Symmetry appears in many forms in nature, but I think of snowflakes, which was enough justification for my directions for Edith. I asked for an icy shipwreck with fractal symmetry. Part of the difficulty of vertical or single-axis symmetry, I feel, is that it can look a bit simple. Mirrors and reflections are a too-obvious choice. Edith excels at pieces of great visual breadth, and I adore fractals—part of the fun of art direction this year is trying to challenge her.
I’m weirdly fascinated by the era of “Arctic exploration.” Maybe it’s because I grew up with Minnesota winters, so the long, panning shots of Antarctic documentaries felt familiar yet terrifying. I knew what frostbite felt like, but then I was eight and reading about frostbite so bad fingers and toes turned black and had to be amputated. I learned about all the ways to die in the cold, fast or slow (not counting lead poisoning, rotten canned food, scurvy, eating each other…)
There’s a visual poetry coded into the old tallships, and the riggings and shapes of them make for more appealing symmetry than smooth steamships. The sea monsters were an added bonus—it wouldn’t be an Edith Silva piece without creatures! I absolutely love this cover and its intense, monochromatic palette, and I’m thrilled with the pieces we picked to fill it.
You can find Edith on Instagram @bearensembles – her gold leaf work is exquisite!
Maria Schrater First Submission Reader
Maria Schrater is a writer & poet based in Chicago. Her work has appeared in Sycorax Journal and in Air & Nothingness Press’s Wild Hunt and Future Perfect in Past Tense anthologies. She is also an associate editor for Apparition Literary Magazine. She especially loves folklore and mythology and often works with retellings. When not writing, she can be found imitating bird calls in the woods. You can find her on Twitter @MariaSchrater.