Clyde Waters


Clyde Waters was quite a pop hit in the sheet music days. Also known as “The Drowned Lovers,” it’s a true love tragedy. The mothers of the protagonists on both sides are opposed to their relationship. Trickery from the mothers backfires and results in the two lovers sleeping the bottom of the river on a rainy stormy night.

Anaïs Mitchell and Jefferson Hamer recorded their new arrangement of this song on their BBC FOLK award-winning album Child Ballads, which has 7 of the 300 or so songs collected in the 1890's by a Francis James Child. They asked me to illustrate each of the songs they recorded. I've now been carving the images LARGE scale in wood.

“And the very last step that she went in
She stepped up to her chin
In the deepest part of the Clyde Water
She found sweet William in”


Paper: 19.625"x19.625" (50cmx50cm) Crane's Crest 100% cotton rag paper. FITS IKEA FRAMES!!!
Image area 16"x16"
3 colors
Limited to 150 prints
Hand-printed from hand carved wooden blocks

It felt really good to illustrate the songs using this technique, which hasn’t changed much since the songs themselves were written. The hand-carved, hand-printed look lends itself to the look of “dark epic tapestry,” as Anaïs called it. Big thanks to Anaïs, Jefferson, and Anaïs’ manager Liz Riches, who helped me hone the ideas.

Clyde Waters (inking the black block) from Peter Nevins on Vimeo.