About this piece:
Who has not been touched by the magic hours at dawn or dusk? These are liminal times, when one thing flows into another: day into night, night into day. Prayer and praise come naturally, expressing a feeling of larger rhythms in our lives. At dawn we might feel the great turning of the seasons; at dusk perhaps the greater round of birthing and dying.
The poems in Morning Prayer / Evening Prayer were created by Mary Hunter Austin in the late 19th century. As a young schoolteacher in the eastern California desert, she wrote them for children, infusing them with the childlike wonder we feel in the presence of the numinous. The poet often felt the land speaking to her, and her work answering. Later she would write about
“. . . the landscape line . . . singing in tune with the beloved environment . . . and all the peacock splendor of the American continent.”
I used Mary Austin’s “landscape line” to illuminate her California poems.
The poet’s sensitivity to the shape of the land informed the creation of this small edition of twelve. I pen lettered the poems and created watercolor paintings, then scanned and digitally composited the pages. I first planned an accordion book structure, but these horizons asked for space to be seen and entered. I chose a very wide page size to preserve the panoramas. Using the aptly named Luminosity blend mode in Photoshop, I created a pale ghost image of each painting on its reverse side. I made archival prints on an Epson 3880 on Arches Text Wove paper. I painted soft covers of Rives BFK, and endpapers of translucent vellum, then sewed single signatures on grosgrain ribbon. Opening the box for the two books gives a threshold sense of transitioning from one space to another. All of my design decisions were made in keeping with the tender feeling of sunset and sunrise, and a quiet interior sense of prayer.
paper, ink, ribbon, thread, cloth
About the artist:
Cari Ferraro is a scribe and book artist whose writing explores folklore, ancient writing, illumination, earth reverence, and line in its many magical forms. Her handmade manuscript books, occasionally made as limited editions, are held in many private and public collections.
“Books as bearers of enlightening, secret, and sometimes subversive knowledge have been and will continue to be a most intimate and complex form.”
She lives alongside a creek in middle California.