Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Monday, February 22, 2016

The Wisdom Scrolls

The scroll is an ancient form and was a dominant vehicle for relaying written information until the book replaced it around the first century A.D. Well, I still think it is a delightful vehicle for conveying information, though as you all know, I do certainly enjoy the book, as the book page itself is the basis of much of my work. Having said that, my new scrolls are coalescing around a single series which will allow me to explore the creative possibilities. The series is called The Wisdom Scrolls and will combine text and visual information to highlight the timeless wisdom of the past with poetic quotations. 

I think of this series as a kind of outgrowth of the Notes From The Ancestors series, one of which is seen here.

Over time, many cultures have come and gone and there are many, many cultures alive and well today. I can only speak to the perceptions I have of the culture in which I am immersed. I think we are so fixated on the latest trends, the here and now and our own image in the mirror that we seem to behave as if we came to be fully formed out of the ether. This is not so, for this culture, nor any other. We don't know it all and in fact, we seem to so casually turn our back on the wisdom of the ages that each generation has to learn everything all over again from scratch. Maybe that's the nature of things, but maybe it is why we behave as if we invented everything. The truth, as I see it, is that everything evolves and is an outgrowth of what came before. I don't advocate living in the past by any means, but I do believe there is much to be learned by turning our gaze to look in the mirror of the millennia of human history to see that we are not so much smarter and that there is wisdom to be found in our collective ancestors....from all cultures. 

I begin the series with Rumi, whose poetry astonishes and reminds me that I am part of the history of humanity -- our experiences are shared. From centuries ago, come these words (translated) from Rumi:

It may be that the satisfaction
I need depends on my going away,
so that when I've gone and come back,
I find it at home.

Rumi was a 13th century Persian poet, Islamic scholar, jurist and Sufi mystic. You can read more about him here. His work can be found in numerous translated volumes and I would venture to say you can open to any page and find some passage that speaks to your own experience. 

The scroll shown here is The Wisdom Scrolls: Rumi, It May Be. I listed it today in my shop and will get started on the next one tomorrow. The scroll contains the text running along the bottom and a long line of white cups against the teabag surface that is also accented with colorful dots and strings of tiny white pearls. Those cups and pearls appear over and over in my work, as they allude to domesticity, the quotidian and the preciousness of a single moment, slipping through our fingers.

The next scroll may include Rumi, but maybe another gem from the ages. I do love the teabag surface, but also want to expand on the materials I use, so am giving that some thought as well.
Hope you have a creative and inspirational week ahead! 


  1. Oh this is a marvelous series to undertake! So true that this culture has taken the "be here now" idea to its least helpful extreme. The past is indeed instructive. If nothing else, it instructs us to view life and the self on a larger scale, with many interconnections. The circularity and unfoldiness (not a word) of the scroll form really speaks to me of things ongoing and returning. Perfect Rumi quote! Yes, always amazed (and shouldn't be) that so much of his writing is so relevant today. He understood the timelessness of human experience and conveyed it for all time, all humans. Can't wait to see where this takes you!

    1. Thank you for the thumbs up and for the astute comments! So many wonderful bits of wisdom to share in the scroll form....hard to know which will be next! Cheers, Gabriella.


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