BookArt16: A Treasure Trove Of Hand-Crafted Books Tucked Away At The Ledbury Poetry Festival

1 July- 10 July  BOOKART16  The Weavers Gallery, Church Lane, Ledbury  HR8 1DW (this exhibition is now closed)

Cover:  ‘Altered Box Of Much Loved Paints’ by  Jeanette McCulloch 

Each year Ledbury’s BookArt group holds an exhibit during the Ledbury Poetry Festival featuring a collective of works crafted over the span of a year applying various mediums and poetry to create hand-crafted, and at times, printed books. The authors’ works come to life through the use of paints, photography, eco dying, ancient felt making, upcycling and ceramics.

I have attended the Book Art exhibition for the past 3 years as part of the poetry festival experience I look forward to with anticipation. Each exhibit showcases a variety of talent which differs from artist to artist, each as engaging as the last.  I find myself consumed by the pages of each book, and there is nothing more intimate than flipping through the pages of what feels like a personal journey guided by each artist.

It is never possible to cover each artist’s work at these exhibits but there were various special pieces I felt drawn to.

Jenny Leigh used an Eco Printing technique for her book.




Natures Bounty', Ancient Felt Making and Cut & Paste Poetry by Maureen Davis. 'A Visual Journal' by Andrea Mc Lean
Left – ‘Natures Bounty’, Ancient Felt Making and Cut & Paste Poetry by Maureen Davis. Right – ‘A Visual Journal’ by Valerie McLean which reflects on dreams, memories, moods and the arrival of summer.
Photograph Titled Psychedelic Alter, Welcome to the Machine by Ed Mustafic
Photograph Titled Psychedelic Altar, Welcome to the Machine by Ed Mustafic


Indian Tag Book, by Angie Hughes
Indian Tag Book, by Angie Hughes beautiful fabric tag pages in a celebration of vibrant colours using printing and embroidery techniques.
Paper Cuts, Collage by John Rose
Paper Cuts, Collage by John Rose features music posters created by John for the Underground Revolution Hereford, as well, as pieces that celebrate popular culture, pop art, space exploration, music, cityscapes, science fiction, fashion and cut and paste poetry on painted backgrounds.


Claire Billingsley "The Fish That Loved a Bird"
Ceramic book art by Claire Billingsley “The Fish That Loved a Bird”

Based on “The Fish Who Loved A Bird” by Lycus, Claire’s ceramic sculpture brings forth the dilemma that reminds us how lovers of different cultures and races often face unwelcome prejudices pushed upon us by societal expectations, and a fear of what we do not comprehend,  As a paradigm alongside these social standards, which are intruders in the sacred unity of love, Claire Billingsley’s interpretation enlightens us with the fact that love truly has no boundaries and will prevail if it is meant to be.  This piece has sold.

The Fish Who Loved A Bird by Lycus

A fish fell in love with a bird one day.
What was his reason I could not say.
The bird flew down its reflection to see,
the fish jumped high and cried “Marry me.”
The bird simply laughed and flew away,
“Birds marry birds!” was all she’d say.

But while she flew nothing else came to mind,
save the face of the fish she was leaving behind.
No other had spoken to her such words of love,
not the swiftest falcon nor the sweetest dove.
To the beauty of his fins a bird could not compare,
or to the strength of his muscles as he lept through the air.

Suddenly she turned though she couldn’t say why.
Back to the water she quickly did fly.
“Oh beautiful fish how can this be,
a bird of the sky and a fish in the sea?
We never could marry, our worlds are apart.
So why cruelest fish have you stolen my heart?”

The fish gave his reply, and his words sang true.
He told the lovely bird what in his soul he knew.
“Beloved my beloved, oh do not despair,
though I swim in the ocean and you in the air.
Nothing in this world could keep us apart,
if your love is as true as the love in my heart.”

The fish thought about it as best he could,
till he had an idea that would do them some good.
“Sometimes before sunrise at the edge of the world,
I have seen a place where creation’s unfurled.
Come with me my love and our fates we will cheat.
Come to this enchanted place where the sea and sky meet.”
The bird and the fish both made their merry way,
and live happy and in love to this very day.

Now from the look on your face you think my tale a lie.
You don’t believe a beast of sea can marry beast of sky.
These things that I sing, I can prove they are true.
The children of the couple are known to all of you.
A penguin is a bird that calls the ocean home.
What of flying fish? It is in the air they roam. 

Photography by Edoardo Mustafic


Author: M Cuadra

LA transplant living in England with 23 years experience in the fashion and makeup industry. As a Beauty, Fashion and Culture Blogger who loves punk, indie, grunge and live music in general, it's important to engross oneself and co-exist in these mediums to keep a cutting edge perspecitve that produces inspiring work for generations to come.

8 thoughts on “BookArt16: A Treasure Trove Of Hand-Crafted Books Tucked Away At The Ledbury Poetry Festival”

  1. Thanks Minky, the review and photographs of the BookArt 16 exhibition is great, thank you for taking the time to come and look and write such positive comments XX

    Liked by 1 person

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