Books reborn

Hello, friends. A post on book art is long overdue, wouldn’t you say? Like you, I love to read, and I love books, so perhaps that is why art made from books moves me so.

In researching book art creators, I recently discovered some new names. First, let me introduce Thomas Wightman. If you are familiar with Malena Valcarcel‘s work, you should check out this artist’s work as well; you will be glad you did. Here is one of my favorites, but there are many others that are just as impressive on Mr. Wightman’s website. What I find so interesting about this site, is that the artist walks us through the creative process, and shows us (more or less) how each piece was made. Enjoy!

Drowning from Obsession – Thomas Wightman

Jodi Harvey is another book artist whose site is fun to stroll through. When I look at these sculptures, I am absolutely amazed at the patience the artists exhibit with each creation. Having done a tiny bit of book art myself, I know I truly do not have what it takes to produce something like this. Here is a collection of images from her home page, to give you a taste:

Jodi Harvey

Quite some time ago, I mentioned Brian Dettmer in a similar post about book art, and Kelly Campbell Berry‘s work falls into a similar category. They both work with illustrated texts, cutting away most of the words and letting the pictures tell their own version of the story.

Kelly Campbell Berry

I mean, really. How do they do it?! I remain in awe of this amazing skill and talent. I don’t own any real book art yet, but I look forward to that day when I acquire my first piece. I know it will be worth the wait!

The Art of Marbling

The average person on the street will tell you they don’t know what marbling is. But I bet they’d recognize it if they saw it. You know those colourful endpapers that look like someone painted them? Well, that’s marbling!

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That looks familiar, doesn’t it? The image above is from the Folio Society’s beautiful edition of The Duke’s Children. While we tend to think of marbling as something that lives only in the endpapers of old books, did you know it is still practiced today? In fact, there are contemporary marbling artists all over the world, whose creations will take your breath away.

Marbling is done by layering paint on top of water or oil (contained in a deep tray), and carefully applying, then removing, a sheet of paper (or other material). There is a LOT more to it than that, but that’s the basic concept. Here’s what wikipedia says about it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_marbling

Studio Robert Wu – Toronto, Canada
I was first introduced to Robert Wu’s work as a student at the University of Toronto’s iSchool. Our professor brought in some of Mr. Wu’s work, and I was instantly mesmerized by it:

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The Marbling Art of Robert Wu (8 of 39)      http://studiorobertwu.blogspot.ca

I went home that night and scoured studiorobertwu.com, amazed by what I saw. I decided that as a bibliophile, my home library (paltry though it is) would never be complete without at least one of Mr. Wu’s creations on the wall. I have not yet taken that step, but that’s only because my ‘favourite’ often changes – there are so many to choose from:

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Under the Willow Tree (22 of 39)       http://studiorobertwu.blogspot.ca

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Peacock (17 of 39)          http://studiorobertwu.blogspot.ca

Studio Robert Wu not only does marbling that is suitable to hang on the walls in your home, but Mr. Wu also does endpapers, bookbinding, miniature works, and more. I highly recommend you check out his website or Etsy page. Or go to @studio_robert_wu on Instagram for some neat videos and more beautiful art.

Jemma Lewis Marbling & DesignWiltshire, England
Jemma Lewis is another marbling artist, whose media include not only paper, but also textiles. And not just paper for endpapers, but dictionary pages, pages from children’s books, you name it.

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Hand Marbled Silk No. 3 from Jemma Lewis Marbling and Design

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‘Purple Bouquet’ peacock pattern from Jemma Lewis Marbling and Design

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Marbled Children’s Book Page ‘Secret Seven’ from Jemma Lewis Marbling and Design

I just can’t believe the talent and skill that goes into these creations, and I hope that more people become acquainted with this art form so that it gets the attention it deserves. My goals for owning marbled art keep expanding, with every new marbling artist I discover! Check out Jemma’s Instagram account @jemmalewismarbling, as well as her website to see more stunning examples of her work.

KatyEbruSiberia, Russia
Katerina Savelyeva practices Ebru, which I understand is the Turkish word or term for marbling. Katy also has an Instagram presence @katyebru, and the artwork displayed on her account is absolutely gorgeous. Some of the videos help to show the scope of her work, as well. Although a lot of Katy’s website is in Russian, the pictures don’t need translations to show more beautiful examples of marbling art and technique.

I hope these pictures and links have provided a nice change from the everyday for you. And if you happen to come across a book with marbled endpapers, maybe you’ll take it home with a renewed appreciation for the artist, and the talent that went into it.

 

Book Art: Malena Valcarcel

It’s been far too long since I’ve done a post on Book Art (almost exactly a year, oh my!), but I realized that although I have admired the gorgeous creations of this artist for some time, I somehow failed to do a post about them.

Malena Valcarcel is a book artist from Spain, and has a wonderful shop on Etsy. For the exceptional quality of work, her items are very reasonably priced. She even makes jewelry! Click on the pictures to go to the items on Malena’s website.

This is one of my favorites:
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And look at this one. Amazing!
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Malena’s work is incredible and ships anywhere in the world. I hope you have enjoyed looking at these treasures, and I also hope you head over to Etsy and treat yourself to some bookish art! 😉

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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

Book Art: Altered Books

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.

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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!

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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!