Congratulations!

This week, I’m sending my congratulations to Cathryn Miller and Thomas Parker Williams for their participation in the Pop-Up Now II exhibition on view through December 17 at 23 Sandy Gallery. 

Pop-Up Now II, is a juried exhibition of pop-up and movable artists’ books that pop-up, move, slide, twirl, whirl, and even light up.

Cathryn submitted her book entitled I Love My Love. The book is just beautiful!!

© 2016 Cathry Miller

© 2016 Cathry Miller

Thomas, surprises us all with a fantastic sculpture in paper and steel, entitled Spiral Dome. This is worth a closer view online.

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams


It’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole when researching “stuff” on the internet! Obsessed with the Incessant Journey lately—for the last 16 years. I found articles on the web that conveyed information on the manhole cover I thought would be of interest to those of you whom have never looked down to the streets.

A fun article by Andrew Emond who has explored the underground systems of Montréal and Toronto, Canada. Andrew put together a guide for the most common manhole covers in Montréal in his article "Everything You Probably Never Cared To Know About Manhole Covers."

Another article that caught my eye was by Andrew Guilbert entitled “The Art of Calgary's Manholes.”  Andrew gives us a glimpse of history, new manhole covers and call to artists. Calgary's manhole covers are some of the most prevalent artworks in the city, says Andrew.

Abraham Piper’s article “Misplaced manhole covers to drive you crazy”, might be disturbing for all obsessive compulsive driven people. The photos were a good laugh for me, I often wonder—”Why, two more minutes!” It only takes two more minutes to reposition the manhole covers properly. Do these photographs force you to cringe?


Now, I’m pump-up to create eight new volumes of manhole covers I photographed on my trip across Canada...

Discovering!

I’m in a conundrum these days! Do I continue my art work or prepare the next 10 years of my life. In, the meantime, my project The incessant Journey is as you have noticed taken over my life. Just like an obsession that won’t let go. Manhole covers are up and down and all around me. 

I’m discovering more and more artists who create using manhole covers as their muse. I received an email from Will Karp who occupies most of his time photographing and creating art with photographs of manhole covers.

Similar to my preocupation, Will has collected hundreds of images of manhole covers on his travels from the American Southwest to the Middle East. 

Awarded first prize at the Santa Fe Arts Commission in 2011, his composition of "Manhole Covers of Santa Fe” heightened his passion for manhole cover art.

I continue to wonder who’s behind the designs of manhole covers with intricate three dimensional motifs comprising of grids, concentric arcs and circles, cross hatching, insignias, and other geometric shapes. The multitude and variety of designs produced is staggering. Not only do the covers themselves offer an eyeful, but the colors and textures of the surrounding pavement whether pebbles, bricks, cobblestones, grass, dirt or asphalt, create a unique canvas for each cover.

Different mediums including book arts, printmaking, magnets, posters, and large installations are used in Will’s work. His latest creation is a book entitled Manhole Mania, A Tribute To Ground Art

Will, hopes that each set of pages that unfolds reveal a refreshing way to appreciate and see the artfulness of utility covers that are right under our feet for us to enjoy, if only we knew it.

© 2016 Will Karp, compositions using 16 photos of New Mexico

© 2016 Will Karp, compositions using 16 photos of New Mexico


Searching through the internet for others with a penchant towards the ground, I have found other artists who design intricate manhole covers for their cities.

Nancy Blum designed the City Light, City Bright manhole cover in 2001, in which the flowers represent the city and the electric pattern in the background represent the utility side of manhole covers.

© 2016 Nancy Blum, City Light, City Bright

© 2016 Nancy Blum, City Light, City Bright


In 1990 The City of Minneapolis reached out in the artist community to create artwork for Nicollet Mall in Downtown Minneapolis. 

Kate Burke commissioned by the city to create manhole covers designs to replace the covers over 13 city blocks around the Nicollet Mall. There are 11 different designs which commemorate the state designations and other icons of the state. Included are the state flower, fish, tree, bird, grain, fruit; and the grains. These manhole covers are absolutely gorgeous. They are a must see. I hope I can go trough Minneapolis again and add these to a second volume of Minnesota.

An in-depth dialogue with Kate will be part of another post later in the year.


Continuing with my conundrum, I need to figure out what to do with my life—an incessant journey on its own. Time goes by fast and work is slow these days, I need to get back to what is important. The first issue is to get my printers working after 3 months off. Wish me luck and hope you find your own purpose in life, go DO.

Back Home

I’m back!

Winter is just around the corner—I know, I know Ottawa, Ontario, Canada has it worse—I have the impression that Fall is colder than last year in Idaho. When I left Ottawa, the leaves were in full colour and the rain kept on coming. Here in Idaho the colours of the leaves are still stunning and has extended my Autumn experience.

