La Cienega, New Mexico

During the previous two weeks, we have been Eastbound from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Sugarcreek, Ohio by way of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Tenessee...

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Amarillo to Shamrock, Texas on Interstate 40

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Amarillo to Shamrock, Texas on Interstate 40

My traveling and blogging have unlocked many doors to studio visits and interesting meets.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, visiting with my fur friend "Clyde" companion to Dana Perez in Nashville, Tennessee

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, visiting with my fur friend "Clyde" companion to Dana Perez in Nashville, Tennessee

I enjoy the comments received on each and every one of my posts. An artist from La Cienega, New Mexico has sent me weekly comments since the beginning. This is how I started a conversation and friendship with Gail Murray.

Last week I found myself in Albuquerque, fifty miles from La Cienega. “I’m close enough for a trek up north,” I said. La Cienega is seventeen miles southwest of Santa Fe, this was an excuse to stop by one of my favourite places and a studio visit!

After a forty minute drive, I was at Gail’s Adobe style home. I found her and husband Paul to be great people to spend an evening talking about art.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, accordion with turkish map fold book by Gail Murray

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, accordion with turkish map fold book by Gail Murray

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, paste papers by Gail Murray

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, paste papers by Gail Murray

Gail and Paul Murray are the quintessential New Mexico couple: Gail is a New Mexico State employee by day and book artist by night. Gail makes one-of-a-kind artist books, using her own paste papers or decorative paper techniques learned through the Santa Fe Book Arts Group. Her books are filled with her own original haikus. 

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Fifty Shades of Green by Gail Murray

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Fifty Shades of Green by Gail Murray

Since 1978, Gail and Paul have made their annual Christmas cards, in a variety of media, ranging from silkscreen, collage, painting, and lino-prints. Each year they hand make and mail around 80 original, signed Christmas cards. Many people report having kept each one since 1978! Those early card years were the origins of Gail's Paw Print Press and subsequently her artist books. After viewing the BAG’s “Celebration of the Book” exhibit in late 2008, Gail instantly knew she had found her creative home. It was there she had her “Ha-ha!” moment that she could BIND things into books, which had never occurred to her in all the years of making holiday, birthday and thank you cards.

Paul has been a life-long, full-time artist, painting landscapes, still life, architectural, flowers or animals in pastel, oil, acrylic, or pen and ink. Paul ran his graphic design business, Murray’s Design, in Albuquerque from 1977-2003. He started painting in pastels in the mid-90s. This earned him numerous major awards and sales. With that, he was hooked, and eventually left graphic design behind, and focused on painting full time and teaching workshops.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Paul Murray in his studio talking about his paintings

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Paul Murray in his studio talking about his paintings

Together Paul and Gail are a collaborative team and back each other up in most matters art and the care of their current three cats, the Furry Murrays. Paul’s painting studio is connected to their home by a breezeway, and Gail produces all of her work in their spacious kitchen, with lots of spill-over into the breakfast nook, dining room, and more storage in the second bedroom. Before Gail found book arts, she says “it was a normal home. Presently it is a book art studio with cooking facilities.” The three cats reside in Paul’s studio. Their license plates say it all: CATLADY and BOOKART.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Paul Murray with his favourite painting

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Paul Murray with his favourite painting


The Santa Fe Books Arts Group is a very active group of approximately 150 artists. Most are from Santa Fe, however many are state-wide and out of state. The Crown Jewel of BAG’s events is the Capitol Rotunda exhibit, held every odd year for 3 months, either summer or fall at the Rotunda of the State Capitol in downtown Santa Fe. Each year approximately 100 books are accepted for the exhibit. BAG also sponsors several workshops, salons, and monthly meetings with presentations or demos given by very creative members or invited guest artists. Another highlight of the BAG year is the annual Collaborative Book. Usually, 20 to 25 members create enough pages to exchange with other members, based on the specs, theme, or colors chosen for that year’s Collaborative Book.

