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Anne Covell ~ California

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Anne Covell: "My work draws upon seemingly small observations from daily life as a means for exploring human influence on the natural world. In particular, I am interested in the human capacity to physically shape environment, to make claim to earth that must inherently be shared, and the subtle, observable ways nature adapts and responds. Through this lens, I attempt create beauty from perceivably ugly acts as an entry for exploring complex human response to transience and decay."

Nombre Press: "Anne Covell is a book artist and hand papermaker living in San Diego, CA. She received her MFA in Book Arts from the University of Iowa Center for the Book where she was the recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship. She has studied Asian and Western papermaking techniques with Timothy Barrett, and has taught for numerous professional organizations."


Sea Change & Map Building Set
By Anne Covell
La Mesa, California: Anne Covell, 2019. Edition of 25 variants.

9.5 x 1.25 x 12.5 inches (closed). Letterpress printed from photopolymer plates by Boxcar Press on an SP-15 Vandercook Proof Press in the UF School of Art + Art History Type Shop on Somerset Velvet and Masa papers. Designed and printed by Anne Covell during a semester long residency in the fall of 2019. Numbered.

Anne Covell: "'Sea Change' is a letterpress printed artist book and companion print series that uses catastrophe modeling to map the projected impact of sea level rise on the Florida Peninsula if action is not taken to combat climate change. In this book, state and regional maps of the Florida Peninsula repeat page by page with hand-cut paper corrections that reflect projections for coastal impacts for up to ten feet in sea level rise. The corresponding text on the verso of each repeating image of the Florida Peninsula rises on the page in tandem with index tabs that visually mark predictions in two foot increments. Each map correction is letterpress printed, hand-cut, and pasted on the page directly over the previous correction. As projections increase, the layers of corrections overlap and fill the page, physically marking an evolving landscape with permanent adhesion.

"The system of mapping used in this book was inspired by research and study of the print holdings of the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Florida in the Map & Imagery Library, most notably Miami, vol. 1, 1921 containing a record of 28 paper corrections dating from 1928 - 1950. Originally created to allow fire insurance companies to assess risk and liability to urbanized areas within the United States, these maps were published in volumes that were bound and corrected by 'pasters' who were employed to cut and glue over outdated maps until a new volume was produced.

"The companion print series to the artist book, titled, 'Sea Change: Catastrophe Map Building Set' presents an alternate way of experiencing the project. In this set, three letterpress printed base maps are included with un-cut maps for each layer of corrections. Instructions are included for how to cut and paste each layer by hand with the idea in mind that physically doing the labor to correct the maps with each new prediction will foster a deeper understanding of what is at stake in Florida if action is not taken to combat climate change. However, sea level rise projections can also be viewed without cutting and pasting for those who wish to keep the set intact. Each base map can simply be placed on a light box and the layers added one at a time to reveal the changes.

"The source material for the map images in this book were drawn from worst case scenario predictions from the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer ( The text is written from research collated from several key sources including most notably the Fourth National Climate Assessment and the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming"

$1,500 Sea Change
$250 Catastrophe Map Building Set
$1,750 Set Sea Change & Map Building Set

Sea Change book
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The Record
By Anne Covell
La Mesa, California: Anne Covell, 2017. Edition of 60 variants.

Medium: Letterpress printed artist book on Masa paper with sumi wash and hand brayering Dimensions: 6.5 x 4.25 x .25 inches (closed); 13 x 42.5 x .25 inches (open)

Anne Covell: "On January 20th, 2017, Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. That same day, the official White House website ( began the digital transition to archive and replace Obama's policies with those of the new administration. Immediately, people began to notice that key issues such as health care, education, and immigration were nowhere to be found. Keyword searches for terms such as 'climate change,' 'LGBT,' and 'civil rights' all returned 404 errors. Even more conspicuously, the Spanish-language version and the disabled-accessible version of the site were no longer available.

"Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library that has been archiving webpages since 1996, captured 167 snapshot of that day. This book records the last snapshots taken of Obama's policies before they came down, the 404 errors that followed, as well as the Internet Archive timestamps for when the information was last available and when it disappeared."

This “Artist’s Books Unshelved: Here and Gone” looks at books that examine erasure and transfer of information. Featured books included Covell’s “The Record

The Record book
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Sin Nombre Press Out of Print Title:  

History of a Felling
ByAnne Covell
La Mesa, California: Sin Nombre Press, 2019. Edition of 18.

5.75 x 4.75 x .5 inches (closed); 5.75 x 4.75 x 18 inches (open). Tunnel book structure. . Images made from polymer plates created from film ink hand-painted on Yupo paper. Letterpress printed on Sakamoto and Kitakata papers. Laid in cloth covered box with colophon tipped in bottom interior. Numbered. Signed by the artist.

Anne Covell: "In 1846, the United States and Great Britain signed the Oregon Treaty to make the 49th Parallel the boundary between the United States and British North America, later known as Canada. The two countries formed the International Boundary Commission to survey and establish what is now Washington State's northern border with British Columbia. Starting at Point Roberts and working east across the Northern Cascades, a team of workers physically marked the border by clear-cutting a 20-foot wide swath through the rugged, previously undisturbed terrain. By 1860, a primitive line running from the Pacific Ocean east to the summit of the Northern Rockies had been established. It would take another 15 years to clear-cut the 5,525 miles in total separating the US from present day Canada. Today, the swath cuts through numerous protected parks and natural reserves, including the Northern Cascades National Park and the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, severing common ecologies and shared landscapes simply because they straddle this political divide.

"'History of a Felling' was first conceived during the winter of 2014 while at the Penland School of Crafts on a winter residency in letterpress. … The project was filed away while the concept evolved into a body of work that would become Covell's graduate thesis, 'Towards a Just Landscape,' in 2015. In the intervening years, the US/Mexico border would draw global attention for the deeply contentious debate over the compulsion to secure the southern border through the construction of a border wall. It seemed a particularly poignant time, by comparison, to revisit the history of the US/Canada border felling, and so the project came out of storage. In many ways the southern and northern US border conflicts remain as isolated as their geographical latitudes; however, their ethical and environmental costs deserve equal scrutiny. Over 150 years later, the deforestation continues. Nature inevitably begins to rebound - trees, shrubs, and grasses grow - and every six years the swath is cleared through exhaustive manual labor."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

History of a Felling book
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By Anne Covell
La Mesa, California: Anne Covell, 2015. Edition of 15, standard.

Dimensions: 4.5 x 9.75 inches (closed); 18 x 9.75 inches (open); 12 folios. letterpress printed from hand-drawn images on photopolymer plates. Printed on 100% Japanese Gampi that have been hand-dyed with persimmon tannin and treated with konnyaku to mimic the sound and texture of withering foliage. Laid in handmade paper wrapper created by the artist that has been dyed with persimmon tannin and hand burnished. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Anne Covell: "I first became interested in the Japanese beetle during a particularly hot and dry summer in Iowa City. Perhaps it was a result of the season or of my having moved to a new home ripe with some of the beetles' most preferred foods, but I became overwhelmed by its pervasive, relentless assault on my garden. As the summer wore on, I began finding leaf remains gathering at the bases of trees and blowing in the wind as if it were fall. Their presence was out of place; out of season. But when I began to look more closely, what struck me was the beauty of form that the beetle had inadvertently left behind. Starved of oxygen and drained of color, these leaf skeletons would soon crumble and return to the earth. But, for a moment, they existed between realms, and reflected a loss that spoke to the complexity of the natural world. Somehow, it seems, even an act of destruction can leave something beautiful in its wake."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Leavings book
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By Anne Covell
Iowa City, Iowa: Sin Nombre Press, 2009. Edition of 20.

