Montréal, Québec

While in Canada for the month of August, I planned a trip to the Eastern Townships in Québec. This was naturally a delightful week of visiting longtime friends and talented artists. 

© 2019 Louise Levergneux.  Conteurs d’eau  exhibition by François Chamberland at Galerie Art Plus in Sutton, Québec.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Conteurs d’eau exhibition by François Chamberland at Galerie Art Plus in Sutton, Québec.

I could not pass through Montréal, on my way back to Ottawa, without a stop to visit Guylaine Couture and an introduction to a fantastic book binder, Cécile Côté. 

What a lovely day of touring Cécile’s independent studio. Cécile recently moved her studio in her home on the Island of Montréal. Her new studio space consist of three substantial rooms full of equipment and tools for producing her exquisite work. The congenial atmosphere is one of a dedicated artist to her outstanding craftsmanship.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Details of Cécile Côté’s studio in Montréal.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Details of Cécile Côté’s studio in Montréal.

As I entered her home, the aroma of freshly baked quiche was in the air. Guylaine Couture dropped by to spend time sharing ideas and recent work with me and Cécile. The three of us conversed about artists’ books and binding as we enjoyed « nous avons dégusté » a marvelous quiche, corn on the cob and a salad prepared by Cécile.

Guylaine Couture has been producing artist's book for several years. This artistic form allows her to create works in which the content and structure merge to make the message more powerful.

After years of creating drawings, gouache and collages, a short binding workshop positioned her on the trail of artist's book. The latter has become her main discipline although Guylaine continues to generate works on paper.

Guylaine is obsessed with reusing printed documents. Her work attempts to divert this abundant material too easily discarded. The artist reflects at length on the visitor's reaction to the book and develops her work so that emotions are present at first sight. For Guylaine, the "reader" must live an experience.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture’s new artists’ books in the form of Zines.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture’s new artists’ books in the form of Zines.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture in Cécile’s Studio.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture in Cécile’s Studio.

Cécile Côté works diligently under the imprint Relieur at Atelier de reliure Cécile Côté. As a binder Cécile includes: binding of art, accordion albums, notepads, greeting cards, and ex-libris in her production.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile demonstrates her taste for colour and design in the staircase leading to the garage, another filled studio space.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile demonstrates her taste for colour and design in the staircase leading to the garage, another filled studio space.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile’s studio situated in the garage of her home. This space is for types and heavy equipment.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile’s studio situated in the garage of her home. This space is for types and heavy equipment.

It's Cécile’s passion to design and manufacture unique art bindings whose execution follows the language of the words they carry. In love with typography, the artist allows words to guide her choice of materials, styles, textures, and sensations to be created. "Meaning and matter, tradition and modernity, merge into an original expression where the sight, the touch, the sense of smell and the meaning of words converge."

On her blog, Cécile shows us her craft as she gives life to a damaged bible.

© 2010 Cécile Côté. One of the great pleasures of book repair is that there is a "before" and an "after". And these phases are even more remarkable when the book is significantly damaged. /  « Un des grands plaisirs de la réparation de livres, c'est qu'il y a un "avant" et il y a un "après." Et c'est d'autant plus remarquable quand le livre est très abimé. »

© 2010 Cécile Côté. One of the great pleasures of book repair is that there is a "before" and an "after". And these phases are even more remarkable when the book is significantly damaged. / « Un des grands plaisirs de la réparation de livres, c'est qu'il y a un "avant" et il y a un "après." Et c'est d'autant plus remarquable quand le livre est très abimé. »

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile reading the poem from her book     T for Trouchie   , full goatskin leather binding with doublures of the same leather and suede flyleaves. Decorated inlay. Original text is letterpress printed from polymer plates by binder. /   T for Trouchie   , reliure plein chevre avec garde bord à bord du même cuir et gardes volantes en daim. Textes originaux imprimés sur papier BFK Rives et papier japon Iwami sur une presse manuelle avec plaques en polymère.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile reading the poem from her book T for Trouchie , full goatskin leather binding with doublures of the same leather and suede flyleaves. Decorated inlay. Original text is letterpress printed from polymer plates by binder. / T for Trouchie, reliure plein chevre avec garde bord à bord du même cuir et gardes volantes en daim. Textes originaux imprimés sur papier BFK Rives et papier japon Iwami sur une presse manuelle avec plaques en polymère.

© 2011 Cécile Côté.  T for Trouchie  by Cécile Côté.

© 2011 Cécile Côté. T for Trouchie by Cécile Côté.

After a pleasant inspiring afternoon, I was invited to rejoin them next year for a week filled with ideas and tips on artists’ books and binding. What a treat, looking forward to absorb knowledge from these wonderful women artists.