Laser Cutting in Massachusetts

As mentioned in a previous post, I collaborated with FreeFall Laser located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts for the cover page of Surveillance—my tunnel book project. 

Sarah Pike of FreeFall Laser was great to work with and efficient as she typically focuses on each specific customer with a personalized service. 

Our initial communication started with a brief consultation by email describing the project from which Sarah asked for samples of the page with printed images on the exact substrate chosen for material testing.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Inside my artists’ book  Surveillance —a mock-up.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Inside my artists’ book Surveillance—a mock-up.

My images for this project were reproduced on Moab Entrada Rag Bright paper. This is a double-sided archival acid and lignin-free, 100% cotton fine art paper. My question was “would this fibrous paper be a problem for the CO2 laser cutter”?

Double sided images need to be precisely registered for the desired effect to be successful. After figuring out the perfect registration, I sent a package with ten double-sided printed copies, hoping no difficulties would arise during the laser-cutting process.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Consulting with Sarah Pike for the cover of  Surveillance  FreeFall Laser in Massachusetts.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Consulting with Sarah Pike for the cover of Surveillance FreeFall Laser in Massachusetts.

When the work for Surveillance was completed, I promptly decided that picking up the work directly from the studio would naturally give me the unique chance to socially meet with Sarah in person. The plan for the first phase of my journey was to visit FreeFall Laser after I crossed back into the US following my two month stay in Canada. 

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah Pike showing me around FreeFall Laser.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah Pike showing me around FreeFall Laser.

Sarah’s approach combines artistic experimentation with technological experience to create exceptional work for fine artists, designers, conservators, bookbinders, artisans, woodworkers, and museums. It was a tremendous experience to see Sarah’s studio and her state-of-the-art CO2 laser cutter.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah’s studio and her state-of-the-art CO2 laser cutter.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah’s studio and her state-of-the-art CO2 laser cutter.

I was so excited when I picked up my precision cut covers that we discussed the distinct possibility of laser-cutting the binding for my creative project. I could not fathom cutting the exact holes for the electronics and faux camera another 8 times through binders board. What a life saver!

Visiting FreeFall Laser provided me the opportunity to observe some of Sarah’s own art work—what a treat! A lot of her art work is laser cut marquetry in wood veneer. Sarah also designed a beautiful sample book to demonstrate her CO2 laser cutter capabilities.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah’s sample book demonstrating the capabilities of her state-of-the-art CO2 laser cutter.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah’s sample book demonstrating the capabilities of her state-of-the-art CO2 laser cutter.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah’s art work using laser cut marquetry in wood veneer.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Sarah’s art work using laser cut marquetry in wood veneer.

On my initial contact with Sarah, with due diligence, I wanted to view some samples of artists’ books or bindings created with the help of FreeFall Laser. 

© 2019 Sarah Pike. Laser cutting of the   The Radiant Republic   by  Sarah Bryant  at FreeFall Laser.

© 2019 Sarah Pike. Laser cutting of the The Radiant Republic by Sarah Bryant at FreeFall Laser.

© 2019 Sarah Pike. Laser cutting of the   The Radiant Republic   by  Sarah Bryant  at FreeFall Laser.

© 2019 Sarah Pike. Laser cutting of the The Radiant Republic by Sarah Bryant at FreeFall Laser.

© 2019 Sarah Bryant.   The Radiant Republic   by  Sarah Bryant , built entirely out of language found in Plato’s Republic and Le Corbusier’s The Radiant City.

© 2019 Sarah Bryant. The Radiant Republic by Sarah Bryant, built entirely out of language found in Plato’s Republic and Le Corbusier’s The Radiant City.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux.   Reason Belief Truth   by  Thomas Parker Williams , binding, French split goat skin, laser-cut binder's boards; edition of 12.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Reason Belief Truth by Thomas Parker Williams, binding, French split goat skin, laser-cut binder's boards; edition of 12.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux.   Reason Belief Truth   by  Thomas Parker Williams ; laser cut painted with ink and watercolor; letterpress printing (hand-set type, polymer plates) by Mary Agnes Williams; marbled paper.

© 2019 Louise Levergneux. Reason Belief Truth by Thomas Parker Williams; laser cut painted with ink and watercolor; letterpress printing (hand-set type, polymer plates) by Mary Agnes Williams; marbled paper.

Wynn Bullock images © 2019 Bullock Family Photography LLC. All rights reserved .  Wynn Bullock:  Relativity: Wynn Bullock and Albert Einstein , edition of 15; published by 21st Editions; binding by Peter Geraty and Julia Rabin with production assistance by Tim Faner.

