Ottawa, Ontario

My up-coming publication Surveillance underwent many design sessions before its creation. The theme being on surveillance, I wanted to produce an artists’ book that would involve the reader in an alternative way. 

First, the thought process of finding the correct binding to properly present my artists’ book. After an active year of collecting images that would bring home the fundamental idea behind the project, I was ready for its conception. I chose, collated, sized and ultimately transferred the images into a layout in Photoshop. This step is always painstaking, since the choices are endless but results matter to bring to fruition the imagined piece. Once the book has been thought out, the essential work of deciding on size of the book, its presentation, the layout, placement... Then the printing phase follows. 

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Printed pages for  Surveillance .

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Printed pages for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Folding the accordion pages of  Surveillance .

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Folding the accordion pages of Surveillance.

A double sided printing job is never easy, registration is a whole other world, as you know. One has to remember that paper sizes are never perfect. I have typically found that 8.5” means 8 3/8”. This naturally means that all images and text on the verso need to be moved to the right at least 1/8” or more depending on your printer. It takes a while, but once the images and text are ideally placed on the verso, the work is done! But don’t forget to check your registration marks for every sheet or page to be printed so not to waste ink and paper. 

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cutting boards for the binding of  Surveillance .

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cutting boards for the binding of Surveillance.

Once more, my creative thinking wants new experiences and working with a new binding. After deliberation my choice was the tunnel book binding. But, how will it work with the content and the electronics. How to bind with electronics? ...

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Figuring out the binding cut-outs to fit the electronics.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Figuring out the binding cut-outs to fit the electronics.

When in Austin, last Fall, I met with Natalie Freed and presented my idea and needs for Surveillance. Natalie was excited and open to all the requisites for the book, keeping in mind the possibilities and limitations of the materials involved. This was a great experience and Natalie was fantastic and knowledgable.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Natalie Freed’s sample of the possibilities of electronics in artists’ books.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Natalie Freed’s sample of the possibilities of electronics in artists’ books.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Solving other dilemmas to fit size of the fake  security camera as part of the binding.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Solving other dilemmas to fit size of the fake security camera as part of the binding.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Natalie Freed working on the electronics.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Natalie Freed working on the electronics.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Natalie Freed’s finished work for  Surveillance .

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Natalie Freed’s finished work for Surveillance.


Natalie Freed works at the intersection of education, hands-on making and technology. Natalie was incredibly excited about coming up with ways to teach challenging STEM concepts through expressive crafts, especially textiles and the book arts. Natalie graduated with an M.S. from the MIT Media Lab in 2012, received her B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science with a concentration in Arts, Media and Engineering from Arizona State University, in 2009/2010. Freed moved to San Francisco in 2012 for a fellowship in the New Media Studio at the San Francisco Exploratorium. Then joined Lick-Wilmerding High School’s Technical Arts program, where she started the new Computing track and taught computer science and digital fabrication.

At this pivotal point after months of travel and other activities between our meetings, Natalie and I dovetailed our separate deliverables and the book is ready to be assembled. Oh! Wait, it’s a tunnel book binding and I require seeing through the cover to the inside pages!

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Mock-up of cover cutting for  Surveillance .

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Mock-up of cover cutting for Surveillance.

By pushing the boundaries of my work and creating a tunnel book, I had to meticulously cut all the little windows in the cover page. Another process that would take an eternity. Unable to carefully cut to my OCD standards, I researched for a creative company or artist that could precisely cut the front page, which was my next step, since smaller laser cutters would tear into the fibrous paper. 

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Third mock-up of the cover and inside pages for  Surveillance .

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Third mock-up of the cover and inside pages for Surveillance.

I fortunately found Sarah Pike from FreeFall Laser, who works remotely with clients across the country on custom laser-cutting projects. Her approach combines artistic experimentation with technological experience to conceive exceptional work and always looks forward to becoming a part of the creative team. Collaborating with Sarah was another outstanding experience. Sarah uses a state-of-the-art CO2 laser cutter to precision cut and engrave wood, paper, acrylic, fabric, and much more, up to 1/4 inch thick, to convey one's unique vision into a reality. Sarah, used custom settings that optimized my selected substrate and helped develop the finished look for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah Pike’s laser cutting result after trial run.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah Pike’s laser cutting result after trial run.