In 2014 BAG organized several small study groups, called In Over My Head—they cover a diverse range of topics. The groups are limited to eight participants and often meet at member’s homes or other suitable location. Popular topics have been Book Structure, Zentangle, Pop-ups, Calligraphy, Collage... Each month the associates explore in a 3-hour session an aspect of their respective topic. The Book Structure group is in its 5th year with most of the original members. Members take turns teaching a new structure or technique to the rest of the group. This June, they held their Third Annual Paste Paper Extravaganza in Gail’s Garage. Seven artists created piles of lovely paste paper; they share a swatch of paste paper with each member, to create their own unique collaborative book from the paste paper they swapped.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Gail Murray demonstrating the sliding strap concertina

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Gail Murray demonstrating the sliding strap concertina

Gail showed me a Sliding Strap Concertina created during a BAG workshop by Priscilla Spitler. Priscilla, a fine bookbinder from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico learned this structure from Gary Frost. This intriguing book structure permits additional content in the book or the book can be displayed on a wall. 

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Gail Murray showing the cover of the sliding strap concertina

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Gail Murray showing the cover of the sliding strap concertina

The Sliding Strap Concertina is a versatile structure that expands by the straps sliding through the linen thread “loops” sewn into the front and back covers. The spine is made of stained or painted Tyvek, with the five signatures pamphlet stitched to each fold in the spine. Each signature and endpapers can be covered in paste or marbled papers, these are perfect for this book.

Every visit, every conversation teaches me something new. Do you have a new binding or a new way of folding paper?


Papers, papers and more papers!

What variety of papers do you resort to for your printing job — artists’ books, prints, photography? 

Do you own an inkjet printer, a laser printer or a letterpress?

These questions are often asked by other artists or blog readers on the substrate I use to produce my artists’ books. I find papers tactile and love their different textures, whether smooth, rough, lightweight or thick. It's a pleasure to receive a visual signal of the tactile experience a paper communicates.

When I first started producing artists' books, finding papers that would impart the meaning of my publications demanded lots of research. In the end, the potential of papers designed for inkjet printers offered my books their clear, precise, vivid colours, and the contemporary look I enjoy.

 © 2016 Louise Levergneux, City Shields manhole covers printed on Generations Quad

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, City Shields manhole covers printed on Generations Quad

Generations Quad (10 mil-260 gsm) was the first inkjet paper I purchased. This is a lustre photographic paper that produces a consistent image with instant dry-time allowing prints to be handled immediately without fingerprints or scuffing. It’s available in different sizes, 13 x 19 inches works well for my template in which I print images of manhole covers for my on-going project City Shields. I can still purchase it after 18 years.

I have used Aspen paper for many book projects, as in the insert for City Shields, the pages for Equinox, 26NOV2006, and Ambivalence. Unfortunately Aspen paper is no longer available.

Using I have printed Parade, Outside the Studio, 6:45, Decades Apart, and obsession. This paper is excellent for folded pages, since it does not seem to break

Papers for inkjet printers are coated and the fibres break when folded even on the proper grain direction. After looking for various types of papers, I identified a couple that work well for the production process of the accordion, fold out, gatefold,

Moab Papers by Legion Papers continue to be some of my favourites. Moab produces fine art, photographic, and specialty papers. Each paper is explained in detail on their website. Moab offers free downloadable profiles for your printer and for each and every paper they sell. Utilizing their profiles will deliver the most satisfactory results. 

 Moab page describing profiles to start  downloading  and install

Moab page describing profiles to start downloading and install

Legion Papers offers a selection of papers by its application, category, or by name. The Legion Papers website presents the opportunity to select the perfect paper for the proper printing job by responding to a few questions.

 

 Legion Papers website page, most of the choices of paper by  applications

Legion Papers website page, most of the choices of paper by applications

 Moab Entrada and Lasal Photo papers

Moab Entrada and Lasal Photo papers

After conversations with contacts at Moab Papers, Lasal Photo Matte, a double-sided paper which prints with sharp and vivid images, and Entrada Rag a 100% cotton fine art paper were wonderful finds. Entrada Rag is archival acid, and lignin-free with superb handling and sharpness. It also has an expanded colour gamut, natural contrast, and high ink load. It is compatible with both dye and pigment inks. I chose Entrada Rag for Perception, Guadalupe, and the flags of my flag-book Faux-pas.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail printed page of Perception on Estrada Rag

