05 November 2012

book sculptures


I've always loved books, but now I'm falling in love with altering books, folding books, transforming books... All I've done so far is fold them into new shapes and photograph them ~ I haven't even added any color to them yet or experimented with scissors, embellishments or inks ~ but I'm in love with the process and the resulting shapes, texture, and transformation into a new geometry.

It was a little hard to transform my first book, as I've always respected books and tried to keep them from not getting bent and torn. So far, I'm only using old, rescued books that were destined for the rubbish bin. They're actually good books (I'm reading them before I fold them) which somehow makes me more appreciative of their new shapes. 



I'd been admiring Bronia Sawyer's book sculptures for the past couple years and was delighted when she wrote to me about my painted autumn leaves. She's always impressing me with the beautiful and imaginative things she does with books. Some of my favorite works of hers were recently featured on Discover Paper with an insightful interview. As we were talking together, the idea emerged to combine the two ~ books and leaves ~ and share our creations with each other. We wanted to put something together fairly quickly, so the time limit pushed me to get started right away.


With my first attempt, I've come up with a book sculpture still life. I liked the idea that the books are natural objects found in a surreal landscape. I would like to keep pursuing this combination of topics since this is just my first try and I've only barely scratched the surface of the leaf/book connection. Trees/words, leaves/books, paper/bark, poetry/flowers, seeds/ideas... it's quite intriguing!




The folded books have an organic, moody sort of feeling, as though they are cousins to the natural world (and I suppose they are, having their origins in wood, ink and ideas). Perhaps because of the stories they contain, they seem to have a rich inner life and a personal history.

After I folded my first book, I felt such an affinity for it. I carried it back and forth to work with me each day so I could have it near me and think it over. Then I folded another, trying something slightly different, and then another that failed (the book was too old and the pages too brittle). Finally, I folded one more in a taller shape and photographed them all together.

Bountiful Harvest

This book landscape reminds me of a harvest, which I didn't plan in advance but which hit me after I put the books and leaves in front of the big sky. (The background is a photo from our road trip last year, passing through Nevada on our way to Park City, Utah).

I love how dramatic these book shapes are, all on their own. It's fun to give them new settings and meaning. I'm looking forward to seeing Bronia's books-and-leaves combo and will share my next steps into the book sculpture world as I make further explorations!

14 comments:

naturesmyfriend said...

I love how inspired you seem to be by Autumn!!! is fall your favorite time of year?! I love book art, it is a medium that i reallllly enjoy, but struggle selling it, as people often don't have experience with the medium of "book art." I love these first few pieces, and hope to see your exploring and making more in the future!!!

kimi said...

Thanks for stopping by the blog, Jessica! I am definitely enjoying autumn this year ~ so sweet of you to notice. ^_^ It's hard to believe your gorgeous altered books don't sell as much as your other work. I love how you pick out words to create a painting and poem. I'm wondering if it's a matter of how to display them since they probably don't hang like a traditional painting? Your books are gorgeous so I do hope you make more. I'm looking forward to experimenting in that direction in the future, too!

SaylorMade said...

My mother worked at a charity book sale for years. Much of her time was spent sorting the sellable books and moving the unsellable ones to giveaway and rubbish piles. She brought me back a few goodies here and there. I understand feeling guilty about chopping them up, but they are now getting a second life and becoming another form of art. I'd like the think they are much happier in this form than recycled into paper towels, non?

Lovely work as usual, Kimi!

Valerie Storey said...

Oh,I love this idea. Believe it or not you just reminded me that when I was in elementary school we made Christmas angels from old Reader's Digest magazines using this same technique. I'd forgotten all about it! Now I want to try all over again. Thanks for the inspiration.

kimi said...

Christmas angel books sounds like a very fun project to try! Maybe I can use my books again in some new winter settings. :) Thanks so much for coming by my blog, Valerie! So nice to hear from you. xo

kimi said...

Hi Jeannine! Yes, I'm not cringing quite as much now when I pluck a new one to fold. I'd like to try to cut some down and possibly make some small ornaments for the tree this year. We'll see how that works out (if the cutter can get through and if the binding stays together). You are right, I think giving them an artistic form is definitely better than simply returning them to a pulp. It's always hard to throw away a book!

ti-igra said...

Hi, sweetie! This is an another book's life! :) looks like they begings from the plane - to the volume in space. Just amazing! :)
Now the words that are printed on pages created a new story! :)))) COOL!

kimi said...

Hi Ira! I hadn't thought about it that way ~ from 2D to 3D ~ such a neat way of putting it. It is like a new life for them, isn't it? ^_^

ejorpin said...

These are wonderful Kimi! I love the texture and shape, the play of shadows, and the way they carry their history with them (or 'tell a story' to use a bad pun!). I do like the cut leaf too, just lovely!

WindFlower7 said...

So creative as you are always. This is a modern art.

kimi said...

Thank you, Emily! I am going to use some book pages in my mail art to you (long overdue, forgive me!) and am also inspired by your recent whale-watching trip. :)

kimi said...

You're too kind, Chiori. We should get together some day soon! Miss you, D & E! <3

Mariana Casale O'Ryan said...

Hi Kimi
I came across your beautiful book sculptures this morning as I was searching for an image to illustrate a flyer for our local library. I wondered whether you would give us your permission to use it? It is to let people know about Autumn Short Stories Reading Groups here in Worsley, UK, where I live. The image would, of course, be accompanied by its credit saying 'Image by Kimi Kobashi'. I didn't want to just take it without asking as it is your lovely work. Thank you for considering this.
Mariana x

kimi said...

Hello Mariana,
I practically grew up at the local library, so I would love to support your short stories reading group. You may use any of the book sculpture photos that you like and I do appreciate that you asked and will give me a small credit. How lovely! If you need a larger file than what you can pull off the blog, please send me an email at kimikobashi{at}ymail{dot}com and I will try to accommodate. Happy reading!