The Edge of the Ocean is a collaborative artist’s book created by 10 artists and a poet.
It began when Susan Schmidt, prompted by her own thoughts about growing older, invited other artists to come together to examine this theme. We collaborated with the poet, Susan Roney-O’Brien, who writes about our place in a world of natural beauty and mystery. At our first meeting we selected the poem that is integral to our book and serves as its name: “The Edge of the Ocean,” written by Susan Roney-O’Brien. It spoke to each of us about the strengths, vulnerabilities and wonder of this time in our lives.
We met virtually to work through each stage of the bookmaking process. In response to the ideas in the poem we created prints and drawings, sharing our sketchbooks, rough drafts and working proofs. The generous presence of our poet Susan Roney-O’Brien was vital throughout the six-month long project. We made decisions about color palette, graphic design and the physical construction of the book. The accordion-like structure can be set up in different sculptural forms. It allows for multiple interactions of lines from the poem with different images, as it unfolds and reveals itself. Similarly, our group experienced multiple interactions with each other over the course of the project.
In summer 2022, we constructed the book, in a variable edition of twelve with a copy for each of the ten artists and the poet, and one copy to be donated to an organization. Prints or drawings were collected from each artist and mounted onto a folding matboard structure, with lines of the poem running throughout. We created a colophon and hard wrapper cover to complete the book. The image on the front of the wrapper, from Claudia Fieo’s print, is a variation on the “flower of life” in sacred geometry. In selecting this, she was inspired by various lines in the poem, including -“glad to know light and earth and sky endure.”