Monday, February 14, 2011


Library of Alexandria (detail) by Ania Gilmore. Read post by Catherine Nash here.

My fascination with scrolls began when as a child my Grade 3 teacher told us the story of a young sheperd boy who discovered a cache of ancient clay jars in the back of a cave near the Dead Sea. I can still feel the butterflies in my stomache thinking back to that day .....when sitting crosslegged on the floor of a chalk scented classroom.... my teacher came to the part of the story where the lid was removed from one of the jars to reveal ....... a scroll that had not seen the light of day for more than 2000 years. 2000 Years!!! A simplified, condensed story of course but it made quite an impression on me.

Library of Alexandria by Ania Gilmore. See website here.

Many years later I read a short magazine article about the healing scrolls of Ethiopia. I had a fit of the butterflies again which sent me on a fact finding mission.... but my search came to a very disappointing dead end until I began working in the University library. Thrill of all thrills, I found a book.... a whole book! ..... about these amazing artefacts . When we finally had access to the internet and Google, several years later, one of the first things I googled was Ethiopian Healing Scrolls.
Long Ago and Far Away by Dot Krause. See website here.

This post however is not about the ancient scrolls of long ago but rather about contemporary scrolls or paper rollings that artists incorporate into their art.
Who Owns the News by Joan Giordano. See website here.
Who owns the News, detail by Joan Giordano. Website here.
Mixed media collage by Leslie Avon Miller. See Leslie's blog here.

Mixed media collage by Donna Watson. See Donna's website here.

Tribal Offerings Series # 7 by Joanne Williams. See website here.

Stairs to Mauthausen by Robbin Ami Silverberg. See website here.

Reeds of Knowledge by Rosie Huart. See website here.

I've featured these scrolls by Mary Ellen Long in another post but I love them so here we go again. See Mary Ellen's blog here.

Crush by Vadim Katznelson. Acrylic paint and mixed media on board. See more here.


  1. R-love the end grain of stacked scrolls. What an intriguing story about the healing scrolls - I took a visit. Thanks you for sharing - may your searches go on. B

  2. These are all so intersting but I like the scrolls that have interesting bits stuck into them. Like little surprise packages.

  3. another of my favorite things! thank you for such a fantastic display of scrolls! ever mysterious.

  4. Gorgeous pieces. I love your opening tale. It reminds me of a touring exhibition I once saw at the British museum which included many ancient scrolls and details about where they had been rediscovered. Many came from one particular cave in the Tibetan desert. Cave 17, I think. Imagine being there!

  5. I feel the need to create some scrolls!! Love Mary Ellen's.Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. simply rolling scrolls all in a row could heal.

    love the homage to life's secrets and treasures

  7. Beautiful, am passing the link on to my students today.... I just required their next project to incorporate a form other than just flat paper, scrolls for one. So great inspiration here, thanks!

  8. i'm loving joans work. and wow, if i went to a school such the one you described when you were a kid...i might have had a better start in life! :) good post

  9. i concur about the butterflies...another marvelous post about how something simple can portray excitement, history, mystery and fascination as well as outstanding visual appeal...Donna's piece is one of my favorites...and the Library or Alexandria is just genius...

  10. There is just something about paper... Especially old paper. I love the idea of the secret scroll and discovering it in a book. Thanks again for another great post.

  11. Cool. Yes, what IS it about scrolls? So tantalizing...I understand your fascination with them, Robyn.

  12. I am still loving the towers.. discovering all the goodies there... the "fluxus" movement? well I am so informed now...

  13. Your blog consistently blows me away- one of my all time favorites- this, your space here in blog universe. I rarely leave comment because I am so gaga I am speechless- but just so you know- AWESOME, you!

  14. There is something so compelling and mysterious about scrolls to me. Thanks for bringing so many fascinating examples to this post.

  15. simple elegant scrolls reveal the hidden secrets of our past...lovely. Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  16. Robyn others have said it so well but the mystery of the scrolls; they are familiar yet somehow 'other' and make me want to reach out and pick them up and unfurl them. These works all use them so sensitively and imaginatively I could happily take them all home!

