23 Sandy Gallery

In my last blog post, I commented on the subject of responsible galleries. I communicated with Laura Russell from 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, a fantastic place to do business. A gallery and owner that respect the work and the artist.

Here are Laura’s responses from our exchange on the subject of damaged or stolen work, which continues to extend my last two posts “Amoché” and “The 6 Foot Drop”.


Louise — Have you ever had an artists' book damaged or stolen while on display in an exhibition (as an artist yourself or as the owner of the gallery)? 

Laura — Sadly, yes. But, in 10 years only twice, which I think is a pretty good record! One book was stolen during an off-site letterpress printers fair here in Portland. Luckily that one came back a few weeks later in an unmarked package with a very apologetic note. That book is now a favorite in my personal collection as I had already paid the artist for it by the time it arrived back home. Another book was dropped and had a corner of its wooden box broken. Luckily, the customer loved the book and was happy to buy it, anyway. 


Louise — Lessons learned through the years have jaded me from exhibiting my artists’ books. One never knows what happens on the premises of a gallery. Can you explain the secret life of a book during the month-long display on the premises at 23 Sandy Gallery?

Laura — All books are treated as fine art, not just books. Every customer who visits the gallery gets a friendly lecture about how to handle books and is asked to clean their hands if they want to handle the books. Not every book can be handled by the general public. If the book is delicate or expensive, we post a “Do Not Touch” sign on the book but are happy to show off the book ourselves if anyone is interested in viewing.
© 2017 Laura Russell, 23 Sandy Gallery

© 2017 Laura Russell, 23 Sandy Gallery

Louise — What is the unpacking/re-packing policy for books at 23 Sandy Gallery?

Laura — All books are inspected for any shipping damage, or existing flaws, or other concerns upon unpacking. Any problems are documented, with photos, and a note is immediately sent to the artist to document condition upon arrival. Upon re-packing, all books are again inspected to make sure no damage was incurred during the exhibition. We keep extensive notes about the condition for documentation purposes. If there is damage, the gallery would automatically pay the artist for the book.


Louise — Are the descriptive directions for unpacking and re-packing artwork for shipping, if any included in the box, read by staff.

Laura — Yes. Always, of course.


Louise — What’s the gallery’s work ethic for tracking the original packaging for the return of books?

Laura — The gallery does not have time to track every single package that ships out of here. We ship many, many packages every week. We recommend artists activate “shipping notifications” with their respective shipping company to get automatic email notification of shipment, delivery exceptions, and delivery.
© 2017 Laura Russell, 23 Sandy Gallery

© 2017 Laura Russell, 23 Sandy Gallery


Louise — Do the gallery/staff have best practices for the proper care and handling of books?

Laura — Yes. Full training is provided to every gallery staff or volunteer on proper book handling.


Louise — Does the 23 Sandy Gallery carry insurance for work while in their possession, i.e., is the gallery responsible for the artwork on display? How does 23 Sandy Gallery approach reimbursing artists for a damaged piece?

Laura — All books while in 23 Sandy’s possession are indeed insured. In the case of damage, our insurance policy would reimburse the artist for the “wholesale” cost of the book, which is the amount the artist would have received if the book had sold, which is 60% of the retail value.


Louise — What does the 23 Sandy Gallery think of “foreign” stickers adhered to books for any reason, i.e., inventory numbers or tracking numbers? 

Laura — We would never attach any sticker to any book for any reason. 
© 2017 Laura Russell, 23 Sandy Gallery

© 2017 Laura Russell, 23 Sandy Gallery

Louise — Are there any security measures (vitrines, staffing, location, etc.) on the premises for artists who prefer their work to be under glass?

Laura — We have a glass bookcase for any books that the artist requests not be handled. Or, we use a “Do Not Touch” sign as noted above.


Louise — How does the gallery deal with maintaining proper environmental conditions for books while on display?

Laura — Gallery conditions are not controlled in the same way museums control environmental conditions. Not possible in a retail storefront environment.


As with most of us, change is in the air and if you read the last newsletter of 23 Sandy Gallery you know that Laura has made a big decision. Laura is closing the operation side of the gallery and taking a year sabbatical from exhibitions. She is looking forward to finding studio time for her own books.

I wish Laura good times in her studio at Simply Books. I will miss the opportunities of showing my artists' books at 23 Sandy Gallery, especially working directly with Laura.

Many thanks, Laura and enjoy your new world!

The Hunt for Manhole Covers

WOW! another week flew by, a repetitive occurrence nowadays. The hours come and go without warning. Busy is good; but life is fleeting. Did you carry out what you intended to do this week?

