Having stepped into the digital age, we are finding that the book is finding a new found use in an alternate form – as Book Work, or art birthed from the manipulation and alteration of the book. Three of Fleetwood Park Secondary’s Library students have worked together to create a work of art – out of an old encyclopedia book. This type of craft is gaining popularity as many reference books are finding themselves outdated and underused, having lost their original function.

Inspiration for this work of art was obtained from a library book entitled “Art made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed” by Laura Heyenga. This book showcases talented and amazing artists who take books apart and manipulate the pages, creating new art forms that tease the eye and boggle the mind with amazing visual appeal.

One might think that with the popularity of the internet, books would become extinct or outdated, but as the author argues, books will stand the test of time. Here she states, “…like painting at the beginning of our last century, it [books] won’t be replaced or even demoted in our cultural hierarchy by a new form…..instead of suffocating painting, printing and photography freed painting from its pedestrian responsibilities and allowed it to evolve into newer, more modern directions….” The same is happening now with the book in the digital age. We have an excess of old material we no longer use and an emergence of new ideas about the book. By altering the book, we can explore the meanings of the material and the idea of the book as a symbol for knowledge.” Old books, beloved as they are, are finding a new future and awakening as a work that not only engages the eye, but also the intellect. With only paper and the blade, these artists are producing amazing work and exploring the boundaries of art and creativity. The book is currently on the Oprah book list. Check it out now!

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