Review of Unbound, by Joyce Scott with Brie Spangler and Melissa Sweet, art by Melissa Sweet


The Life + Art of Judith Scott

by Joyce Scott
with Brie Spangler
and Melissa Sweet
Art by Melissa Sweet

Alfred A. Knopf, 2021. 44 pages.
Review written November 9, 2021, from a library book
Starred Review

Unbound is the story of Judith Scott, an artist who made wrapped fiber art sculptures.

This story is extra powerful, because it’s narrated by Judith’s twin Joyce. She starts when they were young and did everything together.

But when Joyce went to Kindergarten, she was separated from Judith, who had Down Syndrome. Before long, Judith was put into an institution, and the book expresses how terribly Joyce missed her sister.

Judy has never spoken a word. We wonder if she will ever talk. The doctors say that she is slow and will not get better, but they don’t know Judy like I do. She is perfect just the way she is. She knows things that no one else knows and sees the world in ways that I never will.

It isn’t until Joyce grows up and starts her own family that she is able to get Judith out of the institution to come live with her.

Since Joyce worked as a nurse, she found an art center that had programs for people with disabilities. It took some time, but that was where Judith discovered how much she enjoyed making wrapped fiber art sculptures.

For years, Judy wraps and weaves, creating fantastic, cocoon-like shapes filled with color.

She wraps her head in beautiful hats, scarves, and ribbons, becoming her own work of art.

Before her death, Judy’s sculptures achieved worldwide acclaim.

This story is especially inspiring because her twin sister believed in her and saw the beauty in her all along.

Melissa Sweet’s mixed-media art evokes Judith Scott’s work so beautifully. (There are some photographs to give you the idea as well.)

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