We've been noticing a bit of a recent obsession with books. And no, not with reading the little nuggets of knowledge but using them as the canvas for art. This is like a massive step-up from idle marginalia doodling, or those picture books from school you used to scribble in. This is proper, detailed and at times painstaking book art. You couldn't do that with a Kindle. Let's round up some of the best and see just how incredible the modest old book can be.
Jacqueline Rush Lee, Pod 2010
First up we have the artists with a knack for curling and manipulating the book pages. Please do try this one at home, since really it looks like it's a whole lot of fun. Beautiful ballooning pieces can be made this way, and rendered even more interesting with a splash of ink here and there. This flower-shaped piece from Jacqueline Rush Lee
is particularly captivating, and a pretty awesome way to make that boring old edition of Harry Potter you never read anymore worth something again.
Next up we have Robert The
and his book guns. Inspired by watching a child pick up one of his earliest book sculptures and hold it like a gun, these bad boys could be any over-protective parent's best friend.
There's the compromise of letting their child enjoy the sensation of holding a gun that can't hurt even the slowest of targets. Nice. Most often the text displayed on the book's spine ironically reference a trigger or violence in tongue-in-cheek ways. Always wanted to pose shooting a copy of The Catcher In The Rye or throw a Bible grenade? Then looks like The is your man.
l injects beauty into the sad school memory that is your water bottle leaking all over a textbook you actually need. Exploring the reaction between paper and water can produce some pretty engaging pieces of art, minus the anxiety about ruining something your Mum will have to pay to replace. Billowing pages swollen by liquid are certainly another to try as a take-home project: just make sure no-one was planning on ever reading those pages again.
Finally, Brian Dettmer
's book sculpture is perhaps the most intricate forms of book art we're revelling in today. Now, this one's a little more dangerous than the first three since you've got to slice away with sharp tools but would probably be most rewarding. Dettmer carves away at picture books, never adding anything new to them but simply revealing new stories from their contents. Like pushing the book inside out, he re-works their contents and creates colourful and finely-crafted sculptures.
Now isn't it time to get your tools and neglected books out?