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Book Sculptures From Playing With Books

In addition to guiding readers through a variety of book projects, the art book and craft guide Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book showcases sculptures by thirty-three artists—from kinetic sculptures fashioned using vintage hardcovers to a gown of deconstructed telephone directories to open books bursting with flora.

  • 1 of 10"A Secret Heliotropism" by Nicola Dale
    Credit: Nicola Dale

    "A Secret Heliotropism" by Nicola Dale

    Nicola Dale describes this book sculpture, comprised of leaf patterns painstakingly cut from 320 pages, as "a visual analogy for the constantly shifting way in which we understand events in history, which changes depending on our position—geographical, political, moral, or philosophical. Just as a flower follows the sun round the sky, we too change the meaning of historical events to suit ourselves."

  • 2 of 10"Braque" by Robert The
    Credit: Robert The

    "Braque" by Robert The

    Robert The describes his works as "precision vandalized book de/reconstructions and reanimations."

  • 3 of 10"Braque" by Robert The
    Credit: Robert The

    "Braque" by Robert The

    The's scorpion sculpture was made using a book on the late French artist Georges Braque.

  • 4 of 10"Cream: A Study in Instant Gratification" by Casey Curran
    Credit: Casey Curran

    "Cream: A Study in Instant Gratification" by Casey Curran

    Casey Curran's sculptures are focused on relationships between "literature, philosophy, and nature...highlighted in kinetic environments," according to her artist's statement.

  • 5 of 10"Dick and Jane Have a New Game" by Casey Curran

    "Dick and Jane Have a New Game" by Casey Curran

    Curran has used vintage books such as Brave New World, The Philosophy of Nietzsche, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Last Puritan, and the early reader Fun With Dick and Jane, to compose her kinetic works.

  • 6 of 10"Erotic Art of the Masters" by Robert The
    Credit: Robert The

    "Erotic Art of the Masters" by Robert The

    "Books—many culled from dumpsters and thrift store bins—are lovingly vandalized back to life," says The of his process, "so they can assert themselves against the culture which turned them into debris."

  • 7 of 10"Erotic Art of the Masters" by Robert The
    Credit: Robert The

    "Erotic Art of the Masters" by Robert The

    The's lobster sculpture was cut from Erotic Art of the Masters (L. Stuart, 1974), a survey of eighteenth- through twentieth-century art that features works by Édouard Manet, René Magritte, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Andy Warhol, among other artists.

  • 8 of 10"Flashback III" by Nicola Dale
    Credit: Nicola Dale

    "Flashback III" by Nicola Dale

    Dale's Flashback series was "inspired by the fear that books, and thus knowledge they contain, are being destroyed."

  • 9 of 10"Flashback XIII" by Nicola Dale
    Credit: Nicola Dale

    "Flashback XIII" by Nicola Dale

    Dale's work with books has led her to create a manifesto that includes the guidelines, "Remember that art is the best way of explaining how the world works. Put yourself in the position of the object being made. Keep books in mind."

  • 10 of 10"The World as I See It" by Nicola Dale
    Credit: Nicola Dale

    "The World as I See It" by Nicola Dale

    Dale says in her artist's statement that her book sculptures "deal with themes of originality, authorship, and repetition...because there is always something new to add to the conversation."

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