I spent time with my dear friend Vera Greenwood, a fantastic writer who captivates your interest. Vera has successful exhibition installations under her belt.

Vera’s art practice is subjectively personal with an emphasis on storytelling, while observing the world. Her work is highly autobiographical, revealing a keen interest in recordkeeping and investigative research. Because her installations have always incorporated text—sometimes large amounts—bookworks have become a logical extension of Vera’s art practice. 

© 2011 Vera Greenwood, cover of her book "The Whole Enchilada, My Madcap Mexican Adventure," a terrific read

© 2011 Vera Greenwood, cover of her book "The Whole Enchilada, My Madcap Mexican Adventure," a terrific read


I visited the small studio of Mary Kritz, an Ottawa based artist who works with paper products to construct hand bound books and boxes. Inspired by nature, architecture, and art, Mary creates personal moments with rules and omissions, exploration and play.

© 2016 Mary Kritz

© 2016 Mary Kritz

Her book arts are notable for their unique finishes and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to well-developed artistic craftsmanship. Mary focuses on learned techniques and a wide range of materials to create her books.

© 2016 Mary Kritz

© 2016 Mary Kritz

© 2016 Mary Kritz

© 2016 Mary Kritz

© 2016 Mary Kritz

© 2016 Mary Kritz


I vacationed at my brother’s cottage with our new T@B trailer. I was eager to visit more studios but playing Bocce Ball and drinking wine enticed me to stay in the country with no worries to disturb happy hour.

I walked the streets of Ottawa and photographed new manhole covers. I discovered new cover designs while delivering 14 new volumes of City Shields to my contact at the National Gallery of Canada library. Here are my new volumes ready for cataloguing and join the other 52 volumes collected by the library.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, new volumes of City Shields

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, new volumes of City Shields

In 2008, Gatineau launched a manhole cover design contest called Reg'art d'égout (artful covers) that involved designing two manhole cover models for the city's streets. These two manhole covers are part of Vol 3: No 10 Gatineau, Québec (secteur Gatineau) volume of City Shields published in 2009. To purchase this volume, please visit my website.

It is difficult to choose a favourite they are both a delight to view. These decorative manhole covers adorn most streets of Gatineau.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, Une vie, Une ville (A life, A city)

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, Une vie, Une ville (A life, A city)

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

Topaz, my studio resident dog needs a walk, I need to finish the laundry, carry out maintenance on our T@B, and make supper—the only imaginative activity today except for this blog post.

Talk to you next week and in the meantime check out the manhole covers of your city...

The Tiny Book Show

This week I was preoccupied with cutting and collating manhole covers.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

My garbage bin is overflowing with paper. Sheet after sheet filled with negative space. It piles up by the hour.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, one of my favorite covers today

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, one of my favorite covers today

Did you ever foresee an action in advance? While carrying many die-cut manhole covers from a drawer of my printer cabinet to my work table, I dropped the whole stack. I have five steps to go from my printer table to the other side of my half measure studio!! It took hours and hours to collate the manholes to fit each volume. My eyes crossed a few times while trying to recover the sequnces of the manhole covers; but now, the manhole covers are collated by each volume. My next phase in publishing City Shields is to print 28 double sided inserts.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole covers on the work table ready to collate, AGAIN!

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole covers on the work table ready to collate, AGAIN!

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole covers finally collated

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, manhole covers finally collated

In 2012 when I was creating my flip book project Outside the studio, I dropped sheets of unnumbered pages of my first flip book. It never dawned on me to number the pages, it appeared simple enough to collate. Each page (frame) of a flip book portrays a fraction of a second. This means each image is very, very, very similar! This mistake taught me to number my pages. With City Shields there’s no way to number the covers. I have two sheets of templates to print for each volume. The second template has a variety of covers. I prefer not to waste paper, it’s too expensive! The lesson here is not to drop the sheets, butterfingers!!


I took a break from these wonderful die-cut photographs that brought me back to my travels. So, I drove to Nampa and visited The Tiny Book Show hosted by the Nampa Public Library

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, Amy Tingle at the Nampa Public Library getting ready for the workshop

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, Amy Tingle at the Nampa Public Library getting ready for the workshop

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, The Tiny Book Show, awesome!

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, The Tiny Book Show, awesome!

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, I enjoyed reading this wonderful blue book "Cooper" by Harold Wilson

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, I enjoyed reading this wonderful blue book "Cooper" by Harold Wilson

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, This is a Goldendoodle story!

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, This is a Goldendoodle story!

Amy Tingle and Maya Stein are a mobile creativity company based in northern New Jersey. They travel in a vintage caravan, named MAUDE (Mobile Art Unit Designed for Everyone). The caravan allows them to deliver unique experiences and inspire communities everywhere. 