Wynn Bullock images © 2019 Bullock Family Photography LLC. All rights reserved. Wynn Bullock: Relativity: Wynn Bullock and Albert Einstein, edition of 15; published by 21st Editions; binding by Peter Geraty and Julia Rabin with production assistance by Tim Faner.

Wynn Bullock images © 2019 Bullock Family Photography LLC. All rights reserved. Wynn Bullock:   Relativity  , 9 bound and 9 loose, platinum estate prints, 1 signed vintage silver print.

Wynn Bullock images © 2019 Bullock Family Photography LLC. All rights reserved. Wynn Bullock: Relativity, 9 bound and 9 loose, platinum estate prints, 1 signed vintage silver print.

I was content to get back to work, after my informative conversation with Sarah. Next phase—prepare the boards by covering them with Canapetta bookcloth, measure all the positions of the holes... so Sarah could make my vision a reality...

Oklahoma

We made a stop in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the United States’ largest concentration of Art-Deco architecture. Art-Deco can be found throughout the city's older neighborhoods, in downtown and midtown. 

2017 Louise Levergneux, driving on the Boulder Avenue Bridge in Tulsa, Oklahoma

Mouth open, viewing amazing details all the way to the top of the Boston Avenue Methodist Church. The soaring 225 foot (68.5m) straight lines of the tower provide physical, visual, and philosophical linkage to the Gothic Cathedrals of past ages. The design of the edifice is credited to Adah Robinson and Bruce Goff.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Boston Avenue Methodist Church

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Boston Avenue Methodist Church

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Boston Avenue Methodist Church detail

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Boston Avenue Methodist Church detail

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Blue Dome, built in 1924, served as the White Star Gulf Oil Station in the day.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Blue Dome, built in 1924, served as the White Star Gulf Oil Station in the day.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Alfred C. Fabry was the architect of the Mincks-Adams Hotel. The building is 195 feet (59m) high, making it the 18th tallest building in Tulsa.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, Alfred C. Fabry was the architect of the Mincks-Adams Hotel. The building is 195 feet (59m) high, making it the 18th tallest building in Tulsa.

I enjoyed the gargoyles presiding above the Boston Avenue entrance to the lobby of The Philtower, which complements the tower’s exterior.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Philtower, detail

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The Philtower, detail

The BOK Center, designed by César Pelli, is Tulsa's new arena which incorporates many of the city's prominent themes—Native American, Art-Deco, and contemporary architecture.

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The BOK Center

© 2017 Louise Levergneux, The BOK Center

This city and its architecture brought to mind Thomas Parker Williams artists’ book entitled Spiral Dome.

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

Spiral Dome began as an idea for a call from a museum in Philadelphia to respond to one of the books in their collection. The book was an 18th-century handbook for building construction. I have always enjoyed James Turrell's Skyspaces and thought about doing something like that with 18th-century construction methods. I made my proposal and did not get in the show but the idea would not die. 

After many trials and testing, Thomas figured out how to make his artists' book a pop-up that would fold into a box. 

As I was designing the parts, I thought this concept could also be executed in steel as a real temple like structure, and the book "Spiral Dome:  Sculptures in Paper and Steel" was born. 
© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome, mounted on a six-part folding base, the book fits into a storage box.

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome, mounted on a six-part folding base, the book fits into a storage box.

The Paper Sculpture is a movable book made of 145 unique cut paper parts bound with black Tyvek. The 145 unique parts include 19 ribs, 18 double hinge sets, and 108 exterior panels that form 18 sections. The starting rib is fixed to the base. To facilitate display, ribs 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 19 contain magnets that connect with steel contact points on the base.
© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

Spiral Dome was designed with 3D CAD software. 145 unique parts for the Movable Paper Sculpture were cut and assembled by hand. Ribs, base, and box are constructed of museum board; various papers were used for the panels and hinges. The hinge connectors and binding material are black Tyvek. Covers of the storage box and accompanying book are etterpress printed from polymer plates.letterpress printed from polymer plates.letterpress printed from polymer plates.letterpress printed from polymer plates.
© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

© 2016 Thomas Parker Williams, Spiral Dome

While working on the Spiral Dome Movable Paper Sculpture, I realized it could function as a model for a permanent installation, which I call the Proposed Steel Sculpture. I made preliminary drawings for constructing such a structure. It is illustrated on the cover of the book.
To create the spiral in both models, 18 sections increment in height and dimension from the center of the structure by a factor of 1.014 for each successive section. The last section differs in scale from the first by a factor of 1.2666 or 1.014 to the 17th power. All elements in both sculptures – ribs, hinges or braces, and panels – increment by the same scale factor, as shown in the drawings.

