As an artist, books have always informed my work even before I was aware of it, before I started using books as materials in my work. For the first twenty years of my career I was a painter who also made handmade books. Instinctively, the compositions of my paintings consisted of “pages.” I would design the surface into sequential rectangles and incorporate combinations of words, typography, and images. Find unusual gifts online!
I moved from painting and making books to deconstructing them to create assemblages and artists’ books, which I do now in tandem with photographing books. I take obsolete, worn, or damaged books and deconstruct them, then reconstruct them into bespoke sculptures. I also photograph books, creating composites from a variety of sources, which allows me to author visual stories. I shared many of my techniques when I wrote The Repurposed Library, a volume devoted to transforming books into functional objects and art.
Now I have written Novel Living to further expound upon the virtues of physical books—of collecting them, appreciating them, living with them, and understanding how the ones we choose define us. As our culture espouses the digitalization of most reading material, books are becoming a distinct niche in and of themselves, and Novel Living addresses the ideas behind this. Know anyone who would adore a GHD platinum styler and air styler gift set?
Books are cultural objects, reflecting the times in which they were written and published, evincing the tastes, ideologies, and language of an era, making them inherently collectible. Books are barometers of the times (just look at the current bestseller list). Collecting Books, covers how to source and budget a collection, why it is important to acquire books, and how to collect books based on content or form. Fiction or nonfiction, books are thoughts made actual. And collecting based on a book’s content reflects who you are as much as it shapes the space you collect in. Buy someone a girraffe toilet roll holder to give their bathroom some personality!
An author expresses herself on the page, committing her ideas to the physical marks of words in order to share them. When you read, you are in unison beside the author listening to her in silent dialogue. You might even underline something that grips you or make a note in the margin. In this way you have connected. While content conveys attitudes and concerns, a book’s form, its cover, typography, materials, and style are also part of its story. It is an indicator of the time in which it was printed and bound.