A Bittersweet End

Four years ago Laura and I began sending artwork to one another through the United States Postal Service.  These were in the form of a simple postcard and served as a tactile way to communicate what we were doing in our studios.

Two years ago we began a book exchange to consolidate many of the ideas that had been generated through these individual postcards.  When we began the project we had only two rules:

1.  Complete one page with whatever artwork we felt moved to create.

2. Add a small image on the next page as a starting point (to elicit a visual conversation between us).  Look for these “lead-ins” in the photographs of our book at the link below.

The Book Exchange 2008-2010

Once I completed my page I sent if off in the mail to Laura.  When she completed her’s, she sent it back.  It went around like this about 26 times (sometimes we hand delivered it if we visited one another).

pages 28-29

The last two pages of the book (page 30 and back cover)

These last pages were recently created together while I visited Laura’s studio in July. We sat down one day and just observed, flipping pages and discussing our creative decisions.  We looked for reoccurring ideas, images, compositional choices, colors, and anything else that jumped out at us in this visual conversation.

At the beginning of the project it was our hope to see how this would get to the core of who we are and what we want to talk about as two artists working together.

Here is what we noticed.

…circles/cycles…maps…written words/notes….organic shapes/images…leaves…birds…duality~ outward/inward, revealing/concealing, public/private, exterior/interior…expand/contract (bird’s eye view to detailed microscopic view)…defining home…presence/in process/moments…spirit…sky…moon cycles…growth…time…

These observations and words were incorporated in the last few pages.  We worked side by side to decide how they were to be included in the visual imagery.  The last page represents the moon.  Oddly enough, when we would come together in the same geographical location it was always a full moon.

signing the last page

These reflections are informing our next collaborative project together we are titling “Two Artists: One Surface”.  This is piquant idea that we suspect will occupy our work together for many years to come.  Tomorrow I will speak more about this new collaboration.

Although this is a bittersweet end to a very productive project, we finish it having learned a great deal about who we are as two artists working together.  We move forward happily and celebrate what we learned through this process.  For further details on this process you may enter Collaborative Book Project or Book Exchange in our Search menu for past blog posts.



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