The Blue Bell Rings


The Blue Bell Rings, 2011
Handmade book: offset etchings on recycled cotton rag, hand-sewn and coloured

The native British Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is now a threatened species, due to the destruction of its habitat over the centuries, the introduction of an invasive Spanish species, and climate change, which is causing spring to arrive earlier each year, disrupting the Bluebell’s ‘head start’ over other spring flowers.

The Bluebell has a long Celtic folkloric history; fairies were believed to ring the bells to gather a meeting, and any human who heard the bells would die within the year. If you stand alone in a quiet wood, carpeted with a sea of Bluebells, it is easy to see where this folklore came from; you can easily feel that you’re entered some otherworldy space, with more going on than meets the eye.

‘The Blue Bell Rings’ is a handmade book consisting of nine offset etchings on recycled cotton rag, hand-sewn and coloured. It was exhibited under the Atlantic Press at the Bristol Artists Book Event (Arnolfini Arts Centre, Bristol, 2011).

The work used fairytale motif to tell the Bluebell story and open up a magical space. The last plate creates the dual imagery of the rain falling, making the bells ring, and of the bells ringing a warning.