Book art used to refer to artfully made books featuring fine letterpress printing, hand-sewn bindings, beautiful papers and covers. Today it’s as likely to mean art made from recycled books. In the past year or so I’ve noticed decoraters, Etsy crafters, and DIY types cited in news articles, blog posts, and social media for their re-purposed book projects. Many libraries I follow posted photos of their book trees for the holidays.
As a writer, reader and librarian I’ve feel a little Janus-like about this surge of book art. On the one hand, people, these are books you are mutilating. And yet, how pretty, how nice to give books another life. There’s a table in Regina Library that looks as if it is made from giant old volumes and I found myself touching them to see if they were real, torn between wanting them to be and feeling that if they were someone should rescue them.
At GOOD‘s “Intermission” page, Kristy Pyke points visitors to the strangest and yet also most beautiful installation of book art I’ve come across in my internet wanderings. Biografias, a work made of three sculptures in Spain by Alicia Martin, incorporates thousands of books, which look as if they are streaming out of buildings like water. The pages even blow in the wind. I’ve posted one photo below. Take this link to see the rest. What do you think?