  17. Hi Barry, I collect Ethiopian artifacts but I have yet to purchase a healing scroll. They are indeed intriguing. Did you read that they are usually the height/length of the person it is created for?

    Angela, glad you enjoyed the post!

    Lisa at Greenbow, Mary Ellen's work is interesting isn't it?!

    Lyle, you have some wonderful favourite things. I'm wondering what other post i can do to make your day.

    Annie, Like you I would love to find ancient artifacts in a cave. I did however discover Bushman paintings that nobody seemed to know about.

    Oogleboops, let me know when you've created your scrolls.

    Neva, rolling scrolls as meditation.... ommmmm

    Valerianna, I'm very pleased this post has inspired you.

    Paula, the close-ups of Joans work (on her website) are thrilling!

  18. Lisa, ... and I concur with everything you have said :-)

    Mary Z, my dictionary is beginning to look really interesting now that it is turning yellow with age. I might just leave it in the sun to speed up the process :-)

    Karine, I think it's all about the the mystery. When rolled up you can't see what is within.

    Grrl, I am still loving the towers too :-)

    Linda Sue, thank you!

    Seth, it was fun!

    Mary Helen, glad you enjoyed the post.

    Fiona .... and I know they would all look great in your home :-)

  19. You are the master curator! Love those end grain rolls - swoon! Love hearing your early fascination with scrolls, and that one of your first googles was about them. Aren't we lucky to be able to have the world within reach? Thanks for assembling and sharing this lovely post.

  20. Mmmmm, Mary Ellen Long's scrolls remind me of filo pastry. I want to bite into them and taste the different flavours!

  21. That's funny that I came across your post today. I just started a project with scrolls last night. I finished a home renovation, and my plan is to cut the old blueprints into strips, write stories on them about the renovation, and scroll them into film tubes for a piece of art. It's a big plan. Right now I'm tackling how to cut the paper into strips that are straight - the paper is so long, it won't fit in my paper cutter, but I want it to look neat. I'll keep working on it. Nice post.

  22. scrolls and ancient mystical secrets, language before language was so worn down with such daily use, that's what i always think.

    you just reminded me of hearing Elaine Pagles lecture after writing the Gnostic Gospels.

    beautiful grouping of artists' work.

    i learn so much from you.

  23. It's always a pleasure getting a new post from you!

  24. love your selection.... actually ALWAYS love it :)

  25. I would love to hang any one of these on my wall Robyn. You always choose perfection.

  26. Robyn-how luscious these images are!!! The first one really woke me up...and makes my heart SING!! I just love all the energy of the circles all rolled up and stacked in there! And Tribal Offerings those colors and the form; so graceful and elegant yet powerful too. So so beautiful. What is it about paper, old and worn...aged or even brand new...fresh sheets?? Thanks again Robyn for putting together such a visual treat for us!!!
    Oh! And thanks for the masking tape tip-I HAVE to try it out!! I just love that-an old manuscript effect???!!!LOVE! XXX

  27. We have a mutual love of scrolls- and I have been going to all the artists websites here and 'drooling' at the sheer beauty and creativity. thank you for including my collage in with all these wonderful artists- I am so happy you find such wonderful art.

  28. Robyn, the works you find out there are truely amazing and so inspirational! Oh how exciting and lucky you were to have an experience with an ancient scroll. Ania Gilmore's piece is just beautiful!

  29. Hmm, locw scrolls and still roll things that are precious, even if technically they are not scrolls.
    I have just seen your hands, funny thing was I knew they were yours before I read whose they were, on Missouribends blog. Bit spooky!

  30. as so often you're enticing me away from my normal path and I'm overwhelmed with the amazing pieces of art you've collected.

  31. Beautiful works! Your Blog is always so inspiring! Loved your story of the Ethiopian Healiing Scrolls too.

  32. A fantastic series, a post
    magnificent and very, very interesting!
    Thanks for sharing!

  33. Delicious as always Robyn. I am particularly impressed with Donna Watson's website. She has some gorgeous acrylic and collage work on there. John Giordano's fabrications are also amazing. So much complexity. I have really enjoyed this post and will check out more of the links at leisure. Isn't paper wonderful?

