Montréal, Québec

While in Canada for the month of August, I planned a trip to the Eastern Townships in Québec. This was naturally a delightful week of visiting longtime friends and talented artists. 

© 2019 Louise Levergneux.  Conteurs d’eau  exhibition by François Chamberland at Galerie Art Plus in Sutton, Québec.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Conteurs d’eau exhibition by François Chamberland at Galerie Art Plus in Sutton, Québec.

I could not pass through Montréal, on my way back to Ottawa, without a stop to visit Guylaine Couture and an introduction to a fantastic book binder, Cécile Côté. 

What a lovely day of touring Cécile’s independent studio. Cécile recently moved her studio in her home on the Island of Montréal. Her new studio space consist of three substantial rooms full of equipment and tools for producing her exquisite work. The congenial atmosphere is one of a dedicated artist to her outstanding craftsmanship.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Details of Cécile Côté’s studio in Montréal.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Details of Cécile Côté’s studio in Montréal.

As I entered her home, the aroma of freshly baked quiche was in the air. Guylaine Couture dropped by to spend time sharing ideas and recent work with me and Cécile. The three of us conversed about artists’ books and binding as we enjoyed « nous avons dégusté » a marvelous quiche, corn on the cob and a salad prepared by Cécile.

Guylaine Couture has been producing artist's book for several years. This artistic form allows her to create works in which the content and structure merge to make the message more powerful.

After years of creating drawings, gouache and collages, a short binding workshop positioned her on the trail of artist's book. The latter has become her main discipline although Guylaine continues to generate works on paper.

Guylaine is obsessed with reusing printed documents. Her work attempts to divert this abundant material too easily discarded. The artist reflects at length on the visitor's reaction to the book and develops her work so that emotions are present at first sight. For Guylaine, the "reader" must live an experience.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture’s new artists’ books in the form of Zines.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture’s new artists’ books in the form of Zines.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture in Cécile’s Studio.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Guylaine Couture in Cécile’s Studio.

Cécile Côté works diligently under the imprint Relieur at Atelier de reliure Cécile Côté. As a binder Cécile includes: binding of art, accordion albums, notepads, greeting cards, and ex-libris in her production.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile demonstrates her taste for colour and design in the staircase leading to the garage, another filled studio space.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile demonstrates her taste for colour and design in the staircase leading to the garage, another filled studio space.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile’s studio situated in the garage of her home. This space is for types and heavy equipment.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile’s studio situated in the garage of her home. This space is for types and heavy equipment.

It's Cécile’s passion to design and manufacture unique art bindings whose execution follows the language of the words they carry. In love with typography, the artist allows words to guide her choice of materials, styles, textures, and sensations to be created. "Meaning and matter, tradition and modernity, merge into an original expression where the sight, the touch, the sense of smell and the meaning of words converge."

On her blog, Cécile shows us her craft as she gives life to a damaged bible.

© 2010 Cécile Côté. One of the great pleasures of book repair is that there is a "before" and an "after". And these phases are even more remarkable when the book is significantly damaged. /  « Un des grands plaisirs de la réparation de livres, c'est qu'il y a un "avant" et il y a un "après." Et c'est d'autant plus remarquable quand le livre est très abimé. »

© 2010 Cécile Côté. One of the great pleasures of book repair is that there is a "before" and an "after". And these phases are even more remarkable when the book is significantly damaged. / « Un des grands plaisirs de la réparation de livres, c'est qu'il y a un "avant" et il y a un "après." Et c'est d'autant plus remarquable quand le livre est très abimé. »

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile reading the poem from her book     T for Trouchie   , full goatskin leather binding with doublures of the same leather and suede flyleaves. Decorated inlay. Original text is letterpress printed from polymer plates by binder. /   T for Trouchie   , reliure plein chevre avec garde bord à bord du même cuir et gardes volantes en daim. Textes originaux imprimés sur papier BFK Rives et papier japon Iwami sur une presse manuelle avec plaques en polymère.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Cécile reading the poem from her book T for Trouchie , full goatskin leather binding with doublures of the same leather and suede flyleaves. Decorated inlay. Original text is letterpress printed from polymer plates by binder. / T for Trouchie, reliure plein chevre avec garde bord à bord du même cuir et gardes volantes en daim. Textes originaux imprimés sur papier BFK Rives et papier japon Iwami sur une presse manuelle avec plaques en polymère.

