Books as Art: Beautiful Forms, Papers, and Stories, in Paper


Books as Art: Beautiful Forms, Papers, and Stories, in Paper

books-as-artBooks can tell us stories, not only through the words printed on their pages, but also through the materials used to create pages, also often the unusual forms. Sadly for me, it wasn’t until grad school that I came across the idea of books as an art form. I listened with envy to classmates who were creating experimental books with materials they had collected, that ultimately told a story through the materials instead of words. Much as I would have loved to have taken that class, it wasn’t possible, but the idea has spurred me on to see what I could do.

For inspiration, once I again I went to Pinterest. I found some lovely examples and started to create this board so I had a place to keep all my findings. It has started to include ways to bind books and patterns for books, so is no longer purely about art books, but is still a board I love to revisit. For reasons I now forget, it doesn’t include any photos of books I’ve handmade, only books I’ve created digitally. I clearly need to upload photos of my work!

In my quest to create beautiful books, I learned how to use a letterpress machine. Sadly they are too expensive for home use, but there is something very satisfying about setting up the wooden letters and shapes to create a magically embossed piece of paper. As a class project we created a series of “Ben-isms” – University of Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin, sayings of Ben Franklin… It was a fun project!

If you would like to make a to begin here is a great tutorial for making a basic book. Once made, look around to see what you can add to it, decorate it with. Even if you don’t feel your finished book is a piece of art, you will have started along this fascinating road of books as art!




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