Book Arts Eye Candy

Su Blackwell is a jaw-dropping paper artist who uses books the way other artists use canvas and clay. She’s got an extensive repertoire, but my favorites are the fragile truth she tells about fear and vulnerability by using pages from old books.

The light on the wolf makes the shadow large and scary, for the viewer as well as for Red Riding Hood.

”I often work within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore. I began making a series of book-sculpture, cutting-out images from old books to create three-dimensional dioramas, and displaying them inside wooden boxes”.

”For the cut-out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and choice of subtle colour.”

The paper in her work is often left in its original color with the original print on it. It gives her artwork a sense of freshness and raw emotion.

Hedi Kyle is an inventor of the possibilities of paper. She invented the flag book structure, blizzard book and spider book. The flag book is a fascinating shape in which pages travel in different directions at the same time. Kyle spent most of her life inventing new books in new materials.

Hedi Kyle's amazing mica book for Bind-O-Rama

This one is made of mica already scribed on. It allowed Kyle to explore a book as a transparent screen.  “I often envision the flag book as a movable screen to define space. Light and shadow capture my interest. At Penland I came across pieces of mica with inherent markings. They were transformed into this flag book.” [quote from Flagbook Bind-O-Rama.]

I love Brian Dettmer. So does anyone who has ever watched him perform the anatomy of a book or seen the results. In The Donut Project, you can see a step-by-step of his work.

Brian Dettmer defies gravity and creates art with old books.

Best of all, at the end of the article, there is a link to Dettmer’s Flickr site. Amazing work.

Matsaaki Tatsumi is an artist who, like Dettmer, cuts. His papers are cut into thin strips, arranged, and then lit to form otherwordly effects.  In all fairness, I should mention that he also creates edible books out of seaweed.

Cut paper by Matsaaki Tatsumi

My favorites, next to the lit ones, are the sculptures he designs on cardstock. A generous piece of paper is topped by a delicate skyline, often defying gravity.

Quinn McDonald is a writer and certified creativity coach who is in awe every day of the amazing reach of the creative mind.

2 thoughts on “Book Arts Eye Candy

  1. Pingback: Weird Stories Inside Books | Weirdomatic

  2. So I LOVE the folktale, childhood is frightening angle…so true! I so often think about “going back to child-like play”, but seeing these images reminds me of what lurks beyond and is dark in our childhoods…wonderful and rich (and scary!)

    I had the privilegde of seeing Brian Dettmer’s work at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids Michigan…I stood and stared at it for a very long time…no matter what people are saying about ArtPrize, it has allowed my family and me to see artwork that would otherwise not be available to us live

    Thanks for this post, Quinn! It is great to have new artists to see…and learn!

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