Judith & Joyce Scott

The US paperback edition of Entwined will ship from Beacon Press in October, 2017

Order from: Beacon Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

About the Book

Judith Scott, despite the challenges of Down syndrome, profound deafness, and thirty-five years of institutionalization has recently been hailed as "One of the most important artists of the twentieth century”, and through television and the press, her mythic journey from dark institutional anonymity to international acclaim has attracted widespread public attention.

In Entwined, Joyce Wallace Scott takes us on a powerful voyage of self-discovery through her twin sister’s silent world, providing a moving account of their shared childhood, in which may lie the origins of Judith’s latent creative genius.  It is an epic story of love and determination; of vulnerability and powerlessness; of disability and genius. (read more)

“Entwined is more than the story of twin sisters torn apart by the failings of society. It is an emotionally textured, indelibly layered, radiant weave of family and history, secrets and loyalty, disability and defiance, tragedy and forgiveness...I began this book spellbound by the intimacy Joyce shared with her famously gifted sister, Judith. I ended it moved by the transcendent language of art—and its power to turn suffering into beauty.”
Rachel Simon, author of The Story of Beautiful Girl and Riding the Bus with My Sister

About Judith & Joyce

Judith Scott and her twin sister, Joyce, were born into a middle-class family in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Unlike her twin, Judith carried the extra chromosome of Down syndrome.  Following an attack of Scarlet Fever in infancy, like Helen Keller, she lost her hearing, although this would not be recognized until many years later.  For more than seven years Judith and Joyce shared an idyllic country childhood rich in color and texture, but one lived without words.  

Her deafness undiagnosed, Judith was tested  only verbally for entrance to the sole classroom in Cincinnati for children with disabilities, and was consequently considered uneducable.  Thus all possibilities for education were lost and her fate was sealed.  When she was 7 years old, her parents, acting on medical and pastoral advice, made the heart-rending decision to send her away, her lack of hearing being mistaken for severe retardation.  She would spend the following 35-years separated from her family as a ward of the State of Ohio in Dickensian institutions for the disabled and discarded.

As a child, Joyce was profoundly affected by the loss of her sister, who she experienced as the “other half” of herself.  Something important was constantly missing from her life, and her childhood became a search for a closeness that was irrevocably lost.  The death of her father, and breakdown of her mother forced Joyce to look on her own for her missing twin. As a young adult, she sought to heal this profound inner wound by caring for other forgotten children who were discarded by society, unconsciously searching for Judith and her missing wholeness.   

Finally, in 1986, both twin’s lives dramatically shifted when Joyce, following an epiphanal moment of insight, took it upon herself to become Judith’s legal guardian.  After long and difficult negotiations, and over the objections of their mother, Judith went to live with Joyce and her family in California, beginning a process of deep healing for both twins. 

In time, Judith moved  to a nearby board-and-care home where she was enrolled in the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, the first organization in the world to provide studio space for artists with disabilities.  Here, for almost two years, Judith showed no evidence of artistic interest or ability.  Then, after observing a class being given by a visiting fiber artist, Judith spontaneously started creating the unique sculptures, for which she has since become famous.

Judith’s innate talent was quickly recognized by Creative Growth’s staff, and she was given freedom to scour the studio for whatever materials she wanted.  Nothing was rejected and objects of every size and shape — both private and public — were gathered up.  Day by day, week by week, and sometimes for months on end, these prizes were gradually wrapped, woven and entwined in yarns and threads of carefully selected hues, until Judith, and Judith alone, decided that the piece was complete.
Judith ScottWork immediately began on the next sculpture, which might be small, but as time went by, could grow to be almost unmanageable in size, some reaching nine feet in length.  Within the core of each piece might be hidden a special talisman of a significance known to Judith alone.  With unflagging intensity, Judith worked five days a week for eighteen years, producing over 200 cocoon-like sculptures which today are found in museums and private collections around the world.  Judith died in Joyce’s  arms in March, 2005, living 49 years beyond her expected span at birth —  the last 18 in blissful, unrestrained creativity.

"It is a testimony to the power of art that the brilliance of Judith Scott, a woman discarded by society as defective, has been uncovered for the world to see. Born with Down syndrome and profound deafness, Scott found her voice through her world-famous fiber sculptures. We give our highest praise for EnTWINed, a memoir of Judith Scott and her twin, which will touch your hearts as it does ours.”
— Stephen and Ondrea Levine

“One of the most important artists
of the Twentieth Century, not only in
art brut, but also in the context
of contemporary art.”

— Dr Johann Feilacher
Director, Museum Gugging

“This is the best story in the world.”
— James Brett, Director
Museum of Everything

“Making something out of nothing,
or precisely, luring something from
the unconscious and giving it material
form is the closest thing to real magic
there is in this world.”

Michael Bonesteel
Art Critic

“One of the most important bodies
of work—‘Insider’ or ‘Outsider’—
produced anywhere, and under any
circumstances, in the past twenty years.”
— Matthew Higgs
Director, White Columns

"...perhaps the finest essay, the most
exquisitely written in our museum's
sixteen year history, was that of writer,
Joyce Scott, twin sister to the world
famous outsider artist who transcended
limitations of deafness and
Downs Syndrome, Judith Scott.”

— Rebecca Alban Hoffberger
Director, American Visionary Museum