Sculpting Books

When I was in high school, we had little diaries to keep up to date on deadlines. Soon enough, people started folding the pages to vary a side of the book and create designs. Remembering them, and inspired by an image I found for my previous post, I wanted to present the variation of things that others have created with pages of books. A warning, though: if you’re someone who hates those who fold the corner of a page of their book, this post might not be for you.


I came across a number of ways in which artists have sculpted the pages of books in order to turn the textual into visual. The first relates to pop-up books, but obviously only uses the paper of the one book itself. Susan Blackwell often touches her art with an added stroke of life by incorporating light in them. Swipe through the following images to see!

Blackwell’s work with paper is delicate and astounding at the same time. Some pieces even hold themselves above the book with which the artist worked, adding to the magic of the piece. She ensures that she only manipulates old books which are on the verge of being destroyed, and with which she feels some form of connection to, and then provides them with new meaning. The artist’s work has been displayed in galleries, and also plays on tales that require imagination, such as those of discovering golden treasure on fantastic voyages. Read more about the background of her art here and don’t forget to visit her official website, from which I found some of the images of her work.*


Other artists have taken to carving an image based on the plot of the book that they are using; they create still images that bring certain scenes from the books to life by using the book’s own pages. The artwork is therefore literal (literally literal – sorry) and metaphorical. Jamie Bhannigan has created a range of sculptures based on popular books, my favourites being based on the Harry Potter series. (Visit his official website to see and find out more.)

The final approach towards creating art with books that I came across is more inverted in its nature. Isobelle Ouzman “alters” books so that their true depths are revealed once you peer into them. The artist has also based her art on popular stories such as The Secret Garden. Find out more about her beautiful work through her website.


All three artists are drawn to worlds from fairytales and create art that represents this. Another piece I found embodies the story of Peter Pan, which was one of my favourite fairytales growing up. It was created by an anonymous Scottish artist who left her detailed designs in Edinburgh’s literary locations. Read more about her here and see more of her stunning work!


All of the artists’ pieces are so intricate and they dedicate months to each sculpture, but what I find even more incredible is their creativity. The artists bring a new sense of life to the books, creating sculptures which pour out stunning imagination; how beautiful it must be to look at such art and know that your hands made it all.


If you would like to have a turn at creating such sculptures, there are lots of tutorials and templates (some to purchase through sites such as Etsy) online! 


Featured image: credit
Image of folded deer design: credit
*Image of architectural design: credit / Image of blooming flower design: credit

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