"They are dying all around me." was crafted from 10 address books that were written in over fifty years by the artists' husbands' grandparents. The early books, from the 1940's, after they arrive in New York from Germany after World War II, are mostly penned by Jean's hand. Throughout the 1970's, you can see the loopy penmanship, the Eastern European lilt that her Z's and Y's have. She uses the space on a page to separate the entries, but doesn't use the lines provided. As she ages, you can see she begins to mix printing and cursive together and gives little regard to punctuation.
It's not until the late 1980's and early 1990's that Ben's handwriting begins to appear. Unstable, aggressive and disjointed at times, as though he struggles to even hold a pen.
Ms. Haims uses the stitches that hold the pages together much like the handwriting throughout the books; sometimes blue, sometimes red, a thousand shades of black and grey. Some stitches are straight and follow the lines of the pages, others mimic the fragmented handwriting that peeks throughout the work.