The First Writing book

The First Writing artist's book
Handmade book, edition limited to 50 copies 7 x 5 inches closed 49 x 5 inches open 10 pages 10 pages
Price: $150.00
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Not merely scribble
devised by accountants
to track livestock
or record property

the first writing

made to track the moon
inscribe spirit
praise for the great mother

Handmade accordion book in paper covered case
Bead and leather closure
Gold painted accents on cover and last page
Reproduced from original painted and lettered book, now in a private collection.

Text and book creation by Cari Ferraro, 2004
Signed by the author artist

Though I wanted the book to open out to give a feeling of a cave wall, I also wanted it to close, preferably by wrapping, so I made a case for it that opens like a regular codex, but with an accordion structure that can open out completely to see all the pages at once.

I was inspired to create this book by the work of archeologist Marija Gimbutas, whose theory was that the first writing actually predated Sumerian businessmen by a few thousand years, and instead grew out of symbolic marks on ritual objects made to venerate the Great Mother in Old Europe. The idea that writing came out of a spiritual place rather than a commercial one appeals to me as a calligrapher. I invented an alphabet style based on Gimbutas’ 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 understood.

Click here for more photographs and background information about the creation of this book.

A print made from a painting created during the developmental phase of this book is available here.