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The creative process behind the thirteen books issued by the Éditions Lucie Lambert since 1976 goes against the established one for "livres d'artiste." First and foremost, Lucie Lambert is a printmaker, she uses in a way both masterful and exploratory a wide range of techniques: woodcut, woodengraving, engraving, etching, silkscreen. For each of her books, Lucie Lambert "proposed" (her term) a set of prints to an author, who then wrote texts inspired by them. Interestingly, more often than not, the images were not made with a book in mind; as a matter of fact, Lambert declares that her books are often done "in spite of" her, taking as example her last one, Terre d'Or, whose images started as drawings dating back to 1986.

Already in her first book the process that goes from images to words was established. For Frayère, the Québécois poet Yvon Rivard wrote nine poems, each responding to a black and white serigraph. The book's title alludes to the spot where fish come to procreate and the images were inspired by the interplay of water and wood, of solid and liquid, of opaque and transparency and reflection, that the artist observed in the logs floating in the Saint-Maurice river. Nature was offered to the gaze of the artist, just as her images were offered to the gaze of the poet. The book becomes a frayère -a spawning pool, in which words and images enter in the most fecund dialogue.

But Lucie Lambert's books are not just an exciting and fertile combination of words and images, for they include many other elements. Over the years, she learned and integrated other modes of expression, such as jewelery and calligraphy, and she also had to collaborate with typographers and a bookbinder. In a few cases, the images themselves are the product of an interpretation, an adaptation or a translation. In Terre d'Or, for instance, Lambert's wash drawings were translated into Japanese woodblock by Masato Arikushi.

From Image to Word: The Books of Lucie Lambert
by Véronique Plesch (Colby College)

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Lucie Lambert Editions, BC, Canada TEL/ FAX 604-732-9389