Hail Minnesota!

I was downtown Ottawa, to deliver my volumes of City Shields to the National Gallery of Canada this summer when I noticed a manhole cover with a toilet in its design on Sussex Drive.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, this photo is an Ottawa maintenance frame S25 and toilet logo cover S24

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, this photo is an Ottawa maintenance frame S25 and toilet logo cover S24

Ever wonder what or why sewer covers have certain designs like a toilet? I wonder as well! 

The city of Ottawa, Ontario, has several manhole covers with a fish design. Evan Thornton in his article The Sign Of The Fish: Ottawa Sewer Grates of December 2009 found that Ottawa, lets its residents figure out the significance of the decorated storm sewer drains for themselves.

I guess we will not easily have an answer to our question.


When one has access to the artist who designs the covers for a city, we can get an answer to the reason behind the designs?

Kate Burke designed manhole covers for the City of Minneapolis back in 1992. These manhole covers were part of 75 cast iron manhole covers created as one of seven other art projects for the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Kate explains the development of Hail Minnesota installed before computers and digital cameras!  

I worked with Craig Amundson from BRW Architects to evolve the ideas and designs.  As the first ones he chose not only had a natural theme but were, also, state symbols. I evolved further designs from there. I designed for the state bird, tree, flower, grain, etc. In the end I titled the project with the state motto, “Hail Minnesota”.
It took at least a month to create each hand cut pattern. I evolved a unique technique of layering chip board to create detail and to guarantee a flat surface for a safe footfall. There are eleven different designs with each pattern cast seven times.

The City of Minneapolis is redeveloping Nicollet Mall, the location of Kate Burke’s designed manhole covers. Architect James Corner hired for the redesign, is the architec who designed the High Line, a beloved project in NYC. To prepare for this complete redevelopment the city assessed and archived the eight artworks originally installed. The manhole covers rated well and people enjoy them. Their condition and maintenance care are easy.

To view these fantastic cover designs in person, one will have to wait for the covers to be removed from storage and reinstalled when the Mall is rededicated in the future. Millions of people pass over Nicollet Mall yearly, but ME, Louise, never knew of them when I visited Minneapolis, two years ago. It is worthwhile to call a city before visiting and asking questions on the project you might be doing.

Take a look at these stupéfiant (amazing) manhole covers!

© 2016 photos by Will Crain, graphics by Michelle Ward,  Hail Minnesota  design by Kate Burke—image 1 APPLES and detail; image 2 NORWAY PINE and detail; image 3 TIMBER WOLF and detail; image 4 LOON and detail

© 2016 photos by Will Crain, graphics by Michelle Ward, Hail Minnesota design by Kate Burke—image 1 APPLES and detail; image 2 NORWAY PINE and detail; image 3 TIMBER WOLF and detail; image 4 LOON and detail

© 2016 photos by Will Crain, graphics by Michelle Ward,  Hail Minnesota  design by Kate Burke—image 1 WILD RICE and detail; image 2 WHEAT and detail; image 3 CORN and detail; image 4 LADY SLIPPER and detail

© 2016 photos by Will Crain, graphics by Michelle Ward, Hail Minnesota design by Kate Burke—image 1 WILD RICE and detail; image 2 WHEAT and detail; image 3 CORN and detail; image 4 LADY SLIPPER and detail

© 2016 photos by Will Crain, graphics by Michelle Ward,  Hail Minnesota  design by Kate Burke—image 1 OATS and detail; image 2 WALLEYE and detail; 4 NORTHERN PIKE and detail

© 2016 photos by Will Crain, graphics by Michelle Ward, Hail Minnesota design by Kate Burke—image 1 OATS and detail; image 2 WALLEYE and detail; 4 NORTHERN PIKE and detail


Last April, I introduced large sized artists’ books, included in these posts was Alex Appella’s book, The János Book

This year, Alex had a lovely experience publishing her book as a Spanish independent trade edition in Argentina. The János Letter / Después la carta sells for the low price of $39.99. The János Book is available on Amazon, with good reviews. Enjoy a free PDF of this book!


Are you getting ready for Christmas? Are you looking for beautiful and unique decorative boxes to offer someone special? Look no further. My decorative boxes are a great gift for anyone who loves to store small items, special trinkets, keepsakes or jewelry.

For the purchase of my hand made boxes visit my website or email me directly.

Have a great week!

What I Missed This Christmas Season

I must say I did miss one thing this Christmas, lights, lights and lights! Being new to Boise and trying to catch up on work we did not have our traditional Christmas Eve lights drive. For 30 years on Christmas Eve, we drive around and see what the different neighbourhoods offer and of course finish the evening (when in Ottawa, Canada) with the Parliament Building Christmas light display.

From early December to early January, Ottawa sparkles and shines with thousands of lights

As a Canadian, -40° Celsius is not the weather one goes fiddling around trying to coordinate threads of lights–my opinion! Kudos to the obsessed out there, so I could enjoy your light-work!

I found this video to satisfy my craving for lights this Christmas. The season is over, but you can always enjoy lights! So have a look.

 

At the end of December, nature surprised Boise with a glorious snow fall that covered the landscape and turned everything to crystals. I took this opportunity to take many photos. Here is one of my favourites:

© 2015 Louise Levergneux, winter in Avimor, Idaho

© 2015 Louise Levergneux, winter in Avimor, Idaho

 

During the holiday season I always take the opportunity to get ahead with the administration part of running a studio. Oh! a little plug here–Outside the Studio is on sale till the end of January with a 15% discount on each book. 

Outside of the Studio was started when I felt I was spending too much time in my studio. I needed to get my mind off book production routines, and play a little.

I decided to make a flip book a week for the next year, after researching artists who created flip books as part of their practice. I was confident that the strict time limit and rapid pace would free up my creativity. 

I needed a theme to organize the series around, I soon identified a concept, the Four Classical Elements: Fire, Air, Earth and Water. The Fire element would be represented by light; Air, by wind; Earth by people, animals or insects; and Water, by it’s own differing states of liquid, vapor and solid. The Outside The Studio Series was launched! 

The whole series of flip books can be seen at: http://www.louiselevergneux.com/#/out-of-the-studio/

Here is the flip book produced on week 48:

© 2015 Louise Levergneux, EARTH.19, flip book produced during week 48, it is part of the earth element

The whirlwind of the holidays has finally passed. Now I can continue with my new artists’ books and decorative boxes.

I started the year without my D-SLR, I had to leave it at the shop during the holidays. Hope it is surviving this surgery!!

My camera died as I was trying to photograph my new artists’ books and finish two “Call to Artists” applications. Great timing! Without a camera, it’s like going through withdrawals...

Below is a sample of my new decorative boxes, more photos will be on my website as soon as my camera is back in my hands.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, Decorative Box

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, Decorative Box

I need to get back to work–withdrawals and all. I will share later.