Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Art of the Book

I love books.

I love to read them, hold them, touch their spines and pages, smell them, admire their covers, collect them, discuss them and even write them. There are hundreds of books already in this house, but I still can't resist adding more or searching for new ones in bookstores.

I consider myself a true bibliophile and as such, I'm becoming concerned that this whole e-book phenomena means it won't be long before books as most of us know them will be found only in libraries, yard sales and antique shops. Or in expensive homes, all with color-coordinated redone covers, as I read about in a recent New York Times article about using books in decorating.

But over the weekend, when there was no escaping to fantasy land with two snowstorms barrelling toward NH and a last-minute trip out of town seemed the only way to preserve my sanity, I was delighted to stumble upon a "Temporium" selling handicrafts that included books recycled into new uses and works of art. Even if e-books are taking over the world, it's clear there are those who still appreciate that art can be found in a book in its traditional form.

Instead of thinking about the craft of writing books, it was fascinating to find books being used in crafts. These purses made from book covers were selling at over $100 each but many female mystery fans would die to own a Nancy Drew handbag like these.
Another crafter turned book covers into small and large wallets, such as the Robin Hood one to the left.

There also were garlands made from creative cutouts of book pages. And an artist who appreciated the nuances of the phrases used in the Romance novel genre turned some of them into pins called "Naughty Bits" such as "He Wanted to Punish." (I am reluctant to relate most of the others, but suffice it to say they were titillating enough to make a woman my age blush.)

But my favorite reuse of books involved the creations of a woman identifying herself as "The Naughty Librarian" who "lives out every librarian's evil fantasy; taking paint, glue and even (gasp) A KNIFE to the precious books."

Artist and librarian Robn Delaloyle rescues and recycles unwanted books, sculpting them "into beautiful and unusual works of art" such as the three on the shelves to the right (one of which is now on my own bookshelf) and the crazy one below.
It had never occurred to me that a literary work of art could become a visual one, as well. Can anyone say the same about an e-book?

To see more examples of the creative recycling of touchable books, visit


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Pat. I have seen purses like the ones you wrote about elsewhere, in addition to other multimedia masterpieces books have been turned into in their second lives, at VisArts here in Rockville, and at National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC. For your next visit!

Karen said...

Hmm, why does Blogger keep posting my comments as Anonymous when I don't set them up that way? Above came from Karen Kullgren

PatRemick said...

I'd love to see those, Karen/Anonymous! Can't explain the blogger comments thing -- or why the notification of a posting comes into my email box from Michele Gagnon, whoever that is. The mysteries of the Internet!