4.5 x 9.75"; 22 pages. 6 folios consisting of 3 gatefolds, 2 left foldouts, and 1 right foldout. Text handset in Joanna with Elizabeth titling on ink-washed and waxed Kitakata paper. Housed in blue envelope with slot-and-slip closure and title tipped in on front cover.

Anne Covell: "I often approach my work as exercises in sensory exploration. A book for me is as much about the tactile experience of handling, as it is about the sound it makes in action, the smell of its ink, and the shape and texture of its visual makeup. Much of my work for this reason draws upon the evocative nature of the senses in relationship to memory, and in tandem, as each relate to the structure of the book as a medium for expressing the passing of time and the fragility of nature. This is evident in works such as Mnemosyne which utilizes the translucency of wax, the layering of imagery, and the irregular fold of the page to evoke a sense of recollection and mourning for memories that have faded or been lost with time."

Colophon: "[Text] is credited to Plato's Theaetetus, 360 BCE. The images and memories are the artist's own."

Theo Project: "Mnemosyne was Titan goddess of memory and remembrance and the inventress of language and words. As a Titan daughter of Ouranos (Heaven), Mnemosyne was also a goddess of time. She represented the rote memorisation required, before the introduction of writing, to preserve the stories of history and sagas of myth. In this role she was represented as the mother of the Mousai (Muses), originally patron goddesses of the poets of the oral tradition."
(SOLD/Out of print)




Mnemosyne book
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Natural Order - A Game of Pairs
By Anne Covell
Iowa City, Iowa: Sin Nombre Press, 2012. Edition of 50.

2.5 x 3.25 x.5"; 30 cards, pamphlet (28 pages). Printed letterpress from photopolymer plates on French's chipboard. Cards and pamphlet housed in folding chipboard card case with slip and slot closure. Signed and numbered.

Anne Covell: "Natural Order: A Game of Pairs is a play on the childhood game of memory. However, instead of matching like pairs, the goal of this game is to learn to associate and partner symbiotic relationships as they are found in nature. Players learn not only about mutual partnerships, but also about commensal and parasitic ones in order to better understand the complexity, diversity, and often brutal severity of relationships that bring order to the natural world. Thirty cards with hand-drawn illustrations, learning guide, and case letterpress printed from photo polymer plates on French's chipboard."
(SOLD/Out of Print)
Natural Order-A Game of Pairs book
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Natural Dyeing Methods for Handmade Paper
By Anne Covell
Iowa City: Sin Nombre Press, 2010. Deluxe edition of 10.

6.75 x 9.5 x 1.75" box with pamphlet and separate tray of samples. Pamphlet: 6.4 x 8.6, 16 pages; sewn binding. Samples: 15 quarter sheets. Clamshell box covered in book cloth with dyed paper samples inset in a layered column on front. Includes lid for tray in matching cloth to separate pamphlet and samples.

Sin Nombre Press: "Natural Dyeing Methods for Handmade Paper explores brush dyeing techniques for applying natural dyes to handmade papers. The box set includes a descriptive pamphlet outlining formulas and processes for dyeing paper by hand, and a removable tray with fifteen quarter sheet dyed kozo samples."

Anne Covell, introduction: "In Japan, there are four established methods for dyeing paper: sakizome (pulp dyeing), tsukezome (dip dyeing), hakezome (brush dyeing), and sukikaeshi (dyeing and redyeing). For this the purposes of this project, I have followed traditional methods of hakezome (brush dyeing) in combination with natural dyes and mordants of local origin. I'd like to note that while this project is conceptualized with respect for traditional Japanese dyeing methods, it is in many ways a personal adaptation based upon available resources and general curiosities."

Colophon: "This book was researched and produced by Anne Covell between January and May of 2010 as her Final Thesis Project for the University of Iowa for the Book Graduate Certificate in Book Studies / Book Arts and Technologies."
Natural Dyeing Methods for Handmade Paper book
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Raking Light
By Anne Covell
Iowa City, Iowa: Sin Nombre Press, 2013. Edition of 20.

