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My books are born of many encounters between images and text, engraving and poetry, typography and paper, the hand press and the computer, bindings and jewellery, and traditional arts and modern communication techniques. The book as object constantly blends the near and the far, and gives me the opportunity to learn techniques, to travel and to meet a wide variety of extraordinary people: poets, typographers, printers, binders, dealers, private collectors, the heads of public collections, librarians, archivists, researchers and others.
I have been involved in limited edition publishing for 30 years. Once I reach the end of whatever path I may be on, I find myself at the studio of master binder Pierre Ouvrard. He is an outstanding craftsman who understands that the binding is a container, an envelope, a skin, an intermediary between the content and the reader. The cover and case conceal the text and images, but they also introduce and reveal their spirit.
To me, there is no process more creative than the many activities involved in producing an artists' books. It is my reason for being and the means by which I interact with the world.
A Thousand Hooded Eyes
The books produced by Éditions Lucie Lambert are part of the great tradition of craftsmanship that is characteristic of artists' books. Beautiful and harmonious in all respects, the work is meticulously arranged by an artist who has mastered every aspect of the craft. And whereas the visual elements are usually wed to an existing text, artist Lucie Lambert works with some of the great names of Canadian literature to develop her final pieces.
Lambert has grown in her art throughout her career, beginning with a bachelor of arts degree at the Université Laval in Sainte-Foy, in 1968. She furthered her artistic training, and her knowledge of printmaking in particular, in 1975, at the Université du Québec à Montréal, where she also discovered the tradition of the artist's book. Lambert went on to study in Europe, where she specialized in printmaking. While living in Paris from 1980 to 1983, Lambert was introduced to Chinese and Arabic calligraphy, which proved to be a turning point in her art. Upon returning to Canada in 1983, she settled in Vancouver and studied sculpture and jewellery making with Haida artist Bill Reid.
Each book reflects the new techniques and skills Lambert acquired as her career, an adventure in bookmaking, progressed. Her experiences in the studios of Paris are reflected in the classicism of Le prince et la ténèbre. This story by François Ricard provides the impetus for employing intaglio to explore the values of black that are characteristic of this technique. Arabic calligraphy breathes movement into La naissance des nuages and affirms the importance of nature as a principal theme in Lambert's work.
The artists' books Conversation with a Toad and Terre d'or demonstrate how Aboriginal and Asian cultures combined to influence Lambert after she moved to Vancouver. The illustrations, inspired by Chinese calligraphy, are given an airiness through the use of the Japanese method of woodblock printing. The bindings recall traditional Asian calligraphic works on silk.
With their engraved initial capitals and the use of the same printing method for both the text and the woodcut illustrations, the works Air, Les roses and Au cœur du bois / In the Heart of the Wood mark a return to the Western approach to the book in the style of blockbooks. For artist-publisher Lucie Lambert, the concept of the book is based on the fusion of written, visual and structural artistry.