you have items to sell. Or visit the fair

More on Angels ... There will be a fresh celebration this Christmas ... Hopefully lots of Mbaggers will take part. Contact Veronica for full details.

Open Call for a Book Arts Exhibition to supplement Martha Hall’s exhibition of works as part of Artists’ Books and the Medical Humanities symposium and workshop, organised by the University of Kent and the University of New England. Submission deadline January 15th, various subjects and titles. See  

A CHALLENGE- 50 WORKS FOR £50 ... Oriel Wrexham
will again be commissioning a number of artists to create 50 artist multiples for an inclusive fee of £50, and each work must be small enough to fit inside a plastic capsule. These parameters of cost and scale mean that innovative thinking will be required! It will be up to each individual artist to design a proposal which feels comfortable in terms of material cost and predicted making time. To apply please send the following to: ... A brief written description of what you are proposing to create for Oriel Wrecsam's Art Vend. A brief description of why you want to take part in this project (max 200 words) Up to 6 images of examples of previous work Links to your website or any other online presence.

BLOG for August 18th
.... Summer Picnic was a bring and share lunch and books

Mbag next meeting
will be at the Rodd, Prestigne, on September 15th during H-Art week.

Meet there at 11.00 for 11.30. Bring wellies and lunch. There will be chairs available but not tables, so if you would like table space, please bring your own picnic table.  Cost of meeting will be £5. Please let Cathy know if you will be attending - this should be very interesting & if time we may visit paintings at the Discoed Church or other nearby

Crossings If you are entering a Book for Crossings need to be sent to Amanda in advance of the meeting.MBAG members submitting work for the "Crossings" part of the exhibition do not need to pay the £6 per artist fee, nor the £2 per work for the first book submitted to "Crossings". This is because MBAG was commissioned to produce the "Crossings" works. However, anyone sending more than one book for "Crossings" should consider making the small contribution of £2. The Trust has agreed to waive the normal exhibition fees in order to encourage further collaborations & because MBAG will, in any case, be contributing financially when we visit in September

Conditions & deadlines ... Before Sept 1st ... Send Amanda details of your work (artist's name, title of work, medium/description, dimensions in cm, editions size, price if for sale & a very brief artist's statement that describes your links to the Trust, NB ... prices should take into account that the Trust will take 20% commission on any sales. Deliver the work to The Rodd by midday on 7 Sept.  Books must include your name and details of any special display & handling instructions. You are asked also to unwrap & take away wrappings please. 

Please volunteer for stewarding. Shifts are 10.30am-2pm or 2pm-5.30pm so time to visit other great local exhibits.              

Private view is 6.30pm-8pm on Thursday 10 Sept.  Everyone welcome.  Bring family/friends.

MBAG members are also welcome to submit work to the wider exhibition if you fit the criteria.

go to :

or email Amanda


Newcastle on Clun show at the village hall on 5th September.  Cathy has our books for Newcastle show & Cathy, Kris, Jim and Jen will take care of the work. There will be one table for display, and one for selling.

Marches Scribes will be exhibiting their wonderful calligraphy at Leominster Library in September and at The Discovery Centre at Craven Arms in October. 

Manchester Book Arts Fair 16th and 17th October. Liz, Jen and Anne steward. Mellie and Veronica may visit for one day. Liz will take books and display. Heather has her own table and offered to bring books back.

Magna Carta ... Re-imagining the Laws of England. The exhibition now has eight firm bookings, in addition to the Rodd. Mike has met the publishers and is getting closer to obtaining some funding for transport.The Tour - Sheffield Bank St Arts (September), Liverpool Library (October – November), London Lexus Nexus (January 2016), Westminster Reference Library (January 2016), Aldborough Literary Festival, UWE Bristol, Northwich Arts Centre (Summer 2016), Hereford Art College (September 2016)

Coming up ...Festival of Carols Following the success of the Angels exhibition at Clun Church last year, MBAG agreed to be involved in the Festival of Carols this Christmas. all details to follow.. 

Presteigne Poetry Festival- see

Nicole & Martin The award-winning Swiss travelling theatre company ... All details and booking here:    & email


Blog July 21st 2015   Much of the morning was taken up with discussion and feedback on all the recent events Mbag had taken part in. We continued the meeting with lunch, Show and Tell, ideas for "Crossings" (the exhibition at The Sidney Nolan Trust for 'H art') and origami boxes with Mellie.

The Carousel was a collaborative piece of work with 24 mini books that we made for Attingham Bothy Exhibition .... Mbag has received two offers of interest in buying the carousel but we decided we should carry on exhibiting it for now and consider at a later date whether to gift it to a collection, or to sell to the highest bidder. We would also like to make a stop motion film of it first. 

Liverpool Book Arts Fair was full of fabulous goodies, but poorly attended (possibly due to a lack of local publicity). We had a prolonged and useful discussion about attendance at past and future book arts fairs and also considered the alternative of craft fairs as a way to introduce people to book art. We felt that MBAG needed to go to major events. Some members want to sell books to collectors and/or the general public. Others just want to exhibit. We need plan paying for tables on an event by event basis. Sometimes it may be the whole group and other times a few individuals. Mike suggested looking how ‘Artists Books Online’ manage their exhibitions.

Llanfair Waterdine Arts & Gardens Weekend. We were made very welcome and the display was excellent, thanks to those who were able to travel and steward it.

The Grange Open Day 27th June. The display of Encyclopaedia Britannica drew a lot of interest, and although attendance was low, it was a good opportunity to be part of the continuum from printing and binding professional volumes through to recycling them. The table was free, the venue gorgeous and free refreshments for staff! 

