The First Writing
Limited Edition Book

Limited edition book of 50 copies

7 x 5 inches closed
49 x 5 inches open

10 pages


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

text by Cari Ferraro

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.

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.

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.

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

First Writing edition page spreadFirst Writing edition page spreadFirst Writing edition cover viewFirst Writing edition title page

The First Writing
Limited edition book
7 x 5 inches