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.


San Marcos, Texas

Sometimes, you find yourself in the right place at the right time. When I visited the Austin Book Arts Center a few weeks back, I did not know what wonderful opportunities would be presented to me. Some doors are worth opening!

I had the good fortune of meeting Craig Jensen a fine master craftsman. Craig produces custom designed housings and fine limited edition bindings. He executes bindings for some of the best-known libraries and private presses in the world.

It was an inspiring mid-day visit at Craig’s home and studio, BookLab II in San Marcos, Texas. 

On arrival, a friendly four-legged muse—whose mission is to greet people—welcomed us with a smile. Most studios have a muse, a force who is the source of positive feelings in our space.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Craig Jensen's muse playing the "are they leaving so soon look"

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Craig Jensen's muse playing the "are they leaving so soon look"

Craig was generous with his time and shared his work stories and process in a natural open show and tell session. In front of his library filled with bindings and casing he has created, I was like a child in a candy store.

What would you like to see? Craig asked.

I thought any book will do, there was so much to choose from. Craig picked the first one, this book was the one Craig called the most technically difficult piece he had ever bound. Gaylord Schanilec's Lac des Pleurs, a study of the 22-mile length of the upper Mississippi River known as Lake Pepin, near Schanilec’s home in Stockholm, Wisconsin.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Craig Jensen talking about the process of binding Lac des Pleurs

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Craig Jensen talking about the process of binding Lac des Pleurs

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Lac des Pleurs with full map open

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Lac des Pleurs with full map open

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Lac des Pleurs

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Lac des Pleurs

On the many shelves of bindings a box covered in black Italian Canapetta lined with red rowlux caught my attention. Booklab II teamed up with Moving Parts Press to create the book DOC/UNDOC part of a grandiose collaboration between Guillermo Gómez-Peña and book artist Felicia Rice who created a work that stimulates all the senses.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a page of  DOC/UNDOC  

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a page of DOC/UNDOC 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, next, Craig displayed James Siena's book entitled Sequence One. 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, next, Craig displayed James Siena's book entitled Sequence One. 

After a couple of hours, we went out for a healthy meal and lots of conversation.

Craig’s career began in 1977 when he was appointed Library Conservator for the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. In, 1977-78 Craig interned at The Library of Congress Restoration Office under the keen direction of Peter Waters and Don Etherington to eventually become a bench conservator and bookbinder at The Library of Congress. In 1981, Don Etherington recruited Craig to serve as the Head of Book Conservation at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Conservation Department at the University of Texas in Austin. 

In 1984, Craig established the Jensen Bindery, for book conservation and box making, then focused on limited edition binding. Craig worked for Acme Bookbinding as Vice President of Imaging for a number of years then returned to the concept of a small book bindery, reestablishing a workshop, BookLab II, in 2003. After spending some time exchanging ideas and opinions with Craig, you can understand why he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Guild of Book Workers in 2011.

Here Craig is featured in the Oxford American: SoLost video series filmed by photographer and videographer Dave Anderson.

Craig Jensen demonstrates rounding and backing, techniques used in hand bookbinding with Olivia Primanis at the Conservation Department book lab of the Ransom Center, University of Texas, in 2009.

Guess who I met immediately afterwards—next week!

Tu dois juste ouvrir ton esprit à la rencontre de nouvelles expériences !


Southwest School of Art, San Antonio

Opening one's self to different possibilities does help to open doors. After my visit with Mary Baughman from the Austin Book Arts Center, I received a few emails from interested parties. 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, San Fernando Cathedral, San Antonio, Texas

I responded to an email from Beck Whitehead, an advisory member of the Austin Book Arts Center to meet with her and Eleonore Lee, the Program Coordinator of the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas. 

On Monday the 27th of November, after an hour trip to San Antonio, I met with both Beck and Léo (as Eleonore likes to be called) at the Paper-making and Book Arts Lab. At the end of my visit, Léo invited me to come next year and work in the lab using my equipment. Space would be nice—an actual space or studio time!