After 2 weeks, the job was done, and it’s waiting for pickup. Traveling in Canada at the moment and shipping the pages back to me in Ottawa, Ontario, would be astronomical in cost. Therefore, a visit to Berkshires in Massachusetts in the Fall is in the works.

FreeFall Laser was born when Sarah Pike left the safety and security of a successful academic career and jumped off the proverbial cliff to start her own business. Sarah is a practicing artist with years of experience in bridging technology and the artistry of the hand.

I’m looking forward to finishing the first copy of Surveillance in its entirety and presenting it to Library Collections.

If you have projects you are having difficulties encompassing electronics and/or precision cutting situations, I suggest working with both Natalie Freed and Sarah Pike. For me it was a genuine pleasure!

© 2019 Dale Rogers. The hatching of small Hummingbirds in my friend Dale’s backyard, Avimor, Idaho.

© 2019 Dale Rogers. The hatching of small Hummingbirds in my friend Dale’s backyard, Avimor, Idaho.

Works In Progress

It has already been a month since my last blog post. Short but sweet, this period has given me time to progress with my artists’ book Surveillance, a tunnel book structure. I’m absolutely thrilled with the results and look forward to meeting with Natalie Freed in Austin in April for integrating the electronics part of the book. It did require some patience and time to get back into detail work for this publication and applying glue again! The month gave me pause for reflection and the time spent on the creation of new publications was fantastic. You know who you are when you are creating what you love. 

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Prints of the cover for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Prints of the cover for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Prints of the pages for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Prints of the pages for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Remembering registration on an Epson R3000.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Remembering registration on an Epson R3000.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Back page for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Back page for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cutting details for the cover for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cutting details for the cover for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Measuring for the accordion side for Surveillance.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Measuring for the accordion side for Surveillance.


Last January, in Florida, I meticulously planned a few studio and contact visits. When a problem with our travel trailer arose, another disappointment interrupted art. As plans changed, I could no longer meet with John Cutrone, at the Jaffe Center and a studio visit with Dorothy Krause had to be cancelled. I also proposed to meet Merike van Zanten during her residency at The Arthur & Mata Jaffe Center for Book Arts. With Le Château’s problem, this stopover was also annulled.

Back in September 2017, I wrote a post entitled Pennsylvania. This post featured artists’ books with the theme of war after touring Gettysburg. One of the artists’ book featured in this post was A Soldier of the Second World War by Merike van Zanten. So, knowing I would be in Florida, I arranged a get together. Unable to view Merike’s creative work in person, I thought you might join me and look at what Merike is accomplishing during her time at the JCBA’s as part of the Helen M. Salzberg Artist in Residence for the 2018/2019 academic year. 

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. John1, eco print on paper.

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. John1, eco print on paper.

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. Hibiscus and fern print on paper from Merike’s residency.

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. Hibiscus and fern print on paper from Merike’s residency.

Merike, a book artist, comes to the residency from the Netherlands, where she founded Double Dutch Design. Her artists' books focus on nature among other things and she incorporates found materials, utilizing a variety of techniques. Some of her books are quite sculptural. 

Merike’s proposed Salzberg Residency creative project begins with substantive research and experiments in eco printing, a technique of extracting color and images from plants and metals through steam, without the use of inks. She uses paper, fabric, and leather as substrates, and these experiments will be bound into an artists’ book unified by technique.

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. Gerbera Daisy, coptic bound notebook with eco printed leather cover from Merike’s residency,

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. Gerbera Daisy, coptic bound notebook with eco printed leather cover from Merike’s residency,

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. John8, eco print eucalyptus on silk.

© 2019 Merike van Zanten. John8, eco print eucalyptus on silk.

During the residency Merike also conducted a series of workshops on eco printing at The Jaffe Center, as well as at outside venues.

Merike van Zanten is getting lots of publicity for her residency. Here is a link to an article by Judith Klau, Reflections from the Jaffe Center: Wednesdays with Arthur #7 who explains Merike’s work in progress.

© 2019 Helen Edmunds. Merike at work at the Jaffe Center during her residency.

© 2019 Helen Edmunds. Merike at work at the Jaffe Center during her residency.

The South of Florida is one stop I wish I had not missed, but as Carre Otis said “Life inevitably throws us curve balls, unexpected circumstances that remind us to expect the unexpected”. 

Talk to you in May!