Abecedaries

It feels tremendous to be on the brink of creating an artists’ book. Hopefully, I will have time to start the design process before we embark on our next trek. My traveling studio leaves Salt Lake City to go Eastbound at the end of May. 

For the present, I’m looking forward to stand or sit; and think, plan, and print. How will it feel to handle tools again? Especially the glue!!! I may choose a non-glue method of binding.

Through my research, I discovered many published alphabet/ABC artists’ books in different binding formats depending on the meaning behind the work. Some of the types of bindings used for abecedaries are the flip book, cards, tunnel book, accordion, codex, panorama concertina... to name a few.

Karen Hanmer has used different bindings for her alphabet books. In The Spectrum A to Z the letters of the alphabet are colored to run through the spectrum and back within a tunnel book format.

© 2003 Karen Hanmer, The Spectrum A to Z, pigment inkjet prints, 5 x 5 x 18", edition of 20

© 2003 Karen Hanmer, The Spectrum A to Z, pigment inkjet prints, 5 x 5 x 18", edition of 20

Another alphabet book inspired by the U.S. Patriot Act is in an accordion style binding. Patriot Alphabet incorporates words or phrases taken from the vocabulary of terrorism, homeland security, and the Iraq war.

© 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

© 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

© 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

© 2004 Karen Hanmer, Patriot Alphabet, pigment inkjet prints, open 5.75 x 66 x 3.5", closed 5.75 x 4.5x.5"

Karen’s last alphabet book A2Z is in a flip book style. I had a chance to view A2Z personally at the University of Utah’s library while living in South Jordan.

© 2013 Karen Hanmer, inkjet prints, double-fan adhesive binding, 2 x 4.75 x 2”

© 2013 Karen Hanmer, inkjet prints, double-fan adhesive binding, 2 x 4.75 x 2”


Another artist’s work that delighted my eyes was Shu-Ju Wang. Her theme is Belly Dancers in a pull-out accordion structure.

Alphabet for a Belly Dancer captures the essence of belly dance through wordplay and a rhythmic pattern that mimics the dance itself.

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer, wrap-around cover in Japanese Masa Unwaxed and French handmade paper finished with hand-dyed rayon ribbon, coins, and beads, the protective envelope is made with a shimmering cover stock.

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer, wrap-around cover in Japanese Masa Unwaxed and French handmade paper finished with hand-dyed rayon ribbon, coins, and beads, the protective envelope is made with a shimmering cover stock.

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

© 2003, Shu-Ju Wang, Alphabet for a Belly Dancer

In Shu-Ju’s unique nonlatin character set Da(3)Pai(2), we find a full deck of 54 cards trace the evolution of 52 Chinese characters from their original pictographs to their contemporary forms. The heart and diamond suits illustrate the evolution of 26 radicals, and the spade and club suits show these radicals used in complex, combinatorial characters. Based on the book Chinese Calligraphy by Edoardo Fassioli and Guo Yu Ri Bao Zi Dian, a Chinese dictionary.

© 2003 Shu-Ju Wang, Da(3)Pai(2), wrap-around cover, cards in Evergreen Cover Aspen and Astroparche Antique Gold

© 2003 Shu-Ju Wang, Da(3)Pai(2), wrap-around cover, cards in Evergreen Cover Aspen and Astroparche Antique Gold

Many other artists have been inspired by the theme of consonances and vowels of our language and there’s too many to show in this post. Tune in next week for more fun abecedaries.

Walkies Anyone!

My studio is silent and empty. 

During these quiet times, art administration and searching the internet are my only diversion. I must admit, the record keeping in a database is boring!

So I brought my attention to artists who have created artwork with their muse in mind. In my bookmarked pages, I found two artists’ books that are worth mentioning. 

Andrew Huot who works under the imprint Big River Bindery published A Walk with Rosie. In his artists' book, Andrew uses simple graphics to bring us a daily routine with his canine companion. Genius! 

