Hello! It’s been a while since my last post, and I do apologize for keeping all of my loyal fans perched on the edge of their seats in eager anticipation for so long. Seriously, though. It’s been a busy few weeks, but I thought I would get back into the swing of things by doing a post on everyone’s favorite genre of visual art: Book Art. If you love the art of the folded page, here is a very handy guide from Instructables.com on how to produce such masterpieces.
(image retrieved from http://twentytwowords.com/turning-old-books-into-art-by-folding-the-pages-into-words-5-pictures/)
Inspiration Green also has some neat ideas and pictures of book art on their Art From Old Books page. Here’s an example:
Jonathan Callan of London – “The Defrauder” joseebienvenugallery.com (image retrieved from http://www.inspirationgreen.com/art-from-old-books.html)
And last, but not least, is FlavorWire‘s post, “10 Visual Artists Who Use Books as Their Medium.” It’s got some really neat photos of work by Thomas Allen, Su Blackwell, Jeremy May, Mike Stilkey, and others. Check it out!
“The Message” by Robert The (image retrieved from http://flavorwire.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/the_message.jpg)
3D is the next step in digitization. Please watch the video below and prepare to be amazed:
If you’ve ever viewed a digitized book or manuscript, you know how very two-dimensional it is, and that seeing an image on a computer screen is nothing like holding the object in your own hands. Of course, a 2D version is far better than nothing, but it is limited in the information it can convey to you.
You do not need specific software to view the images that Dr. Endres and his team have made available, just an up-to-date browser. Imagine having texts in a language unknown to you, translated and viewable in your language, right on the page that still contains accurate stains, tears and cockling as found on the original. 3D can also digitally flatten pages that were so warped that reading the original artifact difficult. Each 3D page is built onto a digital wire frame that exactly matches the original page in every warp and wrinkle, and a full range of photographs is taken in every colour in the spectrum to create the truest possible representation. In short, while 3D acknowledges that a digital image in not the same as the real thing, its aim is to make a representation of the original that may be even better: the pages can be rotated 360* in any angle; infrared pictures allow us to see any corrections that were made to the manuscript that the naked eye can’t pick up; digital flattening of warped pages; and digital translations.
3D digitization is extremely time-consuming and expensive, which is why it is still very rare. But the more people who know about this, the better, so spread the word!
To see some 2D representations of the St. Chad gospels, click here:
(image retrieved from https://lichfield.as.uky.edu/st-chad-gospels/features)
Or, click here:
The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini
Having newly discovered the art of people like Su Blackwell, I thought I would give it a try myself to see if common folk can really create something new and interesting out of an old book. I found The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini in a used book store just up the road, and then I went to an art supplies store and bought an Exact-o knife and a cutting board, and once I got home, I set to work.
Before I even got started, however, I realized that this book was perfect for several reasons. First, all the illustrations were on the right-hand side of the book. Also, the illustrations weren’t so intricate that a novice cutter couldn’t follow the lines. Also, there were just the right number of illustrations spaced throughout the story so that the outline of each picture went deep enough for the desired effect.
1. I opened the book, and placed my cutting mat above the second illustration. I cut around the parts of the first image that I wanted to highlight, down through each page all the way to the mat.
This shows the cutting around the first two illustrations.
2. I then followed step one until I reached the end of the book. It was very simple, and very rewarding!
I hope you can find a similarly suitable book to make your own altered books. Even though a lot of the text is now missing, the text that does remain, in the forms of an image, tells a much different story. Good luck!
Here’s another great idea for giving a dusty, old book a new lease on life.
Step One: Find someone you want to marry.
Step Two: Find a hard-cover book that is rarely used and largely considered “boring” or uninteresting (a soft-cover book might work, but it’s not really recommended).
Step Three: Carve a big square out of the centre of each page of most of the book.
Step Four: Buy a beautiful engagement ring that will cause your favorite person in the whole world to swoon and wear a perma-smile for days.
Step Five: Cut a slit in the pages above the square you cut in Step Three.
Step Six: Thread a lovely satin ribbon through the slit from Step Five, put the ring from Step Four on the ribbon, and tie it so that the ring hangs in the square cut in Step Three.
Step Seven: Write the words, “Will you marry me?” under the ring.
Step Eight: Step back, enjoy your handiwork and pat yourself on the back. You are a book-lover’s Casanova. In other words, Irresistible! A “yes” is guaranteed.
A book’s story can be told through the words on its pages. But the story can change when a book is altered. Here are just a few examples of what artists can do with a traditional book to make something extraordinary:
The Folded Page
Recycled Reads on Etsy
Madame Memento on Etsy
I hope these links have inspired you, but if they haven’t yet, here are some books on the subject that might help create inspiration:
Art Made From Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed
Book Art: Creative Ideas to Transform Your Books...
Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book
Here is the video about Su’s work that not only made me see the artistic potential that books have, but also made me think that maybe I could produce something interesting from an ordinary book too.
Su turns books into works of art and gives them new meaning, and a new lease on life.
Click on Su’s blog, so you can see what she’s up to!
In her book, The Fairy Tale Pricness, Su’s work illustrates seven classic fairy tales: Cinderella, The Frog Prince, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Princess and the Pea, Snow White, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty.
Su’s work inspired me to create my own book art. I hope you will be inspired too!