Tucson, Arizona

My initial experience with the extensive work of Barbara Grygutis was on the grounds of the Ohio State University, when I naturally noticed Garden of Constants outside of Dreese Laboratories. Garden of Constants is a series of large free-standing number statues to help commemorate the current construction of buildings associated with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. Garden of Constants by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. Garden of Constants by Barbara Grygutis.

Instantly taken by the work, I invariably started researching where Barbara’s work resided. I have experienced quite a few of her public sculptures in the last year. I first communicated with Barbara when journeying to Tucson, Arizona, in 2018. That February, we met at her studio and talked enthusiastically about her work and her remarkable accomplishments. Drawings and descriptions of new public spaces for the coming year were shared.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. I viewed the maquette for  Seagrass V  during my visit last year.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. I viewed the maquette for Seagrass V during my visit last year.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. A drawing for  Seagrass V  in Barbara’s studio.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. A drawing for Seagrass V in Barbara’s studio.

Since then, Barbara has completed Seagrass V presented at the European Cultural Centre in the Palazzo Mora in Venice, Italy. Seagrass V has now found a new home in art-st-urban near Lucerne, Switzerland. A project dedication in April 2019 presented Creosote Lace which accents the 50th Street Light Rail Station in Phoenix.

The public spaces designed by Barbara Grygutis enhance the built environment, enable civic interaction, and reveal unspoken relationships between nature and humanity. She engages the public through her works of art by identifying themes meaningful to each specific site and community.

Back in Tucson this year, unable to pass on a wonderful invitation by Barbara to connect again if I found myself in the area, we created another great opportunity to meet. First we touched base at her greenish cage, as she calls her studio entrance, and then to an excellent restaurant for a fantastic evening.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. The so called greenish cage in the back of Barbara’s studio space.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. The so called greenish cage in the back of Barbara’s studio space.

While in Phoenix, Creosote Lace had to be experienced in person. I was intrigued by the result of this sculpture, since it bears the name of a bush that captured my attention last year while in Gila Bend. The Creosote bush is ever-present in the landscapes of the Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, covering thousands of square miles. Sonoran Desert rains release the many oils in the plant that create a distinctive and unique aroma in the air. Once one smells the fragrance of the Creosote bush, one never forgets — the entire plant emits a distinctive and refreshing odor described by many as "the smell of rain."

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace at he 50th Street Light Rail Station in Phoenix.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace at he 50th Street Light Rail Station in Phoenix.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Michael crossing the line to view Creosote Lace at he 50th Street Light Rail Station.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Michael crossing the line to view Creosote Lace at he 50th Street Light Rail Station.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Panel detail of Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Panel detail of Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. A closer look at Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. A closer look at Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

Creosote Lace was conceived with the dual purposes of providing shade for commuters while celebrating a native plant which has been living in the Southwest for over seventeen thousand years. The new, accessible light rail station provides crucial access to the Ability360 facility as well as several other businesses nearby.

The artwork develops the concept of healing through the natural world as a central theme for the station. Creosote bush, also known as Greasewood (Larrea tridentata), has been recognized by the O’odham and other indigenous peoples since the beginning of time. In fact, O’odham tradition suggests that the Greasewood was a key element in the very creation of the world. Even today the creosote bush is the most populous native plant in the Phoenix Basin.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace is fabricated with steel, laser cut and painted, with a silver surface finish intended to evoke the shimmering light of the desert.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace is fabricated with steel, laser cut and painted, with a silver surface finish intended to evoke the shimmering light of the desert.

Creosote Lace combines shadow patterns formed by the delicate creosote leaves and minute blooms to create large abstract panels which, in turn, create shade. The beauty and delicacy of this plant is further emphasized by the spiral shape of the curvilinear panels which float up the approach ramps to the station platform. These spiral shaped canopies emulate the motion of the creosote as it blows in the southwest winds, ever-rooted to the earth. The continuous spiral shapes of the shade canopies also reference the ability of this tenacious plant to send out lateral shoots and, over long periods of time, to create concentric circles of plant families. The distinctive aroma of creosote bush is also a vital part of our desert legacy.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Seeing through Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Seeing through Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Looking back at Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Looking back at Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace is a tribute to the humble and prevalent creosote bush and to the healing powers that exist in the Sonoran Desert.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace is a tribute to the humble and prevalent creosote bush and to the healing powers that exist in the Sonoran Desert.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace can also be experienced on the sidewalks.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Creosote Lace can also be experienced on the sidewalks.

