6.75 H x 5 W x .25 D inches closed, 49 in. long opened
Limited edition of 50, signed
Poem by the artist, inspired by the work of archeologist Marija Gimbutas. The idea that writing came out of a spiritual place rather than a commercial one appealed to me as a calligrapher. I invented an alphabet style based on the catalog of marks in The Civilization of the Goddess, and in the background of the paste paper used symbols found in the 5000-year-old passage grave Newgrange in Ireland, whose meaning has never been fully deciphered.
Handmade accordion book in paper-covered case, pages archival printed on Arches Text Laid paper. Boards covered in Lokta paper with gold painted crescent on cover, with leather and bead wraparound closure. A limited edition made from scans of an original book that has the same name and is now in a private collection. Original book paste painted in layers of oil pastels and acrylics, the hand-lettered text added with gouache.
The First Writing is currently on exhibit at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in England. At the end of the exhibit, called Alphabets Alive!, it will become part of the Bodleian’s permanent collection of artist books, in January of 2024. More about this extraordinary event at this post about the exhibit, or this about my personal experience going to Oxford, or this about planning my trip on very short notice.
The genesis of this book was sparked by the extensive research I have summarized in a detailed essay entitled “Sacred Script,” in the Library. The published essay from the 2009 Alphabet journal of the Friends of Calligraphy in San Francisco will also be donated to the library as collateral material. The essay was in essence part two of another one I wrote called Goddess in the Bible.
It is also in many library special collections around the United States, as well as the National Museum of Women in the Arts. This book was shown alongside many beautiful books in a 2013 exhibit at Santa Clara University entitled Sacred Texts. It was later acquired by the library’s special collections, which has also bought several other of my calligraphic manuscript books.
Purchase information here.