Clun Arts and Crafts Show ...We had a varied display and sold work . Thanks again to members who made it possible.

Re-imagining the Laws of England.... Magna Carta ... This exhibition now has eight firm bookings, in addition to the Rodd. See pictures and details at

Sheffield Bank St Arts (September), Liverpool Library (October – November), London Lexus Nexus (January 2016), Westminster Reference Library (January 2016), Aldeborough Literary Festival, UWE Bristol, Northwich Arts Centre (Summer 2016), Hereford Art College (September 2016)

Art Café at the Secret Hills Discovery Centre .....  MBAG Members have work on display there until 18th August

COMING SOON .... Marches Scribes are exhibiting in Leominster Library in September and in Craven Arms in October.

Crossings at the Rodd. Following on from last year’s visit to the Rodd, we will be displaying books at the Crossings exhibition in September. This exhibition will focus on links between art forms, eg music with visual arts. Part of the exhibition will feature sculpture, and a section will be for MBAG books.  Stewards will be needed for this which is during H. Art week.

We will be visiting the Rodd to see the display on September 15th, 11.30 -3.00. Bring wellies and lunch.

Manchester Book Arts Fair 16th and 17th October.... MBAG will be there  but sadly not at  the ...Small Publishers Fair.  With much regret, due to personal circumstances, the committee felt that MBAG could not commit to attending this year but we hope to return there in 2016. 

Much Wenlock Xmas Fair....   December ... details to follow

Blog for 16th June 2015

Welcome back to Cathy, who thanked the group for the generous gifts. Apologies from Nigel, Heather, Jacqui, Katy, Gordon and others.

We started the day with our Paper/Fabric activity, which was fun and messy! Huge thanks to Jen for guiding us through the process and for providing us with materials. This is a good way of making a durable surface which can be stitched into, used as bookcloth or mounted on a canvas. The technique, explained in ‘Mixed Media Explorations’ by Beryl Taylor, (examples on You Tube) is as follows. Start with a layer of fine fabric (e.g. cotton lawn or linen) on a protective piece of plastic (bin bag). Gradually cover the fabric with dilute PVA or matt medium and stick on layers of paper, covered with more glue. We used paper napkins, tissues, wallpaper, music paper, newspaper, wrapping paper, stamps, magazines etc to produce varied and gorgeous results.


Re-imagining the Laws of England.

Now on at the Rodd until 28th June, and is well worth seeing. MBAG members are well represented. Do look at the website if you can’t get there! The exhibition will tour to five venues ...  Baltic Arts Centre in Newcastle, Sheffield Bank St Arts, Westminster Reference Library, the Headquarters of Halsbury’s Statutes, U.W.E. in Bristol and Northwich Arts Centre. Please email and/or let Mike know of any more possible venues.

Art and garden Festival at Llanfair Waterdine – 27th and 28th June.

Mellie, Liz, Marilyn and Jen will be attending. Please let Mellie know if you have any more nature related books for this event. An invitation to the opening night on June 26th at 7pm in the church has been distributed to MBAG members. Books will be taken from Llanfair to Liverpool BAF.

The Grange (Ellesmere, Shropshire) Open Day -27th June.

Veronica, Jacqui and Nigel will be there with our books.  Please make sure you have delivered your work to one of these stewards. Books will also be taken on to Liverpool. Nigel will be taking a number of Encyclopaedia Britannica for display.

Liverpool Book Arts Fair –3rd and 4th July.

Veronica, Mellie, Marilyn and Emily to attend. Ratchfords will be there, so if you would like book binding supplies, please look at their website and let one of the stewards know what you want, or order on-line and we will collect for you.

Clun Arts and Crafts Show

Set up on 22nd July. Please bring books for this to the next MBAG meeting on 21st July. Some stewards will be needed.

Crossings at the Rodd.

Following on from last year’s visit to the Rodd, we will be displaying books at the Crossings exhibition in September, and we will be working on our books at the MBAG meeting in July. After some discussion we decided to make a suspension bridge with a book display, as well as our other books on the theme. Stewards will be needed for this which is during H. Art week. We will be visiting the Rodd to see the display on September 15th.

MBAG Meeting on May 19th

MAGNA CARTA ‘Re-Imagining the Laws of England’    This exhibition  of Altered Law books opens at The Rodd – launch on 15th June,  

Coming soon ..... Grange Open Day 27th June 

Veronica is liaising with The Grange. Jacqui, Veronica, Jen, and Nigel (with Encyclopaedia Britannica) will be there together with Kris who will be demonstrating marbling.

Our visit to Birmingham Library took place on 12th May. After coffee at the newly refurbished café in Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery we had an introductory talk by David Bishop, Customer Experience Manager, Archives, Heritage and Photography at the Library of Birmingham, including time to look at some of the amazing and memorable Parker Children’s Collection. Following this we had a fascinating tour of the conservation laboratory hosted by Seren Fisher, who explained the work of the Conservation and Preservation Unit, and showed us the huge amount of papers which come into the library for preservation. After lunch we had a tour of the Coffin Factory – a fascinating insight into a historical Birmingham factory making coffin furniture.

Liverpool Book Arts Fair has been booked, Friday and Saturday July 2nd and 3rd – we have two tables. Please let Veronica know if you can help.

Clun Arts and Crafts show.  We have 2 tables at  Setting up will be on 22nd July. Help is needed with setting up the MBAG tables, and stewards needed over the week. Please email Mellie and Joan Kerry  if you can help.

Please Note that our list of members’ details has been updated and is available to members as a printed copy. Please note there are some additions and changes.