Austin.6

I wish you all a Happy New Year—create and be prosperous.

I’m in Florida at the moment, trying to catch up on organizing my databases, going through photos to make room on my external hard drives... You know the new year cleansing!

Will talk about clearing and cleansing later... For now let’s get back to business after a couple of weeks off for the holidays! Last Fall while in Texas, I visited Flatbed Press with Mary Braughman from Austin Book Arts Center.

© Louise Levergneux. I enjoyed the four legged creates of Texas.

© Louise Levergneux. I enjoyed the four legged creates of Texas.

Flatbed is located on Boggy Creek, near the University of Texas. This Spring, Flatbed will be moving to 3701 Drossett Drive in Austin. Flatbed is comprised of two divisions, the Flatbed Press, a publishing workshop collaborating with artists to produce limited editions of original etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and monoprints. And the second division is Flatbed Gallery—a private art gallery, which specializes in original prints.

I had the privilege of meeting Annalise Natasha Gratovich who was working diligently on her own new series, her largest series to date. The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home, is co-published by Flatbed Press. The remarkable series includes eight 3 x 5.5 foot hand-dyed chine collé woodcuts.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich working on her new series, The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich working on her new series, The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home.

© Louise Levergneux. © Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich at Flatbed Press.

© Louise Levergneux. © Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich at Flatbed Press.

So, what does “chine collé woodcuts” mean, you ask? Chine-collé roughly translates from French as “chine” meaning tissue, and “collé” is glue or paste. The paper, usually in pre-cut shapes, is actually bonded to the heavier support paper of the print in the printmaking process. The over-all effect of collé is that the paper is actually bonded, not just glued, to the print. It can, at times, look like it is embossed. The word chine was adopted because the thin paper traditionally used was imported into Europe from China, India and Japan. One of the commonly applied techniques includes dampening the thin paper and placing it on the inked plate. What makes collé different from collage is that it is then run through a printing press where the pressure of the press adheres and bonds the collé paper to the print.

This process is how Annalise applies the colour to her work and she carefully hand dyes the coloured papers.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich’s chine collé woodcuts drying at Flatbed Press.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich’s chine collé woodcuts drying at Flatbed Press.

Annalise says thoughtfully of her creative work —

“The Journey. Searching. Longing/Belonging. Home identity. Personhood… Where are you? Where am I? Can we, will we, be together? My work explores themes of displacement, self and cultural identity, intention and accountability as well as burden and regret. The figures are based on matryoshka dolls (Russian stacking dolls) and the textile patterns are derived from Ukrainian embroidery, either in patterning or stylistic outline. This nod to the traditional and folk arts of the lands of my heritage, Ukraine and the American South, is important and used to invoke feelings of nostalgia- memories or fantasies of far away places lost or cannot be returned to. I consider my work most successful when a viewer is compelled to dream of these memories and places, when they relate to my characters, and in that way I consider my work a visual continuation of what is shared through the rich and important art of storytelling.”

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Builder, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Builder, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Musician, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Musician, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

Gratovich is the Associate Gallery Director of the fine art print publisher Flatbed Press and a member of the Board of Directors of PrintAustin, a month-long, city-wide printmaking event for which she has helped organize exhibitions and special events, curate the PrintAustin Invitational, and has participated in artist and curator talks, and panel discussions.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. To Awaken In Paradise an etching with hand dyed chine collé by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. To Awaken In Paradise an etching with hand dyed chine collé by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.


I’m around the Tampa area of Florida for the next 3 weeks, then I’m visiting The Florida Atlantic University Wimberly Library and the Jaffe Collection at the end of January in Boca Raton. If you are interested in a visit to your studio, please, let me know. I would love to be introduced to your artists’ books.

Austin.5

There is a considerable amount of art to see and visit in Austin, Texas. A few weeks ago I was at the Austin Book Arts Center located in studio #114 in Flatbed Press building. While I was meeting with Linda Anderson, Mary Baughman stopped by to say hello. We met last year, when she created introduction opportunities to other artists in the area.

© 2018 Linda Anderson. Michael Sutton, Louise Levergneux, Mary Baughman, outside the Austin Book Art Center, Austin, Texas.

© 2018 Linda Anderson. Michael Sutton, Louise Levergneux, Mary Baughman, outside the Austin Book Art Center, Austin, Texas.

Mary’s career spanned 40 years at the University of Texas, most of that time caring for unique books at the Ransom Center. Teaching book arts for children has convinced her that children who learn to love books continue to treasure reading and writing, and will support the libraries of the future. Mary is additionally a associate of the Lone Star chapter of the Guild of Book Workers, a founding member of Austin Book Workers, and one of the originators of the Book Arts Fair held for 20+ years at Laguna Gloria Art Museum.

If you are a conservator you might be interested in reading on how Mary spearheaded the effort at the Ransom Center by creating insect ID flashcards.

After my time with Linda, Mary accompanied me around Flatbeb Press, founded in 1989 by Katherine Brimberry and Mark L. Smith. The facility includes not only Flatbeb’s shop, offices, and galleries, but also eleven tenants. The mix of visual-arts professionals provides a "24/7" creative synergy in the building.

Gallery Shoal Creek, CAMIBA Art,

Austin Book Arts Center,

L_A_N D Architects,

Hubbard Birchler Studio,

Daniel Arredondo Studio,

Smith and Hawley, NJ Weaver Studio,

Recspec Design Studio,

Jacqueline May Studio and Troy Brauntuch Studio.


© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Ericka Walker, exhibition of lithographs and screen prints.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Ericka Walker, exhibition of lithographs and screen prints.

While walking around the galleries, I witnessed Influence an exhibition of recent works by Nova Scotia based artist Ericka Walker, who was born in Hartford, Wisconsin, US.

Her large-scale multi-color lithographs draw on the vibrant history of propaganda, printed ephemera, and advertising from twentieth century Europe and North America. Ericka's work exposes nostalgia as an ongoing rhetorical device in a contemporary sociopolitical climate that clings savagely to destructive birthrights and colonial residues. As a self described “Daughter of Colonialism,” Walker considers the history of her parent nation, her host country, and to her own family’s involvement in settlement, agriculture, industry, and military service as enterprises that are far more complex than any slogan or advertisement can acclaim.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.

© 2018 Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.

© 2018 Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.

© 2018 Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.

© 2018 Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.

© 2018 Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.

© 2018 Ericka Walker, lithograph and screen print.


As I roamed the hallways the exhibition Language of Flowers engaged my eye. This show presents Brooklyn based, West Virginia native, Martin Mazorra’s botanical woodcut and letterpress prints that maintain the Victorian tradition of the language of flowers. Historically, flowers were a means to send coded messages that were otherwise unspoken in public. Specific flowers communicated distinct postures or sentiments. In Mazorra’s Language of Flowers, the choices of particular flowers or bouquets, along with provocative text are a contemporary interpretation to this tradition of cautious exchange.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Louise Levergneux. Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

Martin Mazorra is a Brooklyn based artist originally from West Virginia. He works chiefly in the medium of woodcut and letterpress, in a range of scales from small books, prints on paper, and on canvas, to site specific print-based installations.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

© 2018 Martin Mazorra, woodcut with movable type.

Whenever you can, join me in visiting exhibition in your area.


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