Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Art of Books

The Castle by Su Blackwell
Dark Roasted Blend has two mesmerizing posts on making art out of books: Unusual Books and Book Sculptures and The Bittersweet Art of Cutting Up Books. I don't know that I could do anything like this -- I suffered some intense guilt pangs over the one time I deliberately defaced a book to make art -- but it's fascinating to see what artists who aren't cowards can make out of a book.

Libraries would love this: you try to pick up something to read, only to discover the bookshelves are made out of books (and wouldn't that be a great practical joke to pull in the freebie room at the next con? The bag ladies would howl.)

Imagine living in The House of Books. Hmmm. Maybe if you're a munchkin.

No one can call artist Craig Paul Nowak spineless when it comes to creating oil paintings on books.

Story as Furnishing -- books are being made into vases, shelves and coffee table bases, lamps and stools, and the occasional couch.

Step aside, bookmobile -- artist Hans Winkler has come up with the book boat.

Sculptor Alex Queral carves telephone books into celebrity portraits (some of which are currently on display at the Philadelphia Int'l Airport, if you're ever passing through.)

When is a book also sculpture and art? Visit the amazing world of pop-up books, and take a look at the current record holder for the largest pop-up book in the world.

The Book IS the Art: Artist Robbin Silverberg makes ribbon books and winds them up on antique spools (and now I want to crochet a story.)

16th century artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo liked to paint portraits of people made of objects like fruit and stuff, and did one of a man made of books, but of course now we have mosaic photo art, which makes five thousand book covers into Bridget Bardot.

Rebound Designs makes purses and wallets out of old books, as does Make It and Take It. You can also learn how to make a purse from a book over at Squidoo (scroll down.)


  1. Purses made out of books! Soooo pretty. Must turn away. Must not remove credit card from wallet.

    Darn it.

  2. That's an amazing way to recycle phone books! Beautiful portraits.

  3. I work as a technical writer and have often toyed with the idea of making purses out of old user manuals for my team. Much more productive than using them to make a bonfire and dancing around it laughing madly like we usually do.

    On an unrelated subject... the book boat was awesome, but I was more amused by the description of the author's other projects. Especially the following:

    "Projects for p.t.t.red have included Ursa in Orbit, 1993: where Winkler and Micheel dressed in bear costumes and lived for several days in the National Park of Berchtesgaden, in Bavaria, Germany, where wild bear have been extinct for a century. Spotted by tourists and reported to the authorities, the bears became the center of a media frenzy."

    It could only be art. Or maybe a frat prank. Who can be the judge?

  4. When I first moved into my apartment I had limited furniture, but tons of books. I did joke once or twice I could just create a couch from the books. Seems I wasn't the first to think of that idea.

  5. Anonymous8:58 PM

    Wow. That is unbelievable.

  6. Anonymous4:14 PM

    The picture and the links you have here are fantastic. So glad to find you. And glad you found me too.

    In the spirit of this bookish theme--have you read The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers? A bizarre but brilliant novel for most book lovers.

  7. Ha! Spineless - clever. :)


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