Austin, Texas

To begin with, I sincerely wanted to thank all of you who responded positively to my inquiry through the BookListServ on visiting studios while trekking in and around Texas.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Quercus Virginiana in a field in Dripping Springs, Texas

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Quercus Virginiana in a field in Dripping Springs, Texas

My first tour was to Cloverleaf Studio, a book arts business located in Austin. Jace Graf, owner and operator of Cloverleaf Studio, was approachable and generous with his time. I was given an extensive tour of the studio which was exciting and wonderfully equipped. Jace showed me some of the specific bindings and luxury boxes created by the studio.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Cloverleaf Studio hallway entrance.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Cloverleaf Studio hallway entrance.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Lots of box spacers on a shelf in the hallway. What patience!

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Lots of box spacers on a shelf in the hallway. What patience!

His work is held in many private collections, library special collections, and museums across the country. In the past 20 years, Jace has done business with hundreds of commercial and fine art photographers to create portfolios, limited-edition books, and deluxe versions of trade editions.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. One of the rooms of Cloverleaf Studio.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. One of the rooms of Cloverleaf Studio.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Cloverleaf Studio’s equipment.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Cloverleaf Studio’s equipment.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. The back room of Cloverleaf Studio. Now that’s a press!

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. The back room of Cloverleaf Studio. Now that’s a press!

Jace worked for five years at BookLab, which at that time was the premier edition bookbindery in the country. In 1996, Jace started Cloverleaf Studio where he specializes in hand bookbinding, box making, and book design.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Jace Graf’s office at Cloverleaf Studio.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Jace Graf’s office at Cloverleaf Studio.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Jace Graf’s office with the many samples of his work.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Jace Graf’s office with the many samples of his work.

This was a terrific visit, and I’m glad I had the chance to meet with Jace and see the exciting work that is crafted by Cloverleaf Studio. This helped inspire a new book I have in mind about the Quercus Virginiana. Maybe bound in Texas!

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Quercus Virginiana on ranchland in Lexington, Texas

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Quercus Virginiana on ranchland in Lexington, Texas


Tulsa, Oklahoma

My journey is partly creative; but mostly administrative these days by promoting, advertising, marketing... Being involved on both sides of my career is not always easy. At the moment, I have a need to make and publish an artists’ book. When living in a brick and stick house, I required six months to get inspired and create, and the next six months to share and sell my artists’ books.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Driving around Minneapolis, Minnesota, I found this Frank Loyd Wright architecture, The Wiley House

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Driving around Minneapolis, Minnesota, I found this Frank Loyd Wright architecture, The Wiley House

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Visiting this beautiful structure of the St Paul Cathedral in St Paul, Minnesota

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Visiting this beautiful structure of the St Paul Cathedral in St Paul, Minnesota

On the road, 365 days a year has created a lack of time to do all the necessary jobs to keep my career going. But traveling has also created opportunities to communicate with artists in various cities and librarians who collect for universities. 

At stopovers, I photograph what inspires other projects. At night, dreaming of a concept for a book is not unheard of. I research book structures online. My blog post is written between campgrounds... At this point, I have conceptualized four artists’ books, waiting to be published and shared. The road has brought me many ideas. I just need more time to enjoy the process of publishing.

Last June, while in Ohio, I completed three copies of my last book Shadow Me. Once I arrived mid-August in Ottawa/Gatineau, I had the possibility of publishing number two of a second edition of Finding Home. Finding Home is popular and this last copy was purchased by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta, Canada.

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux. Shadow Me

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. Shadow Me

 © 2016 Louise Levergneux. Finding Home

© 2016 Louise Levergneux. Finding Home

The Paul D Fleck Library at the Banff Centre has over 4,000 artists’ books and multiples. It is one of the largest collections of artists’ book/book art in Canada.

The Library has bought a few of my books in the past. The collection holds my very first artists’ book entitled My Memories of My Memories, the miniature version created in 1999. City Shields (the original seven volumes), Seattle Visité and 1234567 Violette were purchased in 2001. Reciprocal, Windows of the Soul, and Beside Me were acquired for the collection in 2007. This year Shadow Me was reunited with Beside Me in the collection of the Centre. These two books were made several years apart, but Shadow Me is still considered a sequel in my mind.