Another public space I delved into while in Chandler, Arizona, was Desert Passage, Canopy Dreams created in 2009 for the Chandler Gilbert Community College Pecos Campus.

This work of art is a functioning elevated, sculptural pedestrian bridge connecting the new Ironwood Hall to an existing building on campus. This curvilinear, 2nd level pathway meanders 200’ through a grove of Ironwood trees and highlights the natural beauty of the Ironwood leaf. The laser cut design of the shade hoops, natural daylight and integrated, designed lighting, create dramatic shade and light patterns day and night.

The photos below will help to examine Barbara’s piece as if you were actually walking across the pedestrian bridge.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Desert Passage, Canopy Dreams by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Desert Passage, Canopy Dreams by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Beginning of my experience of Desert Passage, Canopy Dreams by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Beginning of my experience of Desert Passage, Canopy Dreams by Barbara Grygutis.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. The interplay between the shadows and the light is always present in Barbara’s work.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. The interplay between the shadows and the light is always present in Barbara’s work.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Looking up.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Looking up.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Halfway.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Halfway.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Looking back.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Looking back.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Observing from below.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Observing from below.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. One last look as I walk away.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. One last look as I walk away.

Interested in the work of Barbara Grygutis, check out what city has commissioned an installation on her website. In the next year, one will be able to research all Barbara’s maquettes, drawings, and information on her work at the University of Arizona Archive of Visual Arts. Looking forward to seek new public art spaces by Barbara Grygutis during next year’s visit.

Downsize or Expand

No, matter how tough things may feel,

there’s always something good waiting around the corner.

Karen Salmansohn

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Texas Paintbrush in the south of Texas, my backyard in April, not bad for inspiration!

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Texas Paintbrush in the south of Texas, my backyard in April, not bad for inspiration!

Last January, when a certain practical side of life interrupted art, I cancelled a few visits in Florida. Since then, I re-communicated with Dorothy Simpson Krause, a local artist and book maker from Ft. Lauderdale, whom I had planned on visiting. In response, Dorothy was generous in emailing me images of her atelier and art work to share with all of you.

In my creative world, a zone, a sacred space is missing — a studio. I identified with my last workroom in Boise, Idaho, as 1/2 Measure Studio, since my space was a third of the square footage of my studio in Utah, but it was comfortable. Now, my atelier has shrunk again! Should I call it 1/16 Measure Studio?

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. Working on my artists’ book “Shadow Me” in my 1/2 Measure Studio in Boise, Idaho.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux. Working on my artists’ book “Shadow Me” in my 1/2 Measure Studio in Boise, Idaho.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Without a physical space to call my own, here I’m working on my artists’ book “Surveillance” in Natalie Freed’s studio in Austin, Texas.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Without a physical space to call my own, here I’m working on my artists’ book “Surveillance” in Natalie Freed’s studio in Austin, Texas.

As artists, we learn how to downsize or expand our space depending on our situation. In 2013 Dorothy sold her home of 35 years and gave up her 3,200 square foot studio in New England to move full-time into a condo in South Florida.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s studio in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s studio in Ft Lauderdale, Florida.

Dorothy explains her space and how it has not prevented her from creating wonderful large scale mixed media pieces, artist books and book-like objects that bridge between these two forms.

I occupy a compact office/studio. It has adequate counter and storage for minor projects, an Apple Power Tower Pro with 30″ monitor, a 17″ MacBook Pro, an Epson RX680 duplex printer and a 13″ Epson Stylus Pro 3880.

The condo has a considerable storage space for necessary supplies and ephemera and an outside storage unit for larger art.