  34. I agree with Tess K. -- drooling is required when viewing your blog -- stunning works!

  35. Oh, how did I get so behind here (am i working too hard? ;)

    Your scrolls post is beautiful i always enjoy Donna's work & love Joan Giordano's work too. The 911 towers sculpture is so striking. I've always been drawn to the image in the papers of the twisted metal, all that was left of them & felt guilty. Did you see the land art on Skye in my post from Early October?, similar to the rock tower here. I enjoyed the letters post too, particularly your lovely mosaic. Phewf, I won't be away from here for so long again!

  36. Oh my goodness Robyn, now you have me curious about the Ethiopian Healing Scrolls. I know that when the Dead Sea scrolls came to San Francisco, I felt that I was visiting a sacred site inside of the museum. I like how you've selected such mysterious and intriguing works of present day artists as well. Each has some unique thread tying them back to the past.

  37. I love artist' books. First time seein an exibition, was in London. Never ferget.

    Un petit bonjours de Lausanne, en Suisse.

  38. I tell you a story.
    One day I plan to make a flats and houses agency's window with miniatures flats, a kind of doll' houses.

    As I wanted to make as match as possible, most of the good myself, I transforme earings créoles in lampes Thea bolls and hair rolls in lampes. A pair of parots ( perroquets )earings, on a stand in the explorator room

    Everything I was loocking at, transforme in my mind.
    Even up to London, where I have brought a friend. She is still taughtking about it. For me, it was very funny. ...
    That passion ! Bein in the job all the time. That lucky I am living alone !!!

  39. I like very much the work of Joan Giordano, among the interesting work of the others ofcourse.

  40. Robyn, how in heavens name can you do it? When I look at your post (and I confess, lately I have been remiss) all I can think of is: I love boxes; I love doors; I love books; I love, love, love scrolls!...Why can't I ever think to do anything using all these things I love, love, love...I wish I could keep your thoughts in my head all day long...THEN I could create masterpiece after masterpiece! Once again, perfect post! xo

  41. the scrolls are so beautiful ... so much inspiration from this site ...

  42. Michelle Ward, glad you enjoyed the post. I can't believe how lucky we are to have access to all this amazing art.

    Wild C, now that you mention it .... :-)

    Suzanne, amazing how information/inspiration appears when you need it. Good luck with your scroll idea.

    Tess :-)

    Mansuetude, the blogworld is indeed a circle of learning.

    Thanks Cerulean.

    Michele M, it's great to know that bloggers and artists are enjoying my posts.

    Weaver, I'm imagining how full my walls would be if I had my own way.

    Soraya, thank you! Try the masking tape on a scrap of paper before trying it in your journal. I've seen it on wooden boxes and old bottles.

    Donna, your collage sings!

    Thanks Kim S.

    Penny, spooky indeed :-)

    Uschi, I entice myself away from work too :-)

    Thanks Elizabeth.

    Amatamari :-)

    Cathy, so glad you followed the link to Donna's website.

    Kelly M, enjoy!

    Skizo, thank you.

    Emma, it's very easy to get behind with so many amazing blogs out there. It can be quite overwhelming.

    Hannah, most of the Ethiopian scrolls come in little leather pouches. They are very intriguing too.

    Beatrice De, your enthusiasm makes me smile. Watch out for the next post. I think you will like it.

    Wim, when I first saw Joan's work my heart was racing.

    Curio, lol... thank you!

    Laura... now how do you do that? I'll send xxx instead.

  43. I am completely flipping out over the work of Joan Giordano. My heart rate is over the top!!!

    What in the world is your secret?

  44. Karen C, my secret is probably that I'm just so passionate about what I find in the art world. My heart rate is regularly over the top :-)

  45. All of our people are very proud of our Old Scrolls. You may have watched the Famous Visitor who visited the Shrine of the book last week.
    Israeli Children can read this ancient scrolls and understand them. Those of you interested in Historical writings are invited to see Which i curated.