 © 1999 Louise Levergneux. My Mmories of My Memories

© 1999 Louise Levergneux. My Mmories of My Memories

 © 2000 Louise Levergneux. Siattle Visité

© 2000 Louise Levergneux. Siattle Visité

 © 1999-2017 Louise Levergneux. City Shields

© 1999-2017 Louise Levergneux. City Shields

 © 2000 Louise Levergneux. 1234567 Violette

© 2000 Louise Levergneux. 1234567 Violette

 © 2001 Louise Levergneux. Reciprocal

© 2001 Louise Levergneux. Reciprocal

 © 2003 Louise Levergneux. Windows of the Soul

© 2003 Louise Levergneux. Windows of the Soul

 © 2005 Louise Levergneux. Beside Me

© 2005 Louise Levergneux. Beside Me


At the beginning of October while passing through Oklahoma, I communicated with Marc Carlson, Librarian of Special Collections and University Archives of the McFarlin Library of the University of Tulsa. I was received in the Satin Rare Book Room—a treasured showpiece for The University. I presented my books to a private audience of two librarians and an artist.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. McFarlin Library of the University of Tulsa

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. McFarlin Library of the University of Tulsa

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. The Jack H. and Tybie Davis Satin Rare Book Room of the McFarlin Library were I presented my books (on the table in the foreground)

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. The Jack H. and Tybie Davis Satin Rare Book Room of the McFarlin Library were I presented my books (on the table in the foreground)

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. A Reading Room at McFarlin Library

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. A Reading Room at McFarlin Library

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Rodger Jacobsen’s  The Reader  (2010) is the latest work of art to make its home in the Frances O’Hornett Grand Foyer of the McFarlin Library. (This one is for you Jim!)

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Rodger Jacobsen’s The Reader (2010) is the latest work of art to make its home in the Frances O’Hornett Grand Foyer of the McFarlin Library. (This one is for you Jim!)

Marc, with his co-workers, chose a few books for the collection. I’m happy, that my book 26NOV2006 created after being subjected to an interrogation by US border crossing guards; Faux-Pas a documentation prompted by a curiosity about the psychological effects a flag has on a nation’s landscape; a flip book on the sun rising over the Wasatch Mountains entitled 6:45; obsession, where I portray the obsession of Topaz’s daily routine; and Traverse a narrative on an annual journey across the country to my home town of Gatineau, Québec, are presently part of the wonderful collection at McFarlin Library of the University of Tulsa.

 © 2008 Louise Levergneux. 26NOV2006

© 2008 Louise Levergneux. 26NOV2006

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux. Faux-pas

© 2012 Louise Levergneux. Faux-pas

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux. 6:45

© 2012 Louise Levergneux. 6:45

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux. obsession

© 2012 Louise Levergneux. obsession

 © 2015 Louise Levergneux. Traverse

© 2015 Louise Levergneux. Traverse

Considerably appreciative of my sales, I leave Tulsa knowing that my books are well housed at the McFarlin Library.

What do you call a successful art day?

Ottawa, Ontario

While being in my home town of Ottawa, Ontario /Gatineau, Québec, there were many people and artist friends to visit. This year I had the opportunity to have a fantastic dinner with artist Adrian Göllner and his wife Joanna Swim, an artist and career Art Educator. We recounted many stories of our previous years and what we have been up to.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux. Birds were of interest for me this summer. A Woodpecker visiting at my brother Denis’ cottage in Notre-Dame-du-Laus, Québec.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Birds were of interest for me this summer. A Woodpecker visiting at my brother Denis’ cottage in Notre-Dame-du-Laus, Québec.

Adrian has exhibited extensively since 1987 and has received a number of public art commissions. His studio practice concerns the transposition of sound, time and motion into other forms. In 2017, Adrian set himself against famed ornithologist’s John James Audubon’s declaration that he observed 10,000 birds a day for his new project All the Birds I Saw Last Year being exhibited at Central Art Garage through November 02, 2018.