I went hunting for more manhole covers in the town of Emmett, northwest of Boise on Wednesday. A quaint region at an elevation of 2,362 feet (720 m) above sea level and below Freezeout Hill—a steep terrain overlooking Emmett. Following the winding road constructed in 1919, we noticed a welcome sign to Gem County. The only gems we saw were dark red, soft and round, juicy and sweet. Cherry Festival! 

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, descending Freezeout Hill

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, descending Freezeout Hill

We drove around the streets till we came upon a manhole cover that might be the oldest manhole cover in Emmett. Most are run-of-the-mill, I call them ersatz. The hunt is part of the experience and we had a lovely afternoon. 

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole cover at N McKinley Ave & E Main St, Emmett

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole cover at N McKinley Ave & E Main St, Emmett

On our way back home passing trough Meridian, we found two manhole covers with stunning designs.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole covers designed for The Village Mall in Meridian

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole covers designed for The Village Mall in Meridian

Friends viewing the volumes of City Shields often ask questions about the designs of the manhole covers and the reason for so many? Where or how I find the covers?  A manhole is used for many types of utilities: cable, sewer, telephone, sanitation...  So each design of the covers differentiates the use of the manhole. I find the covers wherever my life brings me. They are part of the city I live in or visit; and I’m obsessed with finding the most striking designs. I’m interested in bringing these entryways to the world beneath our feet to the forefront of city dwellers as art. At this point as an artist, I am more interested in the visual designs of the covers.

I had to stop my printing process till the delivery of more ink cartridges. Two printers are expensive to keep. Now, I buy separate ink cartridges when needed. My delivery arrived today, now I have no excuses. 

Except, I’m entertaining another excuse, I would like to photograph and document my book Finding Home in ample detail. Finding Home is part of the Wanderlust exhibition at 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland. Laura Russell, the owner, sold two copies last week. What wonderful news!

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, artists' book Finding Home

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, artists' book Finding Home

I took numerous photographs before mailing my last copy to 23 Sandy Gallery. The number of an edition is tricky. Will every copy sell or will my closet of inventory get bigger? I remember contemplating on the question and thought I may need to create one-of-a-kind books soon if my studio gets smaller and smaller. Well, I was wrong and should have made a bigger edition according to Laura.

It’s a crap·shoot!! Publishing and editions are an uncertain matter.

Download, copy, Photoshop, prepare, templates, print—it’s all waiting for me to publish more volumes.

Prints, Prints and Printing, Part 2

Last week, I met two eclectic artists—best evening in a long time. It was a stimulating conversation on printing, the process, the frustrations and the wonderful results. 

Our talk continued as we discussed my last blog post Prints, Prints and Printing. It gave us food for thought on how we label our own final products as artists and photographers. 

This week, part 2 of my post on printing, I’m showcasing prints by artists/photographers who use different printing methods.

Let’s start with a Pigment Inkjet Print of my new artist book Conversation printed on an Epson Stylus Photo R3000. Conversation is a limited edition of 3.

© 2014 Louise Levergneux,  photo detail of artists' book  Conversation

© 2014 Louise Levergneux,  photo detail of artists' book Conversation

I met Betty Mallorca and Lawrence Manning at a Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance exhibition. Both are photographers and founders of Hill Street Studios and TRACK 13 in Nampa, Idaho. Betty and Lawrence have many years of experience in commercial and professional photography, art direction and graphic design. They are contributors and part-owners of Blend Images, a multicultural commercial stock agency. 

Betty printed her limited editions on an Epson 3800. Almost Home (copy 1 of 10) and Ghostly Passage (copy 1 of 10) both are mixed media—Giclée and colored pencil prints.

© 2016 Betty Mallorca,  Almost Home

© 2016 Betty Mallorca, Almost Home

© 2016 Betty Mallorca,  Ghostly Passage

© 2016 Betty Mallorca, Ghostly Passage

Lawrence printed his photos on an Epson 3880. 5885 Rodeo study #2 and 5655 Depot Study Two are Digital Pigment Prints.

© 2016 Lawrence Manning,  5885 Rodeo study #2

© 2016 Lawrence Manning, 5885 Rodeo study #2

© 2016 Lawrence Manning,  5655 Depot Study Two

© 2016 Lawrence Manning, 5655 Depot Study Two

I met Diane Ronayne when I emailed my move to Boise on the Book Arts listserv. Diane is a freelance editor for books and manuscripts and writer for magazines and newspapers; but her passion is photography.

Diane's Archival Color Print Angry Rabbit was printed on an Noritsu wet-lab printer, model OSS-3411.