Spiral Dome is part of The UC Berkeley, Environmental Design Library, Special Collections; the Columbia University Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library; and the MICA, Decker Library, Artist Book Collection.

Don’t forget passed creations will influence your work in the future.

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...

Large-Format Continued

Tabatha Hawks from Hawks Nest Photography and I decided to go for a hike and photograph the surrounding foothills around Avimor, Idaho. Here is my favourite picture.

2016 © Louise Levergneux

2016 © Louise Levergneux


In the last few weeks, I have found many books created in large-format. If you have answers or comments to the questions below please don’t be shy and send me an email or a comment.

What dimensions are you comfortable working with, small or large? After working and experimented with size, I’m going with small!

What moves you to create big? A personal dream to publish the biggest book. It probably has to be one-of-a-kind. Who would want to publish a large edition of a large-format book?

Have you ever had problems binding large books because of the width of the paper or cloth?

What drives an artist to create a book? The idea or the dimensions? I start with an idea most of the time. My Memories of My Memories was a special case, I started with the dimensions necessary for the concept. The dimensions were chosen so grown adults would be aware of their size—small—holding this large family album.

Do the dimensions of a book limit sales? Library & Archives Canada in Ottawa, Ontario, acquired my book My Memories of My Memories, it took eleven years for them to decide, Eh! Geez! Hmmm! But they did...

Galleries have a dimension restriction for call to artists why is 18 inches in any direction the limit size? 

Do you know of any shows for the large-format? Should we get one organized?

Do libraries collect artists’ books with particular dimensions in mind?

Is your inventory space big enough for other large-format books? Well, my Half Measure Studio no longer has the storage room for big books.

Uh!...

Whatever makes us want to publish in large-format, we need to try.


Another artist who has made large-format a part of his work is Thomas Parker Williams. Thomas portrays his subject in a way that affects the deepest part of your soul, either through nature, fire, wind, light, rhythm even a love affair. His work includes handmade artist book editions, unique book works, printmaking, and painting.

Williams is both a musician and a visual artist, so no surprise that his artist book editions contain an audio element—music or sound work. All parts of the sound work is composed, performed, and recorded by Thomas.

Fire Book is 24 inches by 18 inches closed. The materials used to create this book are oil and acrylic on paper, enamel on mylar and bound with cloth with painted cover. Fire Book is an experiment about the mystery of fire. Seven unique painted flame studies are paired with seven unique transparent Mandalas. The final Mandala is on the cover.

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book, cover

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book, cover

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book, detail

1998 © Thomas Parker Williams, Fire Book, detail

Natural / Un-Natural is a small book when closed with dimensions of 7.75 inches by 12.5 inches by 1.75. This book comes in a custom wood and polycarbonate case and is 23.25 inches in diameter when opened. The book consists of original painted panels executed with dry pigments in alkyd medium on paper arranged in a circular accordion structure with twelve double-sided sections and Tyvek hinges. 

The twenty-four painted panels represent events affecting our environment and actions exacerbating these events. Each panel is divided into two sections to give two possible visual interpretations. Events described by the panels are: extra-terrestrial impacts, solar storms, volcanic activity, eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis, wind, dust storms, rain, flooding, hurricanes, storm surges, tornadoes, blizzards, drought, wildfires, earth shifting events, glacier melting and calving, permafrost melting and sea level rise. The climate is changing, we cannot control the events that threaten our environment but we could have controlled our actions. Now we may be powerless to stop this process!

2015 © Thomas Parker Williams, Natural / Un-Natural

2015 © Thomas Parker Williams, Natural / Un-Natural

2015 © Thomas Parker Williams, Natural / Un-Natural

2015 © Thomas Parker Williams, Natural / Un-Natural

My visit to Thomas’ website brought me to an amazing book—Jasper's 72 Triangles, a book that is 26 inches by 30 inches unfolded.

Closed and in its box the book is 9 1/2 by 11 by 2 inches. This book is made of cut paper and Tyvek painted with metal pigments in oil medium and presented in an acrylic box.

Jasper's 72 Triangles inspired by the recent "Number" reliefs by Jasper Johns. Starting with the concept of a single number in a discrete area, in this case a double-sided triangle, and then connecting 36 double-sided triangles together, the book-painting becomes dynamic by folding into many configurations of triangles for display. The work uses only the numbers of 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 0. Adding the displayed numbers together results in a sum that is a multiple of 12 or 36 or 72 in many of the possible triangle combinations. A folding diagram is provided as an aid to returning the book to its correct folded state to fit into its acrylic box.

Has these books affected your soul yet?

Now, I have to find the biggest book. Check next week and see if I found it.