Andrew’s book chronicles two weeks of daily walks with his dog in his Philadelphia neighborhood, marking the routes and occurrences on the way. The city is reduced to a line, a shape, and color, and transparent papers reveal the echoes of yesterday and an allusion to tomorrow. A Walk with Rosie printed with relief blocks, pochoir, and handset type on sekishu paper is an edition of 20, bound in cloth and paper. 

Don’t you wish you would have thought of this one first? 

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie

© 2009 Andrew Huot, A Walk with Rosie


I also re-discovered Gaëlle Pelachaud’s book, New York. I remember searching a particular book structure back in 2013 when Gaëlle’s book surfaced on my screen. 

Gaëlle’s goal for this book was to photograph people walking with their dog. During a four-day journey in New York City, Gaëlle also observed the architecture. The cut-outs in each fold of the book represent the buildings in the environment.

For each of my books, I research the structure, the architecture of the page. For my work New York, the construction and the cuts are the connection to the images—the dog walkers. There is a formal game between image, form, and colour. My book gives rhythm to the theme of a visual walk. 
© 2012 Gaëlle Pelachaud, Éditions Rafaël Andréa, New York

© 2012 Gaëlle Pelachaud, Éditions Rafaël Andréa, New York

© 2012 Gaëlle Pelachaud, Éditions Rafaël Andréa, New York, livre animé sculpture de papier

© 2012 Gaëlle Pelachaud, Éditions Rafaël Andréa, New York, livre animé sculpture de papier

© 2012 Gaëlle Pelachaud, Éditions Rafaël Andréa, New York

© 2012 Gaëlle Pelachaud, Éditions Rafaël Andréa, New York

What have you created with your muse in mind?

Nostalgia

Spring makes me nostalgic, it’s a time to renew, a time to clear our spaces.

When I de-clutter my surroundings after the winter months my thoughts meander towards the past and its meaning.

I’ve been creating artists’ books since 1996. I was doing installations at the time and was not sure this was the direction I wanted to continue.

During the previous year my husband Michael Sutton published his own book Documents Management for the Enterprise, Principles, Techniques, and Applications, best-seller till the late 90’s. In the early part of that spring we travelled back to his hometown, and the trip brought many ideas and creativity. I shot lots of photographs of Michael contemplating his childhood. 

On our arrival back home, I read Michael’s book and appropriated groups of words or sentences from each chapter. These sentences taken out of context added a depth of emotions to the photographs I had taken. After months of talks on childhood and the past, I created my last installation on the theme of memories.

My installation was made of one book, a large book—My Memories of My Memories—a 22-inches by 30-inches closed artists’ book. The one-of-a-kind brings adults to perceive themselves as tiny in front of its size and resembles a family photo album. It needed to be big and awkward!  The array of personal family images helped trigger people’s memories of childhood with each turn of a page. 

Each page is a blend of my photographs, snapshots from a family album and a facsimile of the pages of Michael’s published monograph. Each chapter title of Michael’s book becomes each page of my book. The intermixed images simulate a bizarre sense of déja-vu.

This recollection brings me to re-introduce my artists’ book My Memories of My Memories. This is where my world of artists’ books began. I can’t remember the reason behind the long title!! But notice Michael’s book title!

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 3

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 3

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 4

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 4

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 5

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 5

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 9

© 1999 Louise Levergneux, My Memories of My Memories, Chapter 9

Later, I created a smaller version of My Memories Of My Memories in an edition of 10. This version is 4.5 by 3.125 inches. One copy remains in my collection copy 1/10. The smaller version brings a childhood memory of keeping small treasures in our pockets and keeping them for rainy days.

The Library & Archives Canada/Bibliothèque et Archives Canada in Gatineau, Québec purchased the large format one-of-a-kind in 2007. 


During this wistful affection for the past, I researched large format books and found the work of Christopher Kardambikis.

His 21-inches by 34-inches book Mundus Subterraneus, a hand-bound accordion extends to 28-feet unfolded. That’s BIG!