I use the counter/bar in the kitchen when I need to spread out. For larger projects, I am fortunate to have access to the workspaces at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts http://www.library.fau.edu/depts/spc/jaffe.htm at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. It is a excellent resource for inspiration and support.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s many filing cabinets.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Dorothy’s many filing cabinets.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Making a book for her Alaska trip.

© 2019 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Making a book for her Alaska trip.

Although my art background is traditional, the computer has become a primary art-making media, a repository of my records and my lifeline to the world.

My work embeds archetypal symbols and fragments of image and text in multiple layers of texture and meaning. It combines the humblest of materials, plaster, tar, wax and pigment, with the latest in technology to evoke the past and herald the future. My art-making is an integrated mode of inquiry that links concept and media in an ongoing dialogue — a visible means of exploring meaning.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Ancient Mysteries , a pyramid shaped structure was created after Dorothy had an opportunity to work with  Karen Hanmer .  Ancient Mysteries  can be folded in a virtually infinite number of ways, and is housed in a leather slipcase embellished with two triangular pieces of metal.6''x6''x1.5'' 36 pages

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Ancient Mysteries, a pyramid shaped structure was created after Dorothy had an opportunity to work with Karen Hanmer. Ancient Mysteries can be folded in a virtually infinite number of ways, and is housed in a leather slipcase embellished with two triangular pieces of metal.6''x6''x1.5'' 36 pages

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Explorations  was created during a trip to Egypt in 2010. Dorothy carried with her, a small book made with paper aged by crumpling and staining with tea, coffee and walnut ink. 6"x5.5", 24 pages.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Explorations was created during a trip to Egypt in 2010. Dorothy carried with her, a small book made with paper aged by crumpling and staining with tea, coffee and walnut ink. 6"x5.5", 24 pages.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Explorations  was bound with a heavy paper, embossed with symbols resembling heiroglyphics, and was pamphlet stitched with three beads in the spine.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Explorations was bound with a heavy paper, embossed with symbols resembling heiroglyphics, and was pamphlet stitched with three beads in the spine.

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Vintage photographs of Egypt were collaged into the pages of  Explorations .

© 2010 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Vintage photographs of Egypt were collaged into the pages of Explorations.

© 2018 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  Apache  began on a trip to Arizona, this small book explores our appalling treatment of Native Americans. Vintage photos of Apache Indians are collaged onto small eco printed tags which are placed into a pocket accordion, designed to fit into a well-worn leather pouch. Closed 5.5″x 3.75″x 1.75″, opened (5.5″x 28″).

© 2018 Dorothy Simpson Krause. Apache began on a trip to Arizona, this small book explores our appalling treatment of Native Americans. Vintage photos of Apache Indians are collaged onto small eco printed tags which are placed into a pocket accordion, designed to fit into a well-worn leather pouch. Closed 5.5″x 3.75″x 1.75″, opened (5.5″x 28″).

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass  created as part of the Helen M. Salzberg Inaugural Artist in Residence at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Wimberly Library, Florida Atlantic University.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass created as part of the Helen M. Salzberg Inaugural Artist in Residence at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, Wimberly Library, Florida Atlantic University.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause.  River of Grass.

© 2012 Dorothy Simpson Krause. River of Grass.

Dorothy eloquently explains her proposal for this prestigious residency and how her production paid homage to Marjory Stoneman Douglas’ seminal book, “The Everglades: River of Grass.


Through our mutual communication and after viewing Dorothy’s website, I’m looking forward to a visit, when life’s magnificent path escorts me back in that corner of the world.

Meanwhile, I’m dreaming of a new set-up in our travel trailer to work anytime a wave of creativity comes along. I have a picture of what is needed using a lift-top with an adjustable lift platform for under our bed. If anyone knows of someone that is handy with tools that can build me an under the bed worktable, please let me know. I will be spending another two weeks in the Phoenix, Tucson, Gila Bend area of Arizona.

I would love to visit some artists’ book makers in the area, if anyone is interested in meeting with me, please email me at louiselevergneux (at) gmail (dot) com. Looking forward in meeting you!

