A Beautiful Mother

2010

36 pages

12.5 in.H x 6.25 in.W x .5 in.D

Unique calligraphic manuscript book, from the Beautiul Mother series

A Beautiful Mother presents the poetic stanzas of “We Have a Beautiful Mother” in a loose humanist bookhand, combined on alternating pages with a chant lettered in uncials in a circular form within the square page spread. The paintings are marked with arcs and other circular forms on every page, calling on the classic symbol of the circle within a square. In the background large abstracted lettering repeats “a beautiful mother” across the horizon with large strokes of the broad pen. Where stitching can be seen, the thread has been dyed to match the underlying painting. The book can be stood on its spine to form a circular structure with radiating pages when viewed from above. Inside are images of oceans, buffaloes, grasses, and the earth Herself from outer space, all painted with acrylic and paste in intense shades of blue, green, turquoise, purple, ocher, copper, black and white. The book’s endpapers open and close with images of Earthrise as seen in the black expanse of space.

The texts are, horizontally, “We Have a Beautiful Mother” by Alice Walker, 1991, used with permission; and in the circular form, a contemporary chant spoken in earthwise circles, adapted by Starhawk from Victor Anderson and shared orally with many variations.

Pages, covers and slipcase paste painted with acrylic and inks. Lettering in gouache and iridescent inks with broad-edged pens. Sewn on green, blue and yellow plaid ribbon tapes which also serve as a decorative element on the cover, with exposed stitched binding. Cover, made of Arches hotpress watercolor paper, also has circular motif with abstract lettering of “mother” in shades of blue and green. Titles hand-lettered in acrylic and gouache. Enclosed in a painted and abstractly marked blue and white slipcase, evoking the sky as we see it from our side, made from heavy Saunders Waterford hotpress watercolor paper.

By the air that is Her breath, that is our breath;
By the fire of Her bright spirit, that is our bright spirit;
By the waters of Her womb, that are the waters of our womb;
By the earth that is Her body, that is our body;
This circle is now open,
But may it remain unbroken,
May the peace of the Goddess
Be forever in our hearts

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