12.5 in.H x 6.25 in.W x .5 in.D
Unique calligraphic manuscript books, in two variants, from the Beautiful Mother series of five
A Beautiful Mother and A Beautiful Round Mother present 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 or circular page spread.
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. 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.
In the square book, the paintings are marked with arcs and other circular forms on every page, calling on the classic symbol of the circle within a square. The book can be stood on its spine to form a circular structure with radiating pages when viewed from above. The circular book, when open, makes a perfect circle, evoking our planet with its shape.
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 ribbon tapes with exposed stitched binding. Cover made of blue painted Arches hot press watercolor paper. 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
A Beautiful Mother: artist’s collection
A Beautiful Round Mother: Special Collections, Baylor University