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, MAUDE

© 2016 Louise Levergneux, MAUDE

Amy Nack, a local printmaker who goes under the imprint Wingtip Press was on hand to help with the tiny book-making workshop. Everyone is invited to The Tiny Book Show. Amy and Maya stop at select locations around the country to display tiny books made by artists and writers from around the world. Check out their next venue here.


Back at my studio, I cut binders boards for different projects. The days are going by fast and my summer time back home in Canada is approaching.

For entertainment, I watch Garip Ay create Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry night and Self-portrait with ink marbling animation. Enjoy!

Manhoru

Back to work, I realise my studio is a mess. I’m in full production of City Shields.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

My curiosity grows with the pile of manhole covers. Has the manhole cover become a point of interest for other artists? I continue my search on the internet after communicating with Lucinda Ziesing featured on my blog post dated June 26th. Artists and graphic designers all over the world have noticed and are inspired by these works of urban design on our city streets.

My latest find is a wonderful fluoro colour publication entitled Overlooked, the 45th publication produced by design studio Pentagram in the UK. This colourful book celebrates the “gatekeepers” to the subterranean world beneath London’s streets.

© 2016 Pentagram Paper

© 2016 Pentagram Paper

After many hours of searching, I discover Remo Camerota, a dedicated manhole cover photographer. Camerota’s new book, Drainspotting, is dedicated to the his fans or the ‘manhoru’ maniacs. Manhoru is the Japanese word for ‘manhole’. A trip to Japan is worthwhile just to photograph the brightly painted manhoru covers.

Remo Camerota, Cherry Blossoms by Tokyo Five

Remo Camerota, Cherry Blossoms by Tokyo Five

Going down the rabbit hole, I come across Russell Muits, a graphic designer who embarked on a coast-to-coast odyssey. Muits travelled from Camden, New Jersey, to Seattle, Washington, and back. Russell searched out unusual manhole covers and, through hands-on application of ink and canvas, transformed the covers into prints. We share the same goal of finding every interesting manhole cover across the US. Of course my goal is to add the cities of the Canadian provinces.

Aaron Windhorst, Philadelphia Daily News/TNS

Aaron Windhorst, Philadelphia Daily News/TNS

How can I finance City Shields and the travel to attain my goal? Any ideas?

 

Dilemmas!

Surprise! Surprise! My new refurbished refurbished Epson R3000 arrived early. Astonished, I was able to unpack the printer, set it up, and print. Oh my God! Epson is finally getting it together—hopefully they have. This R3000 is working well at the moment. Touch wood! It has only been a few hours! 

I printed my manhole covers sheet after sheet. The printer is not noisy and spits out printed sheets with no blotches of ink! I’m back in business!

I haven’t given up printing my own artists’ books; but still thinking of a printing service in the future, will see what this refurbished printer brings.

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

I printed 30 sheets of manhole covers in one day with no problem. Alléluia!! 

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

I leave the printed sheets twenty four hours to settle and dry before phase six of the project. This step entails die-cutting the printed manhole covers and collating them.

Throughout my project, and time passing, I’ve had to go with the flow on how to cut, print and present City Shields.

For the first time in sixteen years I’m running short of my packaging of choice for City Shields. My dilemma is finding Iomega Disk Jewel Cases. They are no longer manufactured. If you know of a place I can buy jewel cases for Zip disks, please let me know.  

I had ordered thousands of Iomega jewel cases back in 2000 when they were popular for the original seven volumes of City Shields. The first volumes included a volume of Scotland; three volumes of Ottawa, one volume of Toronto, Ontario; and three volumes of Hull, Québec. Doculink International printed the original volumes and were die-cut by Capitol Box in Ottawa, Ontario.

In 2006, with new camera and new printer, I printed the volumes of the series myself with an Epson 2200. Capitol Box created a cutting jig to cut one manhole cover at a time. Unable to create the correct assembly to use the jig, it caused the paper to tear every time. I bought a Fiskars Circle Cutter from Michaels Arts and Crafts Store. This tool is super easy to use, it only cost $19.99 and works well. The clear plastic base makes alignment easy with no guessing games. Where do you find your tools?

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

© 2016 Louise Levergneux

This year, I needed to replace a discontinued Aspen paper for the insert. I chose an Inkpress Plus paper. I can still order the Generations G-Chrome Lustre paper to print the manhole covers. How do you cope with discontinued favorite papers? Do you enjoy trying lots of papers? Maybe you print on different paper for your projects and the brand doesn’t matter.

My goal was to collect manhole covers from each Canadian province and the 50 states in the US. Changes and finances are making it impossible to achieve! My project is at its end!