© 2015 Diane Ronayne,  Angry Rabbit

© 2015 Diane Ronayne, Angry Rabbit

In 2010, after my move to Utah, I communicated with Laura Russell owner of 23 Sandy Gallery in Portland, Oregon. Laura is a photographer and book artist who creates hand-bound, limited-edition artist books. Her books incorporate photographs of urban landscape and tell a story about our culture and our communities. Laura works under the imprint Simply Books, Ltd.

Laura's flag book Hit the Road! was printed on an Epson R2400. The flags/pages of this limited edition artists' book are Archival Digital Inkjet Prints. Hit the Road! is volume one in a series featuring Washington, Oregon and California. The artist spent close to three years traveling Highway 99 to photograph and catalog roadside attractions.

© 2011 Laura Russell,  Hit the Road!

© 2011 Laura Russell, Hit the Road!

© 2011 Laura Russell,  Hit the Road!  detail

© 2011 Laura Russell, Hit the Road! detail

Ellen Crosby a member of the Treasure Valley Artists’ Alliance was introduced to me by Diane Ronayne. Ellen is a dedicated landscape photographer, proven by her 150 sunsets chronologically recorded during 2012.

Ellen worked with fellow photographer Ann Lindell to create this appropriated and altered Inkjet Aqueous Archival Pigment Print Ann's Cat Photo for her series Teeny Abstracts.

2015  Ann Lindell/Ellen Crosby,  Ann's Cat Photo

2015  Ann Lindell/Ellen Crosby, Ann's Cat Photo

Vera Greenwood’s contemporary art practice is subjectively personal, placing emphasis on story telling, record keeping, social studies and a conceptual approach to representing the everyday. Her installations have always incorporated text—bookworks became a logical extension of her art practice. Oh! by the way Vera is a dear friend and our conversation on art is always stimulating.

Vera's photographs of sheets of blotting paper with fragments of leaves and/or petals are Giclée Prints. The Flower Press project was printed on an Epson 9900.

© 2013 Vera Greenwood, Flower Press 1

© 2013 Vera Greenwood, Flower Press 1

© 2013 Vera Greenwood, Flower Press 2

© 2013 Vera Greenwood, Flower Press 2

© 2013 Vera Greenwood, Flower Press 3

© 2013 Vera Greenwood, Flower Press 3

Going beyond the codex format for my artists' books, I wanted to create other book structures. I met Karen Hanmer through her article and great tutorial on the flag book structure in The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist. Karen’s artist-made books are physical manifestations of personal essays intertwining history, culture, politics, science and technology. What attracted me to Karen’s work is the often playful content she uses.

Karen printed Big Blue with an HP LaserJet 1320. The edition of 100 computer punch cards are Laser Prints on polyester film.

© 2006 Karen Hanmer,  Big Blue

© 2006 Karen Hanmer, Big Blue

To Serve and Protect: Containers, conveyances, and cosmic happenings was printed with an Epson Stylus Pro 4000. The artists' book has 32 Pigment Inkjet Prints/pages. In this artists' book the artist’s muses on life in the 1960s and 1970s.

© 2014 Karen Hanmer,  To Serve and Protect , page spread of Mood Ring

© 2014 Karen Hanmer, To Serve and Protect, page spread of Mood Ring

In 2012, at the Guild of Book Workers’ Standards of Excellence conference in Utah, I met Andrew Huot. The more Andrew described his books the more I was intrigued. Andrew, a bookbinder, conservator, and book artist originally from Toronto, Canada, is owner of Big River Bindery. Andrew looks at everyday situations and enjoys observing the world's small, passed-over details.

Andrew's artists' book Navigation is Letterpress printed on colored paper with hand-cut holes, bound in cloth-covered boards. Navigation, a carousel book that spans over 8 feet when opened guides the artist’s family to their next destination.

© 2009 Andrew Huot,  Navigation

© 2009 Andrew Huot, Navigation

A Guide to Dogs is also Letterpress Printed with handset type, linoleum cuts, and photopolymer plates. This humorous guidebook helps to identify Man's Best Friend with silhouette drawings and vital information for each breed.

© 2008 Andrew Huot,  A Guide to Dogs

© 2008 Andrew Huot, A Guide to Dogs

© 2008 Andrew Huot,  A Guide to Dogs

© 2008 Andrew Huot, A Guide to Dogs

A studio is more than four walls filled with equipment and tools. An artist needs creativity, ideas, time, research and contacts to achieve a piece of work. Communication and sharing brings a different facet to an artist’s world. I’m always grateful for any discussion on art or someone’s opinion or critique. My work thrives when these elements are part of my world.

Thanks to everyone who shared their work this week!

It is late... going back for more ideas!