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.
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!