© 2011 Cécile Côté.  T for Trouchie  by Cécile Côté.

© 2011 Cécile Côté. T for Trouchie by Cécile Côté.

After a pleasant inspiring afternoon, I was invited to rejoin them next year for a week filled with ideas and tips on artists’ books and binding. What a treat, looking forward to absorb knowledge from these wonderful women artists.

Québec, seconde partie

The stores on Park Ave in Montréal were filled with amazing fruits and vegetables. The vegetables made me hungry for Greek food and my next studio visit.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux

© 2017 Louise Levergneux

It’s always nice to be back home to hear French and even nicer to speak the language as I share thoughts on art with another artist. I got the chance to visit with artist bookmaker Guylaine Couture in Montréal. 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a wonderful huge Calder-esque red mobile welcomes you as you walk in Guylaine's atelier. The sculpture added a smile to my face.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, a wonderful huge Calder-esque red mobile welcomes you as you walk in Guylaine's atelier. The sculpture added a smile to my face.

 This small, fresh, and comfortable space is where Guylaine creates her art form (forme artistique). The media of artists’ book allows her to create works in which both contents and form (le contenu et le contenant) merge a powerful message (message percutant). For Guylaine, the «reader» has to live an experience.

Pour moi, le «lecteur» doit vivre une expérience.”
© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guylaine sitting in her studio

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guylaine sitting in her studio

The artist drafts the message, analyzes the meaning of words and images, and develops (élabore avec minutie) the final form of the book with accuracy through re-using printed documents. Guylaine also uses the preservation of the forgotten zone of a photo and the recycling of material having already lived. Her works attempt to show the potential of this plentiful material too easily discarded.

Mes œuvres tentent de détourner cette abondante matière trop facilement larguée.

Touched by the reaction to Donald Trump's election last March, 2017, Guylaine created Want to be heard. This book began in the form of a tunnel book but at the end, the book needed a more open structure. This book can be seen from both sides.

© 2017 Guylaine Couture, Want to be Heard

© 2017 Guylaine Couture, Want to be Heard

© 2017 Guylaine Couture, Want to be Heard

© 2017 Guylaine Couture, Want to be Heard

Guylaine’s book New dress against disease/Nouvelles robes contre la maladie makes the link between cancer in women and the humanities: art therapy, philosophy, economics, technology... 

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, New dress against disease/Nouvelles robes contre la maladie

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, New dress against disease/Nouvelles robes contre la maladie

© 2016 Guylaine Couture, New dress against disease/Nouvelles robes contre la maladie

© 2016 Guylaine Couture, New dress against disease/Nouvelles robes contre la maladie

It was wonderfufl to be able to handle her beautiful book entitled Alonely as Guylaine explained the process and the story behind the book. The title is a play on the word seul/alone and isolé/lonely

© 2011, Guylaine Couture, Alonely

© 2011, Guylaine Couture, Alonely

© 2011 Guylaine Couture, Guylaine flipping the pages of her book Alonely

© 2011 Guylaine Couture, Guylaine flipping the pages of her book Alonely

 The text in her book Alonely is from Guylaine’s own diary. She wanted to draw a parallel between the serene movement of jellyfishes and other living beings in the depths of the ocean and her difficulties living a period of solitude. 

I did a lot of research and drawings of the ocean and of what lives in it. After a few months of experimentation, I developed a more personal way of doing monotypes.
© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guylaine is another artist who writes detailed packing information for her delicate books when shipping them to galleries

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guylaine is another artist who writes detailed packing information for her delicate books when shipping them to galleries

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, I was intrigued by these tiny little houses in Guylaine's atelier, they were templates for her artists' book Everyone Needs a Home

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, I was intrigued by these tiny little houses in Guylaine's atelier, they were templates for her artists' book Everyone Needs a Home

© 2017 Guylaine Couture, Everyone Needs a Home created for the exhibition "Built" at 23 Sandy Gallery

© 2017 Guylaine Couture, Everyone Needs a Home created for the exhibition "Built" at 23 Sandy Gallery

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guylaine Couture with her press talking of the possibility of working together next year

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Guylaine Couture with her press talking of the possibility of working together next year

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, outside Guylaine's studio

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, outside Guylaine's studio

Merci Guylaine pour la belle visite !