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail printed page of Perception on Estrada Rag

A Day Filled with Onomatopoeias was printed on Kodak Bright White Matte Inkjet Paper. This paper can be purchased from Office Depot, and produces crisp text, vivid colours and is designed for use with most inkjet printers. It can also be used with laser printers. It was ideal for the comic book look I was focused on creating.colours and is designed for use with most inkjet printers. It can also be used with laser printers. It was ideal for the comic book look I was focused on creating.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail of the turkish map fold page of Finding Home on Kodak Bright White Matte Paper, great paper for folds

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail of the turkish map fold page of Finding Home on Kodak Bright White Matte Paper, great paper for folds

Presently, I use primarily Lasal Photo Matte Paper from Moab for my books. It has given me outstanding results for Shadow Me, Finding Home, Conversation, Xtraction, Traverse, and Entre deux. If you're looking for the ideal paper for limited edition books where the prints encounter frequent handling, Lasal Photo is for you. 

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, box of Lasal Photo by Moab in the 12 x 13 inches 

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, box of Lasal Photo by Moab in the 12 x 13 inches 

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail printed page of Shadow Me on Lasal Photo from Moab Papers

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail printed page of Shadow Me on Lasal Photo from Moab Papers

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail printed page of Finding Home on Lasal Photo from Moab Papers

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, detail printed page of Finding Home on Lasal Photo from Moab Papers

I order Moab and Inkpress papers from ITSupplies in Meadows, Illinois and order the Generations Quad from Ink2Image in Glenview, Illinois.

Try these papers and have fun with the results! Let me know what you think.

Book Arts Program, Marriott Library

Before leaving Salt Lake City, I printed all the pages and the cover of my book Shadow Me. I was having so much fun I continued to print the pages and images for Finding Home. The books are ready to cut, fold, and assemble. It is difficult to keep a working schedule on the road. First, I don’t have much space and often the everyday activities take precedence. That’s life when it interferes with art!

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, printed pages of Shadow Me

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, printed pages of Shadow Me

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, printed pages of Finding Home

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, printed pages of Finding Home


Last week, at the Book Arts Program Studio of the Marriott Library, I met with Emily Tipps, Program Manager, and Marnie Powers-Torrey, Head of the Book Arts Program and Managing Director of the Red Butte Press.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Marnie Powers-Torrey at the University of Utah

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Marnie Powers-Torrey at the University of Utah

I had the pleasure of seeing some of Emily and Marnie's artists’ books, produced during the last few years. They also demonstrated some of the books produced by the Red Butte Press. The conversation continued by sharing thoughts on structures and techniques chosen, favourite binding methods, typestyle and fine press. The type of substrate of various books was stimulating as I’m constantly looking to print on new papers.

The feel of paper for the fourth imprint of the Book Arts Program (In)visible Shores by Danielle Dubrasky was very tactile, sensual to the touch. BAP imprints are designed, printed, and bound in-house.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux,  (In)visible Shores  by Danielle Dubrasky

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, (In)visible Shores by Danielle Dubrasky

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux,  Stranger and Stranger  by Katharine Coles The book  Stranger and Stranger  by Katharine Coles with images translated from the paintings of Maureen O-Hara Ure

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Stranger and Stranger by Katharine Coles The book Stranger and Stranger by Katharine Coles with images translated from the paintings of Maureen O-Hara Ure

Marnie shared three of her own artists’ books. It was delightful to see Marnie enjoying the feeling of renewal through production.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Cities & Justice by Marnie Powers-Torrey

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Cities & Justice by Marnie Powers-Torrey

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Nuts, Seeds & Heavier Fare (left) and Mama Self (right) by Marnie Powers-Torrey

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Nuts, Seeds & Heavier Fare (left) and Mama Self (right) by Marnie Powers-Torrey

Mama Self is an edition of 32, the age of the artist when she became pregnant and gave birth to her second child, realizing that she'd never be the same again.
Work on this book began in 2006 in a workshop with the brilliant Julie Leonard, just after the birth of the artist's third and last child. After nine years of gestation, the book was finally released into the world. Imagery is derived from circular ink washes suggesting the cyclical nature of being, the constancy of motion, revolving planets, ripe ovum and lactating breasts. The text is experimental and broken, collected in haste throughout the early years of motherhood. Stripped of formality and exposing raw, maternal femininity, the words string together a visual poem of primal and authentic language.

