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.

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."

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

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

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

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.

"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."

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.

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

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."

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."