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So Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2019 is now upon us, and here is the latest addition to the Dove’s Amazing Space: the actual Treehouse Library building. We did start by not knowing if it would ever happen, and now it already looks as though it’s been here for ages. Now it houses the Dove Treehouse Library collection; however this will be carefully stored elsewhere after the Somerset Art Weeks event it is currently part of, to make way for other exhibitions and events. Pottery and  shadow puppetry are just two such potential events. Let’s see how it all develops……whatever happens, it’s an amazing space.

‘Start by not knowing’ was also the provisional title of a week long artists’ residency that took place in the Dove Meadow this June. Here’s one enigmatic creation from that time:


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The Red Dress came to Dove Arts this weekend. In the words of Kirstie Macleod, whose brainchild it is: “A decade long global EMBROIDERY project centred around a red silk dress ….a vehicle of expression, unity, healing & empowerment.”

Kirstie Macleod setting up the Red Dress in the Dove Print Room

Now, 10 women were invited to add motifs to the work, stitching straight onto the dress in the main.We had invited artisans – from a variety of different backgrounds, age, skills and experiences – BUT all living in Somerset and with a passion for creating and expressing (not everyone having formally embroidered before). Thus far, some 130 artisans from around the world have contributed their stories to this dress, sending in their separate, commissioned panels, to be sewn into the dress by Kirstie. The difference, at the Dove, was that nearly everyone was stitching straight onto the dress. A truly communal experience, rather like being on a slightly wayward rowing boat, with the dress moving this way and that.


Here, some of us are being videoed by Holly and Jo from Barkback films in Bristol. This is an important part of the next stage of the project: to exhibit the work, together with an explanatory film. First stop, Bristol, for International Women’s day in March, followed by the Museo des Artes Popular in Mexico City. And onward from there is the plan. But first there was some stitching to be done at the Dove.

Two days of exhilarating enthusiasm and total focus, resulting in these pieces:

Such an amazing project, linking us to so many amazing people and stories round the world. Huge thanks and congratulations to you, Kirstie!

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Mokuhanga prints by Robin Frood

As the last weekend of SAW ’19 approaches, here are some photos from our venue 108 at Dove Studios. Four artists are showing work in the etching studio (although not all etchings): Robin Frood, Mokuhanga prints; Sandie Roche, handwoven textiles, Diana Milstein, paintings and a moving painting (video); and Bronwen Bradshaw, artist’s book and etchings. Over in the pottery Mike Dodd is showing his functional domestic stoneware and a few not so domestic but very beautiful pots as well.

Below is Robin Frood wrapping some of her small Mokuhanga prints. Mokuhanga is a form of woodcut practised in Japan, using only waterbased pigments, which are brushed, not rolled on. Robin works in series, often using the technique of monoprint, so no two prints are the same.

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Robin Frood wrapping her small Mokuhanga prints

Sandie’s rugs, as see above behind Robin, are true works of art, based as they are on her observations in different locations. She has travelled a lot in southern Europe recently, and her current work radiates the colours of the south. Colour is also a major feature of her scarves, as seen here:

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Silk scarves by Sandie Roche

Diana Milstein’s paintings seen below on the left, are the final product of her moving paintings: she photographs the painting layer by layer, never knowing what is coming next, until she stops. So in the end there is only one painting, but she is also exhibiting stills from the video. The videos can be seen in the adjoining room – pointless to try to photograph them, so come and see them yourselves!

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Paintings and video stills by Diana Milstein

On the right of the photo above are two framed etchings of trees by Bronwen Bradshaw. Seven of them can be seen in the book below, together with text that has been handprinted, using letterpress type, which we are fortunate enough to have a wonderful store of here.

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Artists book with original etchings and letterpress type by Bronwen Bradshaw

Mike Dodd is a hugely prolific potter, always experimenting with new glazes and recently, enamels;  here is his showroom for Art Weeks:

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Functional domestic stoneware by Mike Dodd

Only three days left; come and see us!





Last Autumn I went up to London to one of the first Extinction Rebellion actions. We gathered on Westminster Bridge and listened to people from all over the world, telling us how climate change had already affected their countries.

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XR on Westminster Bridge, 17.11.2018

I resolved then and there to do what I could, with the resources I have, to help make a change in our thinking and actions. What I have, is a truly beautiful space in Somerset, with a one-acre field on which we planted many trees over 30 years ago. Included amongst them is a Celtic Tree Circle: a planting of 13 native trees, planted in 1985 by a group of people attending an Earth Mysteries weekend in Glastonbury.

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Dove Meadow looking towards the Tree Circle, 2018

I had been part of that group but had left the gathering on the Saturday, being more interested in doing than talking about it. I announced that I had land where I intended to plant a Circle of Trees, following Robert Graves’ ideas in ‘The White Goddess’, and did anyone want to come with me? One person did, and she and I spent the rest of the day marking out the circle. Come Sunday morning, and we were wondering how and where to start, when a succession of cars rolled down the drive. The entire Earth Mysteries group had voted to come and plant trees! So we did, and formed groups to plant our ‘birth’ tree (each tree represents a lunar cycle of 28 days, hence 13 trees). By the end of the day the Dove Tree Circle had come into being, born of collective action.

