Québec, Canada

We crossed the border on July 26th, after a month of traveling from Boise, Idaho to Gatineau, Québec. I’ve been back home for a while but a little behind in writing my posts. Have you noticed?

Before we left Boise, we researched to the best way to stay connected while on the road. Our inquisition to Verizon staff seemed endless. It was a full-time job trying to choose the proper company and plan to continue working as we traveled. Verizon made many promises of “hotspots” and “unlimited use” but fell short as usual in defining their terms and happy to take our money. The reason for my late blog posts is the difficulties with getting secure access to the internet with our “hotspots/phones” not working in Canada. 

While I was “home,” I spent a week visiting and walking the streets of Montréal.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Old Montréal

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Old Montréal

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Old Montréal

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Old Montréal

With the forever days of rain in Ontario and Québec, many creatures were visible, like snails in the hundreds.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux

© 2017 Louise Levergneux

I communicated with artists of the area and planned on studio visits. My first visit was to the atelier of Guy Laramée. I spent a great afternoon in his studio seeing and talking about his work. Guy was welcoming and open about his art and techniques. 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a wonderful piece in the front room of Guy's atelier

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a wonderful piece in the front room of Guy's atelier

Guy, like Helen Hiebert, divided his atelier into two parts. As you walk in, the front room is where he paints romantic landscapes. 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guy's atelier, the clean room with on going paintings

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guy's atelier, the clean room with on going paintings

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guy's work table

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guy's work table

The back section is where he carves wonderful landscapes out of books. 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, books waiting for an inspiration

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, books waiting for an inspiration

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, books for a project

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, books for a project

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guy was in the mist of a new sculpture, here we see the clay model

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guy was in the mist of a new sculpture, here we see the clay model

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, the book sculpture being worked on with different tools

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, the book sculpture being worked on with different tools

My work is about making us feel more alive. It is about losing yourself in the landscape and paradoxically, finding out you are the source of it all.
The erosion of cultures—and of “culture” as a whole—is the theme that runs through the last 25 years of my artistic practice. Cultures emerge, become obsolete, and are replaced by new ones. With the vanishing of cultures, some people are displaced and destroyed. We are currently told that the paper book is bound to die. The library, as a place, is finished. One might ask so what? Do we really believe that “new technologies” will change anything concerning our existential dilemma, our human condition? And even if we could change the content of all the books on earth, would this change anything in relation to the domination of analytical knowledge over intuitive knowledge? What is it in ourselves that insists on grabbing, on casting the flow of experience into concepts?
© 2014 Guy Laramée, Dragon Over the Clouds, Webster dictionary, inks, pigments, Plexiglass, wood, LEDs; 18 x 21 x 16 (H) inches (47.7 x 53.3 x 40.6 cm)

© 2014 Guy Laramée, Dragon Over the Clouds, Webster dictionary, inks, pigments, Plexiglass, wood, LEDs; 18 x 21 x 16 (H) inches (47.7 x 53.3 x 40.6 cm)

© 2010 Guy Laramie, Le Grand Larousse

© 2010 Guy Laramie, Le Grand Larousse

What a fantastic afternoon experiencing these sculptures!

Colorado

This week, I’m taking you back to where we began our trip.

The first artist studio visit planned was Helen Hiebert in Colorado. After reaching Eagle-Vail, Colorado, we had issues with trailer brakes. We had to postpone our visit to Helen's Red Cliff Studio since it is high in the Rockies and one needs working brakes for that kind of terrain.

After a phone call to Helen, we all decided that it was best to take care of the situation and meet later on in the year. Helen was nice enough to let me into her studio via photos. Here is what I missed!

Helen is In the photo below, we see Helen in the—what she calls messy and full—dry area of her studio. Karen Kunc visited Helen’s studio to discuss and contemplate the book project in progress they were collaborating on.

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, the studio

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, the studio

One of my favourite artists’ books of Helen's is Pop-Up Hand Shadow Book published in 2012, as an edition of 50. This book features four illustrated animal hand shadows in a theatrical book structure. The animals are brought to life by the viewer playing with a mini flashlight (packaged with the book), casting shadows onto panels behind the pop-ups in the book. A verse about each animal, by poet Nora Robertson, appears on each page.

Every September, (the weekend after Labor Day), Helen hosts a retreat in her studio. Last year’s group, poses at the entrance to Helen’s studio, which is in the old Red Cliff School House. The theme for the 2017 retreat is Sculptural Books. The focus will be on creating pages, panels, and unusual book structures before, during, and after making paper.

© 2016 Helen Hiebert

© 2016 Helen Hiebert

© 2016 Helen Hiebert, a group photo from last year’s retreat watching Helen give a papermaking demo.

© 2016 Helen Hiebert, a group photo from last year’s retreat watching Helen give a papermaking demo.