The Southwest School of Art is known for its visual arts education. It offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, and studio art programs for adults, children, and teens. Graduates from the Southwest School of Art’s BFA degree program gain business, critical thinking, and studio skills necessary for careers as working artists and engaged citizens.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab, one of us Canadians has been there before! 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, printmaking lab, one of us Canadians has been there before! 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, paper-making lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, paper-making lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, paper-making lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, paper-making lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, paper-making lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, paper-making lab

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, papers made by students

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, papers made by students

Léo received her BFA from The School of Art Institute of Chicago and earned a MA and MFA degree in Printmaking from the University of Iowa. Her areas of specialization include printmaking, book arts (binding, typography, paper-making) and collaboration. Léo has exhibited, both nationally and internationally. Her work is included in numerous publications and permanent collections.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, Léo demonstrating one of the presses

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Southwest School of Art, Léo demonstrating one of the presses

Beck Whitehead received a BA from Trinity University and a MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She retired after 30 years of teaching at the Southwest School of Art. In addition, Beck taught workshops in paper-making around the US and Canada. She creates paper paintings and one-of-a-kind books.

© 2016 Marvin Pfeiffer, San Antonio Express-News, Beck Whitehead with “Column I,” “Column II,” and “Column III” in her exhibit titled “Beck Whitehead & Pulparazzi,” handmade paper and pulp painting

© 2016 Marvin Pfeiffer, San Antonio Express-News, Beck Whitehead with “Column I,” “Column II,” and “Column III” in her exhibit titled “Beck Whitehead & Pulparazzi,” handmade paper and pulp painting

Thank you, Beck and Léo for showing me around the labs. Another Texan welcome!


Texas, Y'all

We entered Texas on the 30th of October after some cold weather in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, arriving in Austin on Halloween night. We stayed with friends and schmooze-docked in their driveway while we oriented ourselves around Austin. 

After ten days we found a place to park our trailer at the Rio Guadalupe Resort, this was central to the locations we wanted to explore.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a family of deer around Canyon Lake, Texas, I became fond of seeing deer every day

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a family of deer around Canyon Lake, Texas, I became fond of seeing deer every day

During the last month and a half while in the Canyon Lake region, I reconnoitered my visits to different collections and book arts organizations. I received the full Texas welcome. 

To become a full Texan one has to master the “Y'all” term—not an easy feat for a French Canadian.

I started by searching online and found The Austin Book Arts Center. The East Austin Studio Tour weekend was taking place, which gave me the chance to meet members of the book arts community. 

My first contact with Mary Baughman, a member of the board of directors of the Austin Book Arts Center, was rewarding. At the end of my exploration of the Center, Mary emailed several people of my séjour in the region. Interest rose when the knowledge of a Canadian visitor was in their midst.

The Austin Book Arts Center offers workshops in book arts, letterpress printing, bookbinding, paper-making, typography, book history, and design. In addition, ABAC provides access to equipment for qualified users during scheduled Open Studio times.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Austin Book Arts Center, the available equipment includes a 32″ board shear, a paper guillotine, a Kwikprint, and various nipping presses, and sewing frames

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Austin Book Arts Center, the available equipment includes a 32″ board shear, a paper guillotine, a Kwikprint, and various nipping presses, and sewing frames

Through its activities, ABAC seeks to advance the book as a vital contemporary art form, preserve the traditional and robust crafts related to making books, promote the contemporary arts of making books, inspire diverse artists and learners, and engage the community in creative, interpretive, and educational experiences, including literacy for people of all ages.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Austin Book Arts Center, in the print-shop part of the center, you will find a No.4 Vandercook, a SP15 Vandercook, a Universal I Vandercook, an 8x12 Chandler and Price platen jobber, and several tabletop platen presses

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Austin Book Arts Center, in the print-shop part of the center, you will find a No.4 Vandercook, a SP15 Vandercook, a Universal I Vandercook, an 8x12 Chandler and Price platen jobber, and several tabletop platen presses

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Austin Book Arts Center

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Austin Book Arts Center

I took the time to look into the Flatbed Press and Gallery next door to the Austin Book Arts Center.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Alfonso Huerta, Painter and Printmaker, was giving a demonstration of his printmaking abilities.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Alfonso Huerta, Painter and Printmaker, was giving a demonstration of his printmaking abilities.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, the Flatbed Press and Gallery

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, the Flatbed Press and Gallery

I had a full month of meeting artists and library contacts, with more details coming in future posts. Fun and exciting days!!

Thanks Y’all !!