A short exposure with Marnie Powers-Torrey by KUEDCHANNEL7. "The visual book, as I like to call it, can be a mode of creative expression."


Emily Tipps is the founder of High5 Press. At the moment Emily has a new visual book in production with the working title of Amoral. I enjoyed the visual aspect, design, and composition of its pages. 

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Amoral, work in progress by Emily Tipps

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Amoral, work in progress by Emily Tipps

I aim to provoke energetic reader interaction with innovative texts, using letterpress printing, hand paper-making, and bookbinding to create limited-editions whose content and form are conceptually and interestingly related. Says Emily.

The most enjoyable part of traveling is meeting old friends and artists. I’m looking forward to having a space to create and express myself through these travels. Visiting artists and getting to know the productions behind the studios are absolutely invigorating! I welcome the next encounter.

Marriott Library, University of Utah

Last week, in Boise, I picked up from Unbound the 3D printed pieces of the houses incorporated in my book Finding Home. Unbound is a library and facility that experiment with emerging technology. I'm enjoying the sound of my printer as I print two copies of the pages of my book.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Finding Home house peices

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Finding Home house peices

It was a pleasure being back in Salt Lake City after a year of traveling, even though more time was spent with doctors, chiropractors, and my physiotherapist. I appreciated a visit to the J. Willard Marriott Library the main academic library of the University of Utah this week.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, entrance to the J Willard Marriott Library

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, entrance to the J Willard Marriott Library

The Book Arts Program has a fully equipped studio where artists utilize type, letterpress, photo engravings and bookbinding equipment as they combine traditional techniques with modern aesthetics and technology. 

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, the book arts studio as one walk through the door

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, the book arts studio as one walk through the door

The Program promotes involvement with the art of the book by facilitating Academic designations of Minor, a Certificate in Book Arts, and the MFA in Creative Writing & Book Arts, which are supported by classes exploring letterpress printing, bookbinding, artists' books and typography.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux,  Chris McAfee  in the book arts classroom, getting ready for a workshop on conservation

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Chris McAfee in the book arts classroom, getting ready for a workshop on conservation

At this time of year, the Special Collection Gallery found on the fourth floor at the entrance of the Book Arts Studio is filled with student's work in book arts.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Special Collections Gallery

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Special Collections Gallery

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, exhibitionon of students work

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, exhibitionon of students work

For you lovers of ABC books, I found one in the exhibition entitled Animal Alphabet. This artists’ book is an alternative take on a traditional abecedarian book that exposes the cruelty that animals experience every day and calls the reader to action by Sydney Porter.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sydney Porter, Animal Alphabet

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sydney Porter, Animal Alphabet

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sydney Porter, Animal Alphabet

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Sydney Porter, Animal Alphabet

More books caught my attention:

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Box Sonata: at play with Plato, Quasha, and Chronostratigraphy by Mahala Kephart

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Box Sonata: at play with Plato, Quasha, and Chronostratigraphy by Mahala Kephart

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Tatiana Tyszko, Places I’ve Fallen In Love

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Tatiana Tyszko, Places I’ve Fallen In Love

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, another fascinating book by Hannah Harper Hansen entitled Book 3

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, another fascinating book by Hannah Harper Hansen entitled Book 3

I have taken many workshops and a full semester class on book arts with the Book Arts Program while living in Salt Lake City a few years ago. The next workshop, The Book Restructured: Wire-Edge Binding with Daniel E. Kelm is at the beginning of June. With my hectic schedule Eastbound, I will miss this wonderful workshop. Pretty shitty! But that is life!

Next week, I will have a look at some of the people in charge of the Book Arts Program and next year with no injuries to heal I will plan in advance to participate in a workshop.

