I’ve just taken part in two workshops with Tara Sampey and Jonathan Ward (he leads the Writing Outside courses I’ve been doing at the Cley Wildlife trust visitor centre)

these centred around a walk through fields and a holloway in Edgefield, Jonathan’s home patch.

we collected words and plants

and chatted

sharing a sense of wonder at the small details – overnight rain had collected on these funnel spider webs and turned them into a constellation of shining drops around the black hole of the spiders’ traps

it seems that we have not had rain for weeks and weeks, but there had been some showers (that was about ten days ago)

and the swallows were hawking low over green barley fields

linnets and whitethroats singing in bushy hedgerows

a sad very dead pair of elms loom over a small meadow pasture full of insects

the hedges full of pattern making us greedy pickers beautiful things to print with

back at the hall we were shown how to roll ink onto the gel plates to make monoprints

the mind-bending part is how to make use of the negative image produced by the first print, and the delicately detailed positive which comes after you peel the plant material off the plate

some of the images reminded me of medieval manuscript illuminations

the really exciting part is when you start printing a negative in a different colour over the positive, off-setting

and generally playing about with part of the plate …

so we went home excited, to play with words at home and make some texts which could be combined with the images