Her Blue Body

2009

6 pages
5 x 5 inch quarter-circle book, opens to 10-inch diameter round pages
7.5 x 5.125 x .75 inch board slipcase box

Unique calligraphic manuscript book, from the Beautiul Mother series

Each page unfolds from the quarter-circle form into a full circle, 10 inches in diameter, and the text of the poem may be read sequentially. It may also be unfolded and displayed as a scuptural form of a three-dimensional half-sphere, reminiscent of half the planet’s face toward the sun and half in darkness. The book rests in the box “on point” and gives the feeling of Earthrise as we saw it forty years ago in photographs taken from the Apollo 11 mission to the moon in 1969.

Text is a poem by Alice Walker, entitled “We Have a Beautiful Mother” published in 1991, used with permission. The poem reads like a litany to Earth and all forms of life on it, fishes and creatures and grasses and the planet itself as our Mother. The shape of the oceans on the last illustrated page has a female form and was copied from a pattern I found on a piece of Persian turquoise. The poem reminds us we are all related and live on the same planet, and in the use of materials and source images I tried to portray that interconnectedness.

Lettered and painted in acrylic, gouache, paste and inks on Arches Text Wove paper. Boards covered in Thai silk, circa 1960s. Lettering with broad pen in white gouache and acrylic ink.

Box by Don Drake, Dreaming Mind Bindery, Castro Valley, California.

Private collection.