 © 2018 Julia Martin. Central Art Garage, Ottawa, Ontario

© 2018 Julia Martin. Central Art Garage, Ottawa, Ontario

Göllner’s daily avian observations are exhibited as large illustrated lists from which the viewer can distinguish the increasing dominance of invasive bird species.

 © 2018 Julia Martin. Exhibition of  All the Birds I saw Last Year  by Adrian Göllner

© 2018 Julia Martin. Exhibition of All the Birds I saw Last Year by Adrian Göllner

All the Birds I Saw Last Year as described by Adrian.

I have become distracted by birds. Early in 2017 I began to take note of the local flocks of starlings, sparrows and crows. Depending on the weather and time of year, their location and activity varied considerably. It occurred to me that if I were to make a record of every bird I saw for a year, some larger patterns might emerge that speak to our relationship with nature. Indeed, conceiving of the local bird population as a collective canary-in-the-coalmine, I thought I might begin to detect how human activity is adversely affecting our shared environment.

As I began my bird count on September 18, 2017, I was conscious of famed ornithologist John James Audubon’s (1785-1851) declaration that he saw 10,000 birds a day. How long might it take me to reach that number in an urban environment some 200 years later? Properly, each bird image denotes one sighting, so can represent either a single bird or a flock. Still, I estimate it took 240 days to meet Audubon’s one-day total.

 © 2018 Julia Martin. Exhibition of  All the Birds I saw Last Year  by Adrian Göllner

© 2018 Julia Martin. Exhibition of All the Birds I saw Last Year by Adrian Göllner

Admittedly, my pursuit is pseudo-scientific. While the regimented manner in which the results are presented suggests a scientific eye, what birds I see from day to day is largely random. Perhaps the project is best expressed as the meandering of one being intersecting with the meanderings of many others. Be that as it may, over the course of several months, the fluxes in the local bird populations are apparent and patterns can be discerned. One observation that is particularly telling is that 38% of our local bird population are invasive birds, species that humans naively introduced and which now thrive in the urban environment, displacing endemic birds.

 © 2018 Julia Martin. Detail of  All the Birds I saw Last Year  by Adrian Göllner

© 2018 Julia Martin. Detail of All the Birds I saw Last Year by Adrian Göllner

 © 2018 Julia Martin. Full print of  All the Birds I saw Last Year  by Adrian Göllner

© 2018 Julia Martin. Full print of All the Birds I saw Last Year by Adrian Göllner

 © 2018 Julia Martin. 5 x 5 inches/12.7 x 12.7 cm detail of  All the Birds I saw Last Year  by Adrian Göllner

© 2018 Julia Martin. 5 x 5 inches/12.7 x 12.7 cm detail of All the Birds I saw Last Year by Adrian Göllner

During the course of the year, I realized the project pitted my Neolithic brain against my modern sensibilities. While I am now able to rapidly identify birds by their colour, call, behaviour and flight pattern – something our ancestors would have relied on to find food or be warned of approaching predators – I am compelled to categorize and order those birds in the same all-too-modern manner that has, ultimately, led to the exploitation of the natural world. That all my bird sightings are recorded on my mobile phone, something that keeps us disengaged from our physical surroundings, belies a whole other set of ironies.

My desire is for the project to be read as a gesture of hyper-attunement at a time in which we are all increasingly aware of the rapid pace of environmental change. I am at once buoyed by the intelligence, ingenuity and incredible beauty of our avian neighbours and distressed by how we humans impinge on their lives on a daily basis.


As soon as Adrian described All the Birds I Saw Last Year, I was hooked by the idea of how a collection can be amassed and the way it’s transformed from concept to practical reality. Have any of you worked on developing collections?


Merrickville, Ontario, Part 1

The historic village of Merrickville, Ontario, remains a fantastic place to meet and invariably greet artists of different media. Every summer, I typically travel the hour-long route from Ottawa/Gatineau to view some favourite galleries. This is a feast for the eyes trip. Next year, I would like to visit studios that participate in the Artists Tour at the end of September. For over 30 years the Merrickville Artists’ Guild Autumn Studio Tour provides thousands of art lovers a peek into the creative worlds of artists in and around Merrickville.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Monsky Creations Art Gallery

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Monsky Creations Art Gallery

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Monsky Creations Art Gallery

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Monsky Creations Art Gallery

During our stay, serendipitously through a valuable introduction by my husband, I visited the Monsky Creations Art Gallery which exclusively features the work of multi-disciplined artist Monica Viola. Monica works in clay, glass, painting, and fabric; one-of-a-kind art that is beautiful and intriguing. The mention of glass work and I’m there!

