We were approached in 2018 to start a project that immediately piqued our interest: a book about hospice and end of life care. The project was facilitated by our former client and long-time collaborators, Works Progress Agency. The author, Beth Cavenaugh, was a retired hospice nurse with over 20 years experience in helping people and their families through their final days. Beth had selected Violet Mae Reed as an illustrator, and as a team, we set out on the meandering path of making a book.
The relative levity (think What to Expect When You’re Expecting, but the death version) of the writing surprised us, given the topic, and keeping these opposing forces in balance was an exciting challenge.
Between each chapter, Works Progress Agency wrote a series of prompts that patients and their caregivers could ask each other to expand and open the conversation at end-of-life.
To represent these moments of pause in an otherwise informationally dense book, we treated these pages very differently than the rest. Using decaying plant matter from around our studio as drawing tools, we created repetitive india-ink patterns. We attempted to make the same mark each time, to reflect how varied a life can be, though we are all part of humanity.
We created the marks using Alocasia, Banana, Fiddle Leaf Fig, Lily and Rubber plant leaves and stems.
Beth Cavenaugh, Author
- Beth Cavenaugh, Author