Helen also has a papermaking area in her studio where she creates her own paper.

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, a drying system is on the left and a press is in the back.

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, a drying system is on the left and a press is in the back.

Helen teaches a fair amount. Here we can view Helen’s set-up for filming her next online class—Paper Lanterns. For anyone interested in this online class registration details will be on Helen’s site by August 1, 2017.

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, filming set-up

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, filming set-up

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, this pamphlet shows different parts of Helen’s business. 

© 2017 Helen Hiebert, this pamphlet shows different parts of Helen’s business. 

Interested in pop-ups? Read Helen’s book Playing With Pop-Ups and enjoy creating 20 projects to play with ranging from cards and books to buildings, graphic design pieces, and more.

Playing With Pop-Ups features a high-end gallery of artists, whose beautiful work will inspire you to make your own amazing paper art.

Having a peak in Helen’s studio was fun even in a virtual manner. 

Let’s see who else I can visit.

Explosion Box

My blog is fulfilling its goal, I’m meeting and talking, or should I say emailing artists more than ever. 

I love to communicate with other artists I enjoy the interaction—the main reason for my blog. What a great day when emails are filled with wonderful images and accompanied information. It’s like Christmas!

Lots of work goes into blogging, and it takes time away from my most important priority creating artists’ books and taking photographs. Posts demand planning and communicating in an efficient manner. I am very grateful for those of you who responded on such short time frames.

Talking about lots of work, let's congratulate Helen Hiebert on her 100th blog post last Sunday! 

My blog is receiving more and more subscribers thank you for the support. I’m giving away a volume of the original 7 volumes of my series City Shields to the first brave subscriber to my posts and to every 15th subscriber on the list. I appreciate the compliments on my book box Finding Home. We are never alone in our experiences, I’m pleased my book conveyed a sense of place.


With the sun out and the forsythias loosing their blooms we know it is SPRING! So with camera in hand I photographed the first flowers that made me smile!

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux


Back to business and the explosion box/book box. I like the last term! Susan Bonthron created a double explosion box (box within a box) based on the Chinese sewing box. Wonderful!

© Susan Bonthron

© Susan Bonthron

© Susan Bonthron

© Susan Bonthron

Another book box creation of Susan’s is entitled Almost There and was part of the Philadelphia Atheneum exhibition From Seneca Falls to Philadelphia: Women of the Centennial.

Susan emailed the colophon printed on the inside of the lid of Almost There. A great insight into the work:

« The story of how the idea came to me is interesting. I looked at the call for entries for the Atheneum show, and thought, "No, I'm not going to enter that; it's political and not up my alley." But one night I saw the book in a dream--the scroll encased in a "jail" box, with windows made of upside-down American flags, the women visible on the outside of the scroll appearing to be "captured" in jail (Susan B. Anthony was jailed for attempting to vote), and the inside of the scroll printed with the Declaration of the Rights of the women of the United States (presented by the National Woman Suffrage Association on July 4th, 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial). The call for entries required a design for a book to be made specifically for the show. I drew my dream book and sent it in, and it was accepted. Then I had to figure out how to make the book! Fortunately my husband, Gilbert Ruff, is a cabinet maker, and he constructed the wooden scroll and its plinth. I made my first "exploding box with windows" for the case, printing the American flags on acetate and gluing them between the double frames of the windows. Quite a job! I created the scroll itself by researching the suffragists and finding images of them from which I drew and created silhouettes. Not all the important women fit onto the scroll, so I also included a list of the ones whom I could not create images for. On the back of the scroll I printed a reduced copy of the entire Declaration of the Rights for Women »—Susan Bonthron

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There

© 2013 Susan Bonthron, Almost There


Book Artist Kerry McAleer-Keeler also creates book boxes. I enjoyed viewing Boxed Spirits: Franny, Zooey, and Everyman a box structure inspired from the J.D. Salinger novel Franny and Zooey and the allegorical tale of the Everyman.

Inside the box structure one finds photographic transfers amongst a monotype printed background. The transfers represent the two main characters as children to their adulthood. Kerry used period family photographs as source material for the images. The main box also houses 3 smaller cubes that are containers for horse hair spheres that reflect the spirits of Franny, Zooey, and all of us. The piece exemplifies the spiritual search for Franny in the novel and for all of us in real life.   

© 1999 Kerry McAleer-Keeler, Boxed Spirits: Franny, Zooey, and Everyman, part of the rare book collection at the Gelman Library, George Washington University in Washington DC

© 1999 Kerry McAleer-Keeler, Boxed Spirits: Franny, Zooey, and Everyman, part of the rare book collection at the Gelman Library, George Washington University in Washington DC


How do you express yourself and your ideas?

Bah! Grumble! Grumble! Got to take care of a printer misfeed. I’m printing business cards, another hat I’m wearing today, so have fun creating.