Example of my dream workstation!! but under the bed storage area instead of a pouf!

Example of my dream workstation!! but under the bed storage area instead of a pouf!


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!

Austin.6

I wish you all a Happy New Year—create and be prosperous.

I’m in Florida at the moment, trying to catch up on organizing my databases, going through photos to make room on my external hard drives... You know the new year cleansing!

Will talk about clearing and cleansing later... For now let’s get back to business after a couple of weeks off for the holidays! Last Fall while in Texas, I visited Flatbed Press with Mary Braughman from Austin Book Arts Center.

© Louise Levergneux. I enjoyed the four legged creates of Texas.

© Louise Levergneux. I enjoyed the four legged creates of Texas.

Flatbed is located on Boggy Creek, near the University of Texas. This Spring, Flatbed will be moving to 3701 Drossett Drive in Austin. Flatbed is comprised of two divisions, the Flatbed Press, a publishing workshop collaborating with artists to produce limited editions of original etchings, lithographs, woodcuts and monoprints. And the second division is Flatbed Gallery—a private art gallery, which specializes in original prints.

I had the privilege of meeting Annalise Natasha Gratovich who was working diligently on her own new series, her largest series to date. The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home, is co-published by Flatbed Press. The remarkable series includes eight 3 x 5.5 foot hand-dyed chine collé woodcuts.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich working on her new series, The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich working on her new series, The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home.

© Louise Levergneux. © Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich at Flatbed Press.

© Louise Levergneux. © Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich at Flatbed Press.

So, what does “chine collé woodcuts” mean, you ask? Chine-collé roughly translates from French as “chine” meaning tissue, and “collé” is glue or paste. The paper, usually in pre-cut shapes, is actually bonded to the heavier support paper of the print in the printmaking process. The over-all effect of collé is that the paper is actually bonded, not just glued, to the print. It can, at times, look like it is embossed. The word chine was adopted because the thin paper traditionally used was imported into Europe from China, India and Japan. One of the commonly applied techniques includes dampening the thin paper and placing it on the inked plate. What makes collé different from collage is that it is then run through a printing press where the pressure of the press adheres and bonds the collé paper to the print.

This process is how Annalise applies the colour to her work and she carefully hand dyes the coloured papers.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich’s chine collé woodcuts drying at Flatbed Press.

© Louise Levergneux. Annalise Natasha Gratovich’s chine collé woodcuts drying at Flatbed Press.

Annalise says thoughtfully of her creative work —

“The Journey. Searching. Longing/Belonging. Home identity. Personhood… Where are you? Where am I? Can we, will we, be together? My work explores themes of displacement, self and cultural identity, intention and accountability as well as burden and regret. The figures are based on matryoshka dolls (Russian stacking dolls) and the textile patterns are derived from Ukrainian embroidery, either in patterning or stylistic outline. This nod to the traditional and folk arts of the lands of my heritage, Ukraine and the American South, is important and used to invoke feelings of nostalgia- memories or fantasies of far away places lost or cannot be returned to. I consider my work most successful when a viewer is compelled to dream of these memories and places, when they relate to my characters, and in that way I consider my work a visual continuation of what is shared through the rich and important art of storytelling.”

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Builder, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Builder, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Musician, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. The Musician, part of The Villagers, Carrying Things From Home by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

Gratovich is the Associate Gallery Director of the fine art print publisher Flatbed Press and a member of the Board of Directors of PrintAustin, a month-long, city-wide printmaking event for which she has helped organize exhibitions and special events, curate the PrintAustin Invitational, and has participated in artist and curator talks, and panel discussions.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. To Awaken In Paradise an etching with hand dyed chine collé by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.

© 2018 Annalise Natasha Gratovich. To Awaken In Paradise an etching with hand dyed chine collé by Annalise Natasha Gratovich.


I’m around the Tampa area of Florida for the next 3 weeks, then I’m visiting The Florida Atlantic University Wimberly Library and the Jaffe Collection at the end of January in Boca Raton. If you are interested in a visit to your studio, please, let me know. I would love to be introduced to your artists’ books.