Now, in 2019, the trees have joined up to form a circle. I started thinking: what can these trees tell us? How can we learn from them? My tried and tested way to proceed is to involve the arts in creating an irresistible event. I had a small but adequate pot of funding and decided to commission a series of poems that the trees would speak at a ‘conference’ which the human audience would attend. I asked poet Ama Bolton to do this, and she responded with a  hauntingly beautiful work called ‘A Conference of Trees’.

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Ama Bolton relaxing in the Tree House stewards’ tent before the reading of her poems

Maya Love, musician and singer extraordinaire, contributed musical ideas, and I found 13 people to read a tree each. So on 28th September, we met to rehearse and perform this piece as part of the Dove Studios Open Evening.

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Rehearsal of ‘A Conference of Trees’ (photo: Deborah Weinreb)

The weather, which had been rather nice until then, broke on the dot of the start of our rehearsal, so rather than performing in the actual tree circle as planned, we gathered under the trees in the tree house corner, and the audience gathered under umbrellas with us, and we went for it. It was dark by the time we finished, and our scripts were dissolving, but we made it, and our lovely audience stayed with us.


Maya Love, singing the trees (photo: Sandie Roche)

And afterwards it was off to the studio to dry off and make pizzas, surrounded by art, which were then cooked outside in the rain by Paul Stubbs:Pizzas for blog 2

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The poems had ended with a cry of ‘It’s time to plant trees!’, and so it is: an ongoing tree planting programme is planned for Wild Lea, the field next to the Dove Meadow that 7 people living around it, myself included, bought for wilding 4 years ago. And now it’s time to plant a lot of them, possibly with your, the reader’s, help, as we are putting out a call for participation in the form of funds and/or actual help with planting. Collective action, as with the Tree Circle. It works! One for all, and all for one, as the trees say in Ama’s poem.

Leave a comment below, or message me in Facebook if you are interested in being part of this exciting venture: and I’ll get back to you.


Bron Bradshaw

for Dove Arts



‘Start by not knowing’, the Dove Arts artists’ residency in June, turned into ‘SixUnravel’ for the presentation of our work. Here is some of it.

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Bird Masks by Sophie Willoughby and modelled by the public

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Shannon Leah Watson’s workshop ‘Can you teach me how to knit’ – dishcloths made from torn up charity shop pillowcases (Sue Palmer’s video on the screen)

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Kathryn John’s signpost, which bemuses the dog walkers that come through on the footpath,

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Fiona Hingston’s ‘Wigwork’; on the left as featured in Sue Palmer’s video, and right, modeled by one of the knitters….

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Sue Palmer’s video ‘Who is this, who is coming?’

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and Bron Bradshaw’s Tree Guardian.

Also on the meadow: the extraordinary Treehouse Library, finished in the nick of time,  with its display of specially commissioned books


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Flyer front email

Welcome to Amazing Space III, the third Biennial Arts and Crafts event at Dove Studios. There’s a great deal to see: in the studios there is work by Mike Dodd (pottery), Sandie Roche (handwoven textiles), Diana Milstein (painting, and a moving image painting), and Robin Frood (Mokuhanga prints). Outside, on the meadow, Bronwen Bradshaw, Fiona Hingston, Kathryn John, Sue Palmer, Shannon Leah Watson and Sophie Willoughby display some of the work that resulted from their collaborative residency earlier in the year. And – at last! the Tree House Library is up and running, housing 25 artists’ books that celebrate this small but happening corner of Somerset.

Come to our Open Evening on 28th September, 5 – 8 pm, with a performance in the Tree Circle of Ama Bolton’s collection of poems ‘A Conference of Trees’ and music by Maya Love and Bron Bradshaw. After the performance Paul Stubbs will fire up his pizza oven, and drinks will be available. Parking this evening will be on the adjacent field ‘Wild Lea’; watch out for signs to the entrance in Barton Road. Also, bring a folding chair if you need one for the performance, which takes around 30 – 40 minutes, and a torch to help you find your way home!

Workshops and events: Shannon will be in the Door House on the meadow on Sunday 22nd September and Saturday 5th October with her drop in workshop ‘Can you teach me how to knit?’ The last weekend of SAW will see an ongoing workshop in the meadow: ‘Draw the Trees’, with all materials provided.

We hope to see you here!Dove Meadow September 2019




A Circle of Trees flyer

The latest exhibition of artists’ books by members of the Dove group ABCD opened at ACEarts in Somerton on Friday. As usual there is lots of fascinating work to look at/read. It’s on for a week, so don’t miss it!

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This time, there is a single theme: the Tree Circle at Dove Studios, planted over 30 years ago, comprising 13 native trees. Each member of the group was commissioned by Dove Arts to research one of these trees, and produced work, both books and 2D, over a period of 7 months. The books will later form part of the Dove Treehouse Library collection and can be seen during Somerset Art Weeks this year, Sept 21 – Oct 6. Here you can see the ‘circle’, created by a ring of tables, each ‘hosting’ a tree. In the background against the arched windows are some of the Ogham Tree Scrolls made by invited artist Charlotte Humpston.