3.5 x 5" closed, 54" extended; 22 pages including pastedowns. Variable page width accordion. Printed at the University of Iowa Center for the Book from reduction linoleum and handset Bembo on handmade kozo. Boards covered in walnut dyed papers created by the artist. Numbered and initialed by the artist. In matching paper slipcase, open at both ends. Inset of translucent paper allows the title from the front board to show through.

Sin Nombre Press: "Raking Light is a meditation on the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi, which seeks to find beauty within the simplicity, austerity, and asperity of a given form or space. Depicted within are shoji screens that frame window views onto a raked garden. These raked lines suggest the life cycle of a body of water as it begins as a waterfall, travels by river, and ultimately flows to the ocean. As the structure unfolds, window views enlarge to echo the river’s growth and to emphasize an implied architecture that shifts between interior and exterior, shadow and light. Raking Light draws as inspiration from walking the raked gardens of Kyoto’s Daisen-in. By selective omission, it does not reference a specific time or place, but instead abstracts and distills personal memory to its more universal essence. "
Raking Light book
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Towards a Just Landscape
By Anne Covell
La Mesa, California: Anne Covell, 2015. Edition of 15.

Box 8.75 x 6.75 x 1" (closed); 18.25 x 6.75 x 1" (open) containing four items. Letterpress printed on handmade gampi created by the artist, Sakamoto, and cork paper. Box covered with natural linen bookcloth. Items: Vanishing Point: 8 x 6" (closed); 23.5 x 6" (open); Boundary Vistas: 4 x 6 x .25" (closed); 18.25 x 6 x .25" (open); A Field Guide to New Growth: 3.75 x 4 x .25" (closed), 7.5 x 4 x .25" (open); and, Thread: 20 feet. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Anne Covell: "The International Boundary between the United States and Canada, at 5,525 miles, is the longest undefended border in the world. Since 1925, the International Boundary Commission, a joint organization led by the United States and Canada, has been responsible for surveying and mapping the boundary, as well as maintaining boundary monuments and keeping the border clear of vegetation and brush on either side of the dividing line. This 'vista,' as it is often called, extends 20 feet in width, or 10 feet on either side of the border, for the entirety of the International Boundary regardless of the landscape it crosses. From the Alaska/Yukon to the New Brunswick border with Maine, this clear-cut swath can be seen stretching across prairies, through forest, over ridges and mountains, to the visible horizon.

"'Towards a Just Landscape' is a multi-part project about one particular section of this border, the 49th Parallel, as it physically marks the landscape between the Lake of the Woods and the Northern Rockies. More specifically, it is a project about the portion of the border swath that runs through the center of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, dividing in two an area of land reserved to commemorate international peace and good will between two nations. I first encountered the border swath on a boat excursion along Upper Waterton Lake in late summer, 2012. Over the next two years my curiosity with the border lingered, culminating in a research trip in 2014 that took me from my home in Iowa City, Iowa to the Alberta/Montana borderlands, skirting the 49th Parallel along the way.

"The resulting works that comprise 'Towards a Just Landscape' each uniquely explore the political and ecological impact of the US/Canada border clearing on its surrounding environment. While 'Boundary Vistas' studies the varying landscapes along the 49th Parallel at the macroscopic level to comment on the scale and enormity of the clear-cut, 'A Field Guide to New Growth', by contrast, focuses more microscopically on the swath itself and what can be found growing in the wake of destruction. 'Vanishing Point' envisions the clear-cut as a physical representation of a deeper disconnect over how to achieve peace and justice in the Alberta/Montana borderlands. Together, these three works attempt to create a more complete picture of the physical border shared between the US and Canada as a means to re-imagine how borders are perceived so that we might work to create a more just landscape."
(SOLD/Out of Print)

Towards a Just landscape book

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Towards a Just Landscape book
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Page last update: 02.21.2024



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