In 1625, Nicholas Ferrar and his mother Mary left London to found the Anglican community of Little Gidding. There, the extended Ferrar family practiced a rigorous schedule of communal devotion: they prayed and sang together at appointed hours; children read aloud from John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs during meals; and, most remarkably, the women of the community spent their afternoons in a Renaissance makerspace, the Concordance Room, hacking religious books. Surrounded by scissors, paste, and a rolling press, the Ferrar women chopped apart printed Bibles and engravings, then pasted these paper fragments back together into large, elaborate book collages that “harmonize” the four gospels. Together, these thirteen volumes â€” comprising perhaps the largest early modern archive of English women’s bookwork â€” are known as the Little Gidding Harmonies, and they are the subject of this project.
“Cut/Copy/Paste” reconstitutes the scattered fragments of the women of Little Gidding’s bookwork by developing a Digital Concordance Room for harmonizing the Harmonies.