The Altered Book – Book Art

It has been too long since our last foray into the world of book art. This morning I thought I’d pop in and check on one of my favourite book artists, Su Blackwell, to see what she has been up to lately. Unsurprisingly, her updated portfolio did not disappoint! So let’s take a closer look at her newer works, and I will introduce some new finds as well.

Su Blackwell’s website, www.sublackwell.co.uk is truly a feast for book-lovers’ eyes. I think what appeals most to me about Su’s work is the intricacy. Not all book art is created equal, and Su’s is a cut above the rest, in my opinion (pun not intended, but enjoyed nevertheless).

Image source: https://www.sublackwell.co.uk/fineartportfolio/ The Book Collector, 2018 by Su Blackwell

Staying in the UK for a moment longer, have you heard of the mysterious book art that was appearing all over Scotland a few years ago? I somehow missed this very interesting news, though it occurred over the course of four years! Beginning in 2011, 10 anonymous book sculptures sprang up in different cultural locations throughout Edinburgh, as ‘a tribute to words.‘ The altered books continued appearing the following year, in honour of Book Week Scotland, with an additional five new sculptures. The photo below is one of the amazing creations that appeared in Scotland in 2012. In a 2015 email interview, the BBC asked the artist why she made the sculptures, and her answer will ring true for bibliophiles everywhere. The works were an “attempt to illustrate the notion that a book is more than just a book – and a library is a special kind of building.”

Image source: https://www.theguardian.com/books/gallery/2012/nov/30/scotland-secret-book-sculptures-in-pictures in honour of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

Travelling back across the pond, Doug Beube is a new name for me in the area of altered books, but he has been creating literary art for years. His website, DougBeube.com includes several items from his portfolio, which is not limited to altered books, although books feature prominently in his artwork. Click on the image below to enjoy some truly unique bookish creations.

Image source: https://dougbeube.com/section/485959-Cut-Shortcomings.html Cut Shortcomings and Double-Sided Shortcomings by Doug Beube

There’s something about a book that is transformed from a story or an educational object into a work of art that moves me. In its first iteration, it is purely the words themselves that make the book: the story, or the information recorded on the pages. But when the pages are cut, shaped, or re-arranged into works of art themselves, the book truly undergoes a metamorphosis, becoming something altogether different from its original, intended purpose. Neither form is more valuable or beautiful than the other, but it’s the difference itself that captivates me.

Thank you for visiting! I hope you enjoy these creations as much as I have. 💜

That’s a Book?!

In February I posted a TED Talk about Brian Dettmer’s work, but I thought I would make a post that draws my readers’ attention to more of his art. Check out his amazing art featured on his website. Dettmer’s altered books are absolutely fascinating. Pictures and illustrations always make a book better, and by changing the books so that their story is the pictures, Dettmer re-creates every one of the books he works on.
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*20th Century Medica (detail), 2012. Image courtesy of the Artist and Toomey Turrell Fine Art. Retrieved from http://briandettmer.com/art/2012/#p945

Another book artist who deserves some attention is Alexander Korzer-Robinson. It’s clear that his work is reminiscent of the collage style, and the books he alters are all older, so the illustrations that he exposes are often from the Victorian era or early 20th-century (though not all are). As a result, he transforms antique books into visual trips into the past. Click here to view his stunning portfolio.
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*Nouveau Larousse Illustre Vol VII, 1908 by Alexander Korzer-Robinson. Image retrieved from http://www.alexanderkorzerrobinson.co.uk/portfolio/402366_nouveau-larousse-illustre-vol-vii-1908.html