15 May 2019
Poetic collaboration between Katherina Tudball and Tom Sharp explores mortality and memory.
In a limited edition of 200 copies, the publication confronts some cliff-edge health news Tom’s sister received in August last year. Through poetry, Tom began documenting the siblings’ emotional journey – as fears, nostalgia, regrets and love became the focus of their conversations.
The piece, ‘Naomi’s Poem’, is a single epistolary poem in twelve sections, shared between brother and sister as part of a therapeutic creative conversation. Each section of the poem is bound within a french fold on 60gsm Offenbach bible paper stock, requiring the reader to tear the paper in order to read on.
Rich with drowning imagery, the poetry is set in 8pt Doves Type, the typeface famously lost under the waters of the Thames for 100 years before being rescued and accurately recreated by Robert Green.
Stitching that mirrors surgical patterns holds the spine together. As part of the design process, the duo consulted with Fleur Oakes, Imperial College’s Vascular Surgery Department’s Lacemaker in Residence.
"I navigate the world through writing, so I had no choice but to use poetry as a way for my sister and I to confront what was happening. My commercial and artistic practice is focused on how writing and design relate to each other. Katherina’s physical concepts and subtle detailing add an intense layer of emotional experience to the whole work."
"I look for meaning and strength of ideas in all my projects. The slow unfolding over time of the poem between Tom and his sister was something I wanted to replicate in the reader’s experience through the French fold. I’m fascinated by how each person treats the opening in a different way, some tear roughly, some slit precisely. Each leaves a unique visual marker of the moment."
Katherina Tudball is Creative Director at Superunion, leading on the recent BBC2 and Shakespeare’s Globe rebrands. She is a D&AD Design Trustee, a regular speaker at Central Saint Martins and an external examiner for the Graphic Design and Illustration degree at the Cass School.
Tom Sharp is a poet, Creative Director and Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. He was a founder and Creative Director of design agency The Beautiful Meme for ten years – building it into one of the most striking studios in the UK. He has written for the British Library, Google, V&A, Southbank Centre, English National Ballet, D&AD, Francis Crick Institute and Design Museum. He recently launched The Poetry Of It All, an agency developing brand projects with writing at their heart.
This is the second poetic collaboration between Katherina and Tom. They previously developed ‘Twelve Moons of Madness’, a piece that documented through poetry and design what happened to Tom on every full moon of 2017.