Exquisite Art from Old Books

January 9, 2012

When an old book seems         beyond any useful task, too old and yellow to read, with a crumbling cover or a loose binding, most of us will sigh and put it out to book pasture, either through a donation to Amvets (who can even make money off rags) or  reluctantly throw it in the trash! (We’re not speaking of gently used books that should go to EPL booksales.)

Not so for Su Blackwell, a talented British artist who can make a scene from a book come to life directly from the book’s own pages. She clearly is a gifted paper artist, however, with the additional use of lighting, wires, and I don’t know what else, she produces a 3D sense of depth and even motion. Her delicate projects display birds flying or pieces of words floating in the air! See here for a fascinating collection of paper artists, including Blackwell.

I enjoyed her work more than some others who design bizarrely shaped “artwork” with old books. Certainly the range of art value as opposed to plain recycling is seen in these projects, too. I found some items quite unsettling or plain unappealing. Compare the images for yourself.

(Her work is similar to the sculptures posted on Off the Shelf recently, but she’s not leaving them around libraries–they’re too expensive!)

Shira S.

Book Signing Etiquette

September 20, 2011

Is it gauche to ask an author to sign an old book, instead of purchasing a new one at the signing? I’m not sure where I come down on this, because it seems the writer should be thrilled to see a loyal reader. However, the purpose of a public appearance is also to sell new books, a tiring and tedious process, I’m certain. What do you think about this? Leave the old books at home? See the many responses to this post in Publisher’s Weekly. Shira S.

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