© 2012 Christopher Kardambikis, Mundus Subterraneus

© 2012 Christopher Kardambikis, Mundus Subterraneus

© 2012 Christopher Kardambikis, Mundus Subterraneus. Multiple digital print, silkscreen, india ink, and graphite on paper. Silkscreen on bookcloth.

© 2012 Christopher Kardambikis, Mundus Subterraneus. Multiple digital print, silkscreen, india ink, and graphite on paper. Silkscreen on bookcloth.

© 2012 Christopher Kardambikis, Mundus Subterraneus

© 2012 Christopher Kardambikis, Mundus Subterraneus

In the lineage of Kircher’s treatise, Mundus Subterraneus explores an absurd mythology for the future, pulling from the history of book production itself as well as science fiction, myth and cosmology. The work functions as an intimate atlas of artistic process. Reminiscent of Kircher’s play on the doubling of “mundus,” the visual information of Kardambikis’ book can be considered as both a series of two-page spreads or a 28-feet long image. In either case, one’s view is limited to a fragment or image of a larger schema. Like an atlas, an entire area is not viewed at once but rather is taken in as fractions of a whole. The book presents the viewer with sign systems of both the fantastic and the personal in an illustration that requires durational engagement. 

The book tackles the measuring of space and how we traverse place and was exhibited at the University of California in San Diego. Christopher set up a series of prints cut from paper and adhered to the wall of the gallery called Squaring a Circle - forming an image of the horizon as scene from the nearby desert. 

Mundus Subterraneus, the book, functioned like a cross section. If the earth formed a sphere that could be contained in the space of the gallery then the book was a core sample - a sliver of information down the centre of the sphere, flattened, condensed, and formed into an atlas. An atlas of the space, of the show, and of my practice all existing but never seen in its entirety all at once.

Such a wonderful book, I would have loved to see this exhibition in person. 


I love big books and the philosophy behind them. Remind me though never make a big one again!

Entrepreneur

The weeks are flying by and I’m still hard at work finishing my book Finding Home. A looming deadline is approaching and panic is at play. As I fold over the last page, I’m reminded of my artists’ book Entre deux. A project that includes Turkish map folds in an accordion book and a flip book. Entre deux is an interactive documentary inviting the viewer to partake in a simple meal with a couple while being privy to the couple’s conversation on love. 

I created Entre deux for the exhibition FEAST at 23 Sandy Gallery. I chose the accordion book and flip book format to give the viewer a sensory experience. By flipping the pages the viewer is part of the meal. While unfolding the Turkish map folds—breaking bread, the viewer takes part in the conversation.

 

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux

© 2013 Louise Levergneux, Entre deux


In my studio, I am the initiator of each project, I hold the post of artist, photographer, author, designer, binder, printer, publisher, webmaster and lets not forget blogger.

In college, I explored the business side of my chosen career but never thought of wearing so many hats! No clue, that was me in college!

Beginning to live in reality, entrepreneurship revealed itself. Entrepreneur in English is pronounced—ahn-truh-pruh-noor, in French—an-tre-pre-neûr, and in any language—doing business alone

 • Founder and administrator of my domain, I handle each and every activity. 

 • Contractor and labourer, I organise and manage my time. 

 • Even as executive in charge, a raise is unattainable. 

 • I love being im.pre.sa.ri.o; but often can’t finance my work. 

 • Being an accountant gives me prestige, but the money isn’t multiplying.

 My policy is to market, advertise and promote my work six months out of the year. Good luck with that! 

Why do it, it’s part of who I am? Without my art I am lost. So, I continue the roller coaster ride of being an artist—life filled with wonder at the next idea or creation.

My first grade teacher—an avid drawer, inspired our class by drawing a new image every week on the chalk board. Rachel Lemire noticed my talent for art. Who discovered yours, your first grade teacher or Ellen Degeneres?

How do you do it? I would be interested in knowing your recipe for a successful artist career.

Oh! the day is passing and I need to print more pages...