Sunday, March 28, 2010

something unspeakable

i still can't quite believe i did this. books have held near-religious significance my whole life. you do not write in books. you do not dog-ear the corners. you do not crease the pages as you turn them. you do not break the spine by leaving it open face down to keep your page (it's called a bookmark!). i exaggerate a little but if you look at the condition of books in my house, or in my childhood home you would understand what good care we take of our books.

enter stage left a very worn copy of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland found at a garage sale featuring original illustrations by John Tenniel. the book's cover was broken. pages were near falling out, very discoloured and brittle.

and so i took it apart (gasp) first by cutting out all the illustrations (double gasp) for another project, then removing the beautifully warn cover (triple gasp) and finally be folding the pages to create a book sculpture of a kind i