Sunday, July 08, 2018

The Spirit Books at the Arnold-Part 12

The Spirit Books began after a massive pruning in our yard in 1988. I felt such an attraction to the pieces of rose bush, grape vine, lilacs, blackberry, and honeysuckle that I brought piles of them inside. Some of the pieces were sculptural but many were just sticks. I spent four years experimenting before I made the first Spirit Book. The rose thorns on the corners of the pages of Spirit Book #31: Illuminating Grace came from that first collection.
The Lokta paper from Nepal is covered with spirals stitched with gold metallic thread. I think part of the inspiration for covering pages with spirals comes from all the pictures of medieval manuscripts I looked at when I began the serious study of calligraphy.  I was more interested in the body of the lettering than in the illuminated initials and loved the borders which seemed to contain both busyness and calm at the same time.
The rose thorns in Spirit Book #31: Illuminating Grace came from the wild Rosa multiflora which means grace in the language of flowers. Illuminating comes from the gold spirals which light the pages in a way similar to the small bits of gold in the medieval manuscript.

The Spirit Books are on view at the Hunnewell Building Visitor Center at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University until July 22. Gallery hours are 10 AM-5 PM everyday but Wednesday. I'll be there on the last day, Sunday, July 22, from 1-4 PM. Stop by and say hello!

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