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Above, Thalia Brown shows a visitor her series of ‘Alder’ books.

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Ama Bolton demonstrates the ‘Librarium; small boxes filled with handmade books, most of them for sale at very reasonable prices.

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Shortly after this photo was taken we brought in a lot of chairs to create an auditorium for ABCD’s reading of Ama Bolton’s specially commissioned set of poems ‘A Conference of Trees’, interspersed with music from Maya Love and Bron Bradshaw. If you missed this, you can catch it again, this time outside in the actual Tree Circle at Dove Studios on Saturday 28th September, 6.30pm. Bring a chair if you need to sit (the piece last around 1/2 hour), a torch, warm clothing and umbrella if necessary. It’s part of the Dove’s SAW Festival ’19 open evening, which runs from 5 – 8pm, and during which you can also visit the studio exhibitions and treehouse library. Parking is on Wild Lea field adjacent to the Dove meadow, and accessed from Barton Road – watch out for signs.

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On Wednesday 5th June, 6 artists started a week’s residency at the Dove. They are Fiona Hingston, Kathryn John, Sue Palmer, Shannon Leah Watson, Sophie Willoughby, and host/instigator Bronwen Bradshaw. The idea is to spend time together to create site specific work for the Dove meadow, to be show during SAW ’19 this Autumn. Collaboration is our aim, and that extends to making lunch – here we all are.

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And here Sue is displaying the ‘theme’ for Wednesday morning. Though we are supposed to Start by not Knowing, so had to be reminded by a biscuit tin that it was indeed Wednesday morning.


After quite a bit of talking and then walking round the site, we made a start and got to work. Including the bumble bees: Bombus hypnorum, who have a nest in the Door House verandah, and provide a companionable background buzz to our activities there.

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The Door House is our meeting place, library and cafe. It’s been a lovely comfortable space for inspiring and  revealing discussions, including help, ideas and support for each other.

Day Two: a beautiful day which Sue and Kathryn kicked off with some meditative activities, followed by most people spending time outside.


Day Three felt like we were starting to get into our stride. We were mostly in the studio as the weather wasn’t so good. Shannon came back from a day’s absence during which she had taught herself to knit dishcloths. She has a plan involving dishcloths – more on this later.


And day four, today, is a home day of rest and reflection. Everyone comes back tomorrow for the final two days. This project has been so enjoyable and challenging that I can’t wait. Watch this space.


We are offering two courses at the Dove in August this year.

August 7th & 8th Mokuhanga This course is suitable for beginners in the technique, and also for those who want to refresh their skills. Robin Frood is a very experienced tutor, and, in addition to this course, she will be offering one to one Mokuhanga tutorials by appointment.

August 21st & 22nd  Letterpress  Following on the exciting first Letterpress course this month, Robin will be back with another one; you will learn basic compositing skills, and also be encouraged to experiment freely with the lovely wooden type we have here.

Fees: £120 for each course, which will include basic materials.

Times of course: 10 am – 4 pm

Please email if you are interested.

Playing with letters, or as tutor Robin Frood said, ‘Giving new life to old letters’. This was the first letterpress course at the Dove, using some of the treasure trove of carved Victorian type donated to the Dove Centre in the early seventies, which was found later in a damp shed and rescued by Bron Bradshaw. Also using metal type and an Adana press donated by Fiona Hingston, which had come her way when her neighbour, printer Jock Ferguson, of the Millfield Press,  died some 3 years ago. Robin is right: there is something deeply transformative about using all these letters for new words. And I would add, also something humbling about dipping our toes into a tradition that changed our civilisation.

Further workshops will be planned for next year, and we are on the lookout for a bigger proofing press or even a full size press such as an Arab….

Screenprinting with Faye Suzannah, April 13th & 14th

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Faye Suzannah screenprints Amazing Space II 2017

Faye Suzannah made some wonderful work for Amazing Space II a couple of years ago, and she has been invited back to teach a Basic Screenprinting course this April. As she says: ‘Join me to explore a variety of exciting mark and shape making techniques, through the graphic medium of the silkscreen. Using water-based inks, autographic AND photographic stencils, we will cover the basic processes used to make original artworks, or we will make editions of identical prints.’

Letterpress with Robin Frood, May 4th & 5th

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Victorian letters with collograph print (detail)

This is the first time Letterpress has been offered as a course at Dove Studios. We have an extraordinary collection of Victorian hand carved alphabets and extensive sets of metal type; an Adana press and the use of an etching press as a proofing press. And now at last we are making a start, to incorporate letterpress into the printmaking techniques that are already on offer here, such as etching, collograph and woodcut. An adventure, in fact, with tutor Robin Frood, who says: ‘This workshop is particularly suited to artists who want to work with text, or writers/poets wishing to work with image. In the two day workshop, we will cover the basics of traditional letterpress, as well as exploring its creative possibilities. There will be a chance to combine letterpress with woodblock printing, to use the book format, or simply to create text-based artworks.’


Course participants in the Print Room with Robin Frood

For further details of these courses and to enrol, please contact Bron Bradshaw at