H. Jennings Sheffield, “Going Away from Here”

H. Jennings Sheffield
McGregor, TX

Going Away from Here
This limited-edition Dos-à-Dos book contains 30 images printed on Canson Edition Etching Rag, and vellum, plus 2 additional free-standing prints on Somerset Velvet encased in a custom die-cut envelope with foil-stamp. The Dos-à-Dos structure includes two chapters – Chapter 1 containing 15-black & white prints, and Chapter 2 containing 15-color prints. All images are archival pigment prints, tipped into the book, and are overlayed with Thai Unruhu paper. The book is letterpress printed on a Vandercook Universal III press.
Book: 16 5/8” x 11 3/8” x 1 5/8” Clamshell: 17 3/8” x 12 ½” x 3 1/8”

Artist Statement

“Going Away from Here” is a collection of images, and a fine-artist book that shed light upon the concern of ongoing land loss; and consequently, the destruction of all the things that make a community unique; and, how will we decide who and what is worth saving?

This project is about Tangier Island, which is located off the coast of Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay, and is progressively being claimed by the waters surrounding it an average of nine acres every year. Predicted to be one of America’s first “climate change refugees,” the residents will be forced to evacuate, and we will lose an entire culture of people as unique as their dialect. Today, the island sits only 3 feet above sea level, 1¼ miles wide by 3 miles long. Upon arrival by boat, it is hard to see the island off in the distance. Having few trees left, the only marker from the bay is the water tower of Tangier that has a crab on one side and a cross on the other. This deeply religious island has already been split by the Bay’s waters, which now seeps up through the ground below.

The people of Tangier have received attention from Al Gore, Donald Trump, and national media outlets, but the conversation of future implications still needs to be had. These photographs and fine-artist books shed light upon what is at stake when losing a place. Tangier is not alone and sadly tells the tale many low-lying cities around the world are facing in the next 80 years. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Miami, Atlantic City, New Orleans, Galveston, Charleston, and Virginia Beach will all be underwater by 2100. Funding from this grant would allow me to print and complete a traveling exhibition of prints to go along with the fine-artist book, to inform a greater audience of the difficult decisions that stand before us—how will we decide who and what is worth saving? And, who are we willing to let wash away into the water?

Project and Medium Information

“Going Away from Here” is a limited-edition fine artist book (edition of 15, plus 2 hors commerce) containing a simplified binding using the Dos-à-Dos structure. Each book contains 30 images printed on Canson Edition Etching Rag, plus 2 additional loose prints on Somerset Velvet. The Dos-à-Dos structure offers Chapter 1 on one side, containing 15-Black and White prints tipped in; and, Chapter 2 on the other side, containing 15-Color prints tipped in. The prints and text are both art and an informative representation of Tangier Island’s story. Quotes from Tangier residents also accompany the images giving a voice to the islanders. The quotes were taken through interviews conducted by the artist from 2020–2021. The book is letterpress printed on a Vandercook Universal III letterpress. All photographs were captured and printed by Jennings Sheffield from 2017–2021. The typography, presswork, and edition are bound by Black Hare Studio. The paper was created by Twinrocker Handmade Paper in Brookston, Indiana. The Foreword, “Residual Testimony,” is written by writer and curator Liz Wells.