Create @ the Library, Except this Time @ Home!

A Reading Life blog is supposed to be about reading, right? Well, this post IS about books, and I will mention a few newly added eBooks that relate, but mostly this is about BOOK ART!

For the last five years, I’ve put on a program for adults called ‘Create @ the Library’ in which attendees, a lot of them regulars, complete an art or craft project. We’ve painted, sculpted, worked with clay, paper, mosaic, and cement. We’ve generally had a great time, made new friends, and realized how creative we can be. Each April we focus on a recycled book themed art or craft project to celebrate National Library Week, and this year, although the library is closed, I still wanted to share the project we had planned, ‘Book Folding Fun’. You can do this project at home, with just a few common supplies. Below is a narrated presentation that walks you through all the steps. You can also view this video, and many more, on the Library’s YouTube Channel.

If that’s not enough creating with books for you, check out these just added eBook titles from Overdrive and cloudLibrary.

There seems to be a dearth of book folding books out there, and even fewer in digital format. The first one on the list, Book Origami : The Art of Folding Books by John M Green, contains patterns for numbers, letters, animals, and shapes. He also explains making your own designs. It’s not a very visually exciting book but at least it has patterns. Green uses a whole different method – one I have not tried (since I’ve only folded one book myself!) – so be ready to learn if you want to use his patterns.

Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson, contains all sorts of creative projects involving books, including cutting them into sculptural shapes, reusing paperback covers for postcards, making a book into a pocketbook, and a book jacket into a billfold. The introduction contains a passage that caught my eye:

“We cannot hope to save all the books from the landfill – this is a Sisyphean task. But we can be inspired by the creativity of these artists, who reinterpret both lowly and lofty books into something more.”

The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti is a book I have checked out before in a non-digital format and enjoyed. There are lots of fun projects including hanging and wall sculptures made of books and book pages.

Art Made from Books: Altered, Sculpted, Carved, Transformed by Laura Heyenga is not a project book, but a showcase of serious art made by artists in which books are used to create some amazing works. I haven’t had a chance to look at this one yet because it is already checked out.


Lastly, I wanted to share some images of book art made by one of Everett Public Library’s staff members. Although I am a beginner at the art of book folding, Kim, who works in the technical services department, is super talented at this craft. She has years of experience, and has made many challenging and amazingly complex designs. You may have seen them displayed at the library at times.

She has even made portraits of friends and family members! Now that’s talent!

If you are craving a creative project, take a look around your place and see if there are some outdated books you could repurpose into art. There’s something really appealing about the printed page that goes beyond the words themselves.

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