Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Beautiful Books, Beautiful Art

Sondra Sherman Book Art Found Objects

So, I know there are some purists out there who consider books to be sacred objects. You know those people, the ones who don't allow highlighting or notes in the margins or heaven forbid (!) cracking the spine or bending a page!

And, cutting up a book for the sake of art? Unthinkable!

My love of books obviously begins with a love of reading. I think that's true for most book lovers. We love the physical books for the stories and the words they hold, and the two are so inherently mixed that it's hard to distinguish the one from the other.

But in the past year I've been thinking a lot about how my love for books as physical objects is actually separate from my love of the stories and words within them. There are two significant factors that helped me realize these were two separate loves.

First was my belated appreciation for pretty and well-made books as aesthetically pleasing objects that I wanted in my home for purposes of decor, not content (you can read a bit about that revelation here, and more on our Book Blab episode about pretty books here).

But second is that in the past year or so, my consumption of "books" has been almost completely electronic. I'm in a stage right now where almost all my reading happens by listening to audio books which means I'm rarely ever actually holding a physical book. I've also consumed quite a few e-books, which does involve a little bit more of a physical object, but we all can agree that e-books are just not the same as paper books. It's a strange phenomena of this digital age we are living in, where stories no longer have to live inside the physical pages of a book.

What it's made me realize is that I love and appreciate physical books sometimes for the words in them, but sometimes just because they are books, and books are beautiful objects. I love them as books, but I also love them as art objects (I'm certainly not above cutting up books for art/decor projects for my home).

So I was pleased as punch to stumble across this lovely exhibit at a local museum on our preschool field trip this morning. The artist, Sondra Sherman, is actually a jewelry maker who was inspired by the vintage books in her library to create these pieces, and then display them in the books they were inspired by. It's a beautiful instance of the words in books inspiring art and then the physical books becoming part of the art they inspired. Kind of circular, but in a way I totally dig. Since I'm assuming most of my readers don't live in Houston and won't ever get to see this exhibit, please enjoy these (super high quality cell phone) pics of my favorite pieces.

Sondra Sherman Book Art Found Objects

Sondra Sherman Book Art Found Objects

Sondra Sherman Book Art Found Objects

Sondra Sherman Book Art Found Objects

I think that last one is my favorite, because I have a thing for maps too. And travel.

What are your opinions on books being used for art? Do you like it, or does it fill your soul with wrath for defacement of a sacred object? Any other good book art exhibits/artists I should know about?

P.S. Our next episode of The Book Blab is going to be this Friday, March 11th. We had great success with our morning slot, so we're trying it again. Join us live at 10:30 AM (Central Time), and let's all cross our fingers my baby actually takes his morning nap this time so he won't be the cute distraction/uninvited guest he was in our last episode.

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