Women at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Mesa, AZ, have spent the past seven months painstakingly painting and writing in calligraphy the pages of Genesis in an ambitious “scriptorium” project led by parishioner and medieval-art enthusiast Lee Kitts.
Scriptorium usually refers to the medieval-writing space where monks copied manuscripts and Bibles, often “illuminating” the pages with instructive drawings that reflected their interpretations of the text.
Kitts, a self-taught artist, said she “fell in love” with illumination after joining the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international organization that researches and re-creates the arts of pre-17th-century Europe.
Last year, she decided to share her passion with the church, proposing to illuminate every page of the Bible’s Old and New testaments.
“When you look at a Bible now, it’s a bunch of words. When you look at an old Bible that’s been illuminated, you’re like, ‘Wow!’ The specific style of art is just very amazing to me,” she said. “It’s cool to see what the artist envisioned when they were reading that passage. I thought, ‘Why did this get lost?’ “