Over the last few years, Monica has become an international artist whose unique and highly collectable works can be found all over the world.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Floating Butterflies, fused glass by Monica Viola

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Floating Butterflies, fused glass by Monica Viola

 © 2018 Gary Viola, Twiga, fused glass by Monica Viola

© 2018 Gary Viola, Twiga, fused glass by Monica Viola

 © 2018 Gary Viola, ceramic by Monica Viola

© 2018 Gary Viola, ceramic by Monica Viola

 © 2018 Gary Viola, fused glass (20” x 7” x 1.5”) by Monica Viola

© 2018 Gary Viola, fused glass (20” x 7” x 1.5”) by Monica Viola

 © 2018 Gary Viola, fused glass platter (20” x 7” x 1.5”) by Monica Viola

© 2018 Gary Viola, fused glass platter (20” x 7” x 1.5”) by Monica Viola

 © 2018 Gary Viola, ceramic serving platter by Monica Viola

© 2018 Gary Viola, ceramic serving platter by Monica Viola

 © 2018 Gary Viola, Gazelle Platter, clay (4” x 21” x 6”) by Monica Viola

© 2018 Gary Viola, Gazelle Platter, clay (4” x 21” x 6”) by Monica Viola

 © 2018 Gary Viola, clay, Windtalker by Monica Viola

© 2018 Gary Viola, clay, Windtalker by Monica Viola

Found Objects

Back on the road and intentionally trying to write as fast as I can. It’s challenging to get back into my work after such an extended holiday. I’ve heartily enjoyed the continuous presence of family and friends back home in Canada since the beginning of August. Now we are going South to warm up. Furthermore, it's time to get back into creating artists’ books. As I travel, the one thing that keeps catching my eyes are trees with their texture and shape.

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Palm trees

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Palm trees

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sedona, Arizona. trees give me hope and comfort

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sedona, Arizona. trees give me hope and comfort

During studio visits, I connected with two artists who have in common an affinity for using driftwood, roots, and other natural elements in their art-work.

For my first blog post after a lengthy break, I bring the work of Marnie Powers-Torrey from Salt Lake City and Judith Serling-Sturm from Cincinnati.

Marnie’s work in progress—a series of boxes—its working title Archive of Now is without a declared finish date.

Marnie talks of Archive of Now:

 © 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

© 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

Maybe, I’ll consider it done when I complete a concurrent project Roadside Attractions. The paper wrappers for the boxes are printed as palimpsests of the process of printing Roadside Attractions. The plates are relief-printed collagraphs {roadside found objects mounted type high for letterpress}. Simultaneously printing projects from the same matrixes is a matter of efficiency—a necessity in our culture {the digital age} when my research relies on obsolete {slow} processes.

The roadside objects were sought like shells by a beachcomber during walks of all sorts—meditative, hurried, purposeful, lackluster—all otherwise uneventful. Initially, I had no intended plan for this rubbish. I was compelled to pick up the pieces and save them like prizes. These found pieces of the industrialized puzzle were mysteriously captivating to me, not being particularly mechanically minded. I had no recollection of many of these scraps of things—what their initial purpose was. Others, I recognized after considering for a time, and some immediately know. All were realizations of human being’s incredible and lasting ingenuity.

 © 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

© 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

 © 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

© 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

At the same time {for the past few years and now}, I began collecting sage root balls after the county cleared a new cross-country ski track and hiking trails in the open space near my home. I am enthralled with the new trails and walk them nearly every day. Still disturbed by the disruption, the annihilation of this slow-growing and remarkably hearty desert dweller. Sage is long-living—an icon of wisdom and progenitor of healing. Sagebrush’s dry wit is also a fuel source for wildfires. These root junctures are thus both castaways and wellsprings, harbingers and scepters.

 © 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

© 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

I’ve always collected things since I was very young. First rocks and then pottery shards. Also, erasers and soaps. The calling to gather, to preserve, and to keep has stayed with me. The driftwood, bones, rocks, and other organic souvenirs are memorialized and archived in these boxes. Presenting the found natural objects in this manner allows us to refocus on the micro, to recontextualize the beauty of these nothings that would otherwise continue to naturally decay in the natural environment. The still beauty of nature’s readymades is engulfed by the bits of manmade machinery meant for motion. Each naturally occurring object gains an aura, surrounded by the impressions made from objects shaped from raw materials by man. Both nature’s and human’s byproducts are talismans to hold tightly into the uncertain future.

 © 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

© 2018 Marnie Powers-Torrey, Archive of Now

Some boxes hold typed text while others are purely visual. The text is serendipitous meditations—translations that come to mind as I handle and contain each object. I am reticent to include text in all boxes as I’d like the viewer to discover personals effigies. I hope the text that I do include provides permission to follow our visual intuition when looking and excavating meaning. I invite the viewer to appreciate the beauty of these objects for what they are while also imagining what their shapes and presence suggest.


 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, found objects in Judith Serling-Sturm’s studio

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, found objects in Judith Serling-Sturm’s studio

Judith explains some of the pieces of driftwood and bark that she has collected and how they will be integrated in artists’ books in the future.

Frequently, I am drawn to a piece by its texture; the vertical striations of a honeysuckle branch, the knobbed shingles of persimmon bark, the smoothness of a knotty branch lapped by years of slapping waves. Other time the shape invites me.

 © 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, I discovered this unique piece on a hike shortly after reading Walt Whitman—for me it evokes the free celebration of self, body, and soul—and one of these days, when I have no pressing duties, I will incorporate this piece into a fan book...

© 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, I discovered this unique piece on a hike shortly after reading Walt Whitman—for me it evokes the free celebration of self, body, and soul—and one of these days, when I have no pressing duties, I will incorporate this piece into a fan book...

 © 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, I uncovered this piece of wood by a construction site... it just looked up at me, the bent rusted nail a tear seeping from the knot of an eye—and there is so much to cry about these days... it will undoubtedly become a cover for an artist book.

© 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, I uncovered this piece of wood by a construction site... it just looked up at me, the bent rusted nail a tear seeping from the knot of an eye—and there is so much to cry about these days... it will undoubtedly become a cover for an artist book.

 © 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, this palm bark, another form that speaks to me with its female form... one of my many long-term projects is one about ‘Home’ after moving so many times. For several years I have interviewed people to learn what they mean when they talk about ‘home.’ This unfinished piece refers to my immigrant grandparents and my grandfather’s assertion that, as Edward Sharpe says,  Home is wherever I’m with her .

© 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, this palm bark, another form that speaks to me with its female form... one of my many long-term projects is one about ‘Home’ after moving so many times. For several years I have interviewed people to learn what they mean when they talk about ‘home.’ This unfinished piece refers to my immigrant grandparents and my grandfather’s assertion that, as Edward Sharpe says, Home is wherever I’m with her.

 © 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, this is an artist book with a nest and a condom wrapper woven into it! How can it not be an artist book about the naturalness of using contraception?

© 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, this is an artist book with a nest and a condom wrapper woven into it! How can it not be an artist book about the naturalness of using contraception?

 © 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, when I found this stick, I immediately began thinking about how all creatures leave their mark in the world, how we create and at the same time possibly destroy as we strive for a meaningful life.

© 2018 Judith Serling-Sturm, when I found this stick, I immediately began thinking about how all creatures leave their mark in the world, how we create and at the same time possibly destroy as we strive for a meaningful life.

Time and again a natural element will prompt me to think things in an innovative way, as in this last case. It may never actually be incorporated into the actual artist book about that issue. 
And sometimes a piece of wood is collected just because it's beautiful. And that is equally valuable
.


I have been attracted to trees especially in the hills of Texas but nothing has come to mind for a future project yet! What about you, have trees, driftwood, or other found objects conveyed ideas for an artists’ book, art piece, or series? If so, what have you produced with them?