Abecedaries

It feels tremendous to be on the brink of creating an artists’ book. Hopefully, I will have time to start the design process before we embark on our next trek. My traveling studio leaves Salt Lake City to go Eastbound at the end of May. 

For the present, I’m looking forward to stand or sit; and think, plan, and print. How will it feel to handle tools again? Especially the glue!!! I may choose a non-glue method of binding.

Through my research, I discovered many published alphabet/ABC artists’ books in different binding formats depending on the meaning behind the work. Some of the types of bindings used for abecedaries are the flip book, cards, tunnel book, accordion, codex, panorama concertina... to name a few.

Karen Hanmer has used different bindings for her alphabet books. In The Spectrum A to Z the letters of the alphabet are colored to run through the spectrum and back within a tunnel book format.

 © 2003 Karen Hanmer, The Spectrum A to Z, pigment inkjet prints, 5 x 5 x 18", edition of 20

© 2003 Karen Hanmer, The Spectrum A to Z, pigment inkjet prints, 5 x 5 x 18", edition of 20

Another alphabet book inspired by the U.S. Patriot Act is in an accordion style binding. Patriot Alphabet incorporates words or phrases taken from the vocabulary of terrorism, homeland security, and the Iraq war.

 © 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

© 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

 © 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

© 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

Karen’s last alphabet book A2Z is in a flip book style. I had a chance to view A2Z personally at the University of Utah’s library while living in South Jordan.

 © 2013 Karen Hanmer, inkjet prints, double-fan adhesive binding, 2 x 4.75 x 2”

© 2013 Karen Hanmer, inkjet prints, double-fan adhesive binding, 2 x 4.75 x 2”


Another artist’s work that delighted my eyes was Shu-Ju Wang. Her theme is Belly Dancers in a pull-out accordion structure.

Alphabet for a Belly Dancer captures the essence of belly dance through wordplay and a rhythmic pattern that mimics the dance itself.

 © 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer, wrap-around cover in Japanese Masa Unwaxed and French handmade paper finished with hand-dyed rayon ribbon, coins, and beads, the protective envelope is made with a shimmering cover stock.

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer, wrap-around cover in Japanese Masa Unwaxed and French handmade paper finished with hand-dyed rayon ribbon, coins, and beads, the protective envelope is made with a shimmering cover stock.

 © 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

 © 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

In Shu-Ju’s unique nonlatin character set Da(3)Pai(2), we find a full deck of 54 cards trace the evolution of 52 Chinese characters from their original pictographs to their contemporary forms. The heart and diamond suits illustrate the evolution of 26 radicals, and the spade and club suits show these radicals used in complex, combinatorial characters. Based on the book Chinese Calligraphy by Edoardo Fassioli and Guo Yu Ri Bao Zi Dian, a Chinese dictionary.

 © 2003 Shu-Ju Wang, Da(3)Pai(2), wrap-around cover, cards in Evergreen Cover Aspen and Astroparche Antique Gold

© 2003 Shu-Ju Wang, Da(3)Pai(2), wrap-around cover, cards in Evergreen Cover Aspen and Astroparche Antique Gold

Many other artists have been inspired by the theme of consonances and vowels of our language and there’s too many to show in this post. Tune in next week for more fun abecedaries.

Phoenix Book Placement

Last week was intense! My thoughts are to stop the madness and start creating, publishing and have fun with photos, I took way back when... Before the face the sand event!

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Coachella Valley, Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, California

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Coachella Valley, Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve, California

Snapping photos during physical therapy for my alphabet book gets me excited about working and thinking about the content and title. With a high strain sprain, I’m also taking time to enjoy and study my Sony camera with all its features. Content to learn something every day but it’s absorbing the info that is a process.

 © 2018 Louise Levergneux, Heiden Orthopedics, Salt Lake City, Utah

© 2018 Louise Levergneux, Heiden Orthopedics, Salt Lake City, Utah

On the administration side of the studio, while passing through Phoenix, I contacted the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department of the Arizona State University Library. The result of my conversations represents the placement of two artist's books in the Book Arts Collection. The collection contains books with unusual formats about fine printing, binding, and handmade papers, it also includes pop-up books.

With this acquisition, the complete edition of Entre deux and Guadalupe are sold out. Both artists’ books are in great company, I discovered deux and Guadalupe are sold out. Both artists’ books are in great company, I discovered deux and Guadalupe are sold out. Both artists’ books are in great company, I discovered deux and Guadalupe are sold out. Both artists’ books are in great company, I discovered deux and Guadalupe are sold out. Both artists’ books are in great company, I discovered deux and Guadalupe are sold out. Both artists’ books are in great company, I discovered After Image: Colour at play by Barbara Hodgson & Claudia Cohen is part of the collection and The Blame Game: Winning Excuses and Strategies on and off the Court by Carolyn Shattuck. 

Entre deux is an interactive documentary inviting the reader to take part in a simple meal with a couple whiles being privy to their conversation on the subject of love. deux is an interactive documentary inviting the reader to take part in a simple meal with a couple whiles being privy to their conversation on the subject of love. 

 © 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

 © 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

 © 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

Guadalupe was created after exploring Santa Fe, New Mexico, I created a documentary on the Virgin Mary, an image that saturates the entire city in different formats, sizes, and styles.

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux, Guadelupe

© 2012 Louise Levergneux, Guadelupe

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux, Guadelupe

© 2012 Louise Levergneux, Guadelupe

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux, Guadelupe

© 2012 Louise Levergneux, Guadelupe

I have another three weeks in Salt Lake City and looking forward to positive answers to studio visits as hiking the wonderful Wasatch Mountains is out of the question.

California Palm Trees

Where to go when Texas gets cold? California!

We settled in and reconnoitered the place as we drove around the desert. Traveling in the Thousand Palms Canyon of the Coachella Valley, we found the most delightful haven—the Thousand Palms Oasis.

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis

Everything is silent in the oasis and you can immerse yourself in the beauty and solitude of the magnificent palm trees. 

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis

Stepping into this sanctuary, I was startled by the unexpected lushness of the palms. I absorbed the feathery fronds and admired the stately trunks soaring 60 feet high.

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis

Like all palms, the Washingtonia filifera, isn’t actually a tree at all, but is related to grasses and bamboos. Rather than sprouting growth rings, a palm is basically a column that sucks water from the roots to its sprouting crown via a series of drinking-strawlike tubes. The palm trees of this oasis feed on water from the San Andreas Fault line. 

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis, the skirt of dried leaves hanging down the trunk of the native California fan palm is more than a fashion statement; it’s a home to animals who help the palm propagate

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis, the skirt of dried leaves hanging down the trunk of the native California fan palm is more than a fashion statement; it’s a home to animals who help the palm propagate

To experience the magnificence of the Preserve, one can trek a two-mile round trip that takes you through a palm oasis, across the fault zone, through a desert wash to the McCallum Oasis, one of the largest groves of desert fan palms in California. 

We were enjoying the trek, our boots filling up with desert sand. I stepped on a tiny rock twisted my ankle and my face hit the ground. Argh!

Remember the two-mile round trip, we still had the one mile back to the parking. Yeow! 

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis, all these photos were shot before the fatal kiss the dirt act

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Thousand Palms Oasis, all these photos were shot before the fatal kiss the dirt act


Charles Hobson created a marvelous limited edition artists’ book entitled Trees and it includes a poem by W. S. Merwin. Merwin’s poem is soft and contemplative and conveys a sense of quiet awe as he looked into trees from a mysterious time and place.

 © 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees, an edition of thirty copies

© 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees, an edition of thirty copies

When the book is opened, one can read the poem by standing up the first pages and using it to prop each page against it as the pages are turned.

The small tree in the opening at the front of the book is used to suggest the beginning of a recollection of trees in some distant, remembered time, following one of the threads of the poem.

When "accordion’d-out" the book offers a succession of palm trees that can be positioned on different sides of the standing pages, giving a front and back view of the same image. A large architectural model palm tree sits in the window cut in the last panel which is backed by a transparent image of the night sky.

 © 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees, 16 pages, 4-1/4 x 12 x 2 inches

© 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees, 16 pages, 4-1/4 x 12 x 2 inches

The monotypes of palm trees are reproduced as high-resolution digital prints on transparency film. The monotypes lay over the words of the poem, which have been set letterpress to follow the shape of the palm tree trunks – the words of the poem climbing the trees.

 © 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees

© 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees

When one shines the flashlight on the tree and through the opening at the back of the book, the light projects mysterious shadows of trees against the luminous night sky.

The book can be oriented in several ways, much as the poem offers subtly varied interpretations. Setting it on its side presents the type reading from left to right (rather than up and down), but results in the trees having fallen.

 © 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees

© 2010 Charles Hobson, Trees

A stop action animation about the making of Trees with Charles Hobson and Alice Shaw.

You never know what will inspire you and where you will find amazing, superlative ideas.


Book Arts Collection in Texas

As I travel, my on-going goal is to promote my artists' books. After a few emails to book arts collections in Texas, I scheduled two appointments.

My first rendez-vous was with Shā Towers, Curator of the Book Arts Collection, Art Liaison Librarian, and Associate Director of the Central Libraries at Baylor University. Since 2007, the artists’ book collection of The Crouch Fine Arts Library has grown to over 800 works representing many artists and presses. The collection functions as a teaching collection for both studio artists working in the medium and various disciplines outside the arts. The collection includes a wide-ranging representation of everything from single-page constructions, complex forms, sculptural book-works, fine press, letterpress, photography, handmade papers, textiles, collaborative works, and more.

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, the Jesse H Jones Library, one of the central libraries at Baylor University in Waco, Texas

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, the Jesse H Jones Library, one of the central libraries at Baylor University in Waco, Texas

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, the Jesse H Jones Library entrance to a very friendly staff

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, the Jesse H Jones Library entrance to a very friendly staff

I arrived in Waco, had a pleasant visit and exchange on the Library collection with Shā. Following my artists' books presentation, I left re-energized. It’s nice to talk with someone who has an understanding, interest and creates artists' books.

I'm thrilled to say my artists’ books: Conversation, Decades Apart, Traverse, the Texas and New Mexico volumes of City Shields, are now part of the Crouch Fine Arts Library.

 © 2016 Louise Levergneux, Conversation

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, Conversation

 © 2015 Louise Levergneux, Traverse

© 2015 Louise Levergneux, Traverse

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux, Decades Apart

© 2012 Louise Levergneux, Decades Apart

 © 2006 Louise Levergneux, City Shields, New Mexico volume

© 2006 Louise Levergneux, City Shields, New Mexico volume

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, door in downtown Waco, Texas

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, door in downtown Waco, Texas

My second consultation was with Rebecca Pad, Humanities Liaison Librarian for the Fine Arts Library at the University of Texas.

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Oak trees around the Doty Fine Arts Building 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Oak trees around the Doty Fine Arts Building 

Examples of Artists' Books can be found in Libraries and Art Collections across the University campus. The artists' books in these collections contain illustrations by artists, livres d'artistes, multiple-copied and inexpensive produced booklets, limited-edition, and handcrafted books.

Rebecca Pad, three other colleagues and I sat and reviewed my books. I took pleasure in seeing my ideas and concepts experienced with amusement. I’m fond of bringing a smile to the reader, part of my artistic statement and philosophy behind my work.

At the end of our session, the Fine Arts Library acquired Ambivalence, a flip book from the Outside of the Studio series entitled Earth.20 and my last published book Shadow Me.

 © 2010 Louise Levergneux, Ambivalence

© 2010 Louise Levergneux, Ambivalence

 © 2012 Louise Levergneux, Earth.20 from the Outside the Studio Series

© 2012 Louise Levergneux, Earth.20 from the Outside the Studio Series

 © 2017 Louise Levergneux, Shadow Me

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Shadow Me

Shadow Me is a documentary that exemplifies solitary moments after the loss of unconditional love of a devoted companion. Rebecca was touched by this book, I’m glad it's now part of the collection.

In the past, I wasn’t keen on talking about my work, but Texans have a way of welcoming you, what can I say Y'all made me feel at home!