Are Those Books Hanging on the Wall?

I saw something I'd never seen before when browsing the newest issue Paper Art (formerly I {Heart} Paper). Until I saw the book shown below, I had never thought of using a book that's bound for the recycling bin in this way. And then I looked closer. Intricate designs now glorified the pages that were once flat and hidden within the covers. The pages spilled out as if the story itself couldn’t be contained inside. And it looked cool. Like a bouquet of flowers preserved from one’s wedding day, the sculptured book is proud. “Don’t put me on a shelf,” it says. It’s meant to be displayed.

Book art by Kathy Baker-Addy ( Click here to
share this cool idea on Pinterest! 

The artist who grabbed my attention so abruptly with this piece is Kathy Baker-Addy, who shares her love of altered books. “A few years back I found myself in Bisbee, Arizona, the week before a benefit held by the Friends of the Copper Queen Library,” she says. “The community was called upon to create art using old books for a silent auction. Though I had become familiar with altered books on the web, I usually worked with paint and fibers. Nevertheless, with a design in mind, I decided to try my hand at it.

“Since I was traveling my tools were limited, but I got busy with a handsaw and within a week I turned an old book into a vase full of paper flowers. This project opened up my creativity, and since then I have experimented with many different altered book techniques: journaling, paper designs, quilling, and collage. I’ve also made a different kind of three-dimensional altered book, finding inspiration everywhere—spring flowers, the nighttime sky, even a friend’s long curly locks.

"The altered book pages relax as they hang," says
Kathy, "so they will slightly lower in the coming
days than when you first take them out of the clips."

“The real challenge in creating these altered books is cutting and folding the pages while they remain in the book. I use a subtractive approach, cutting pieces of the book pages away, to create my three-dimensional designs.”

Kathy goes on to give a step-by-step lesson on how to make altered books such as the one featured in Paper Art (click here to get your copy now). Thrift stores and flea markets are great places to look for books to repurpose. I think I might have to take a trip to one of those places and hunt for the perfect book to turn into an altered art piece.

Your book-loving friend,


3D Art and Assemblage, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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