Anne Covell, “Sea Change”

Anne Covell
La Mesa, California

Sea Change
letterpress printed artist book with Onion Skin album binding, hand-cutting, and hand-pasting on Somerset Velvet and Masa Papers
9.5 x 1.25 x 12.5″

Artist Statement

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 coastline if action is not taken to address 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 the changing coastline with permanent adhesion.

Sea Change is an album binding that uses Benjamin Elbel’s Onion Skin Binding technique for its material connection to the content of this book. The spine of each page is glued and layered to the previous page and trimmed on a guillotine so that the cross-section cut resembles an onion, or in this case, a topographical map or the ripples of moving water. The book is housed in a partial slipcase with a printed image of the present day Florida Peninsula on front. When the book is removed from the slipcase, a remnant image of the Florida Peninsula as it would appear under ten feet of sea level rise is revealed.

The companion print series to the artist book, titled, “Sea Change: Catastrophe Map Correction 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 revel the changes.

The source material for the predictions in the book are derived from the NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer ( and reflects worst case scenarios. The text is written from research collated from several key sources including most notably the Fourth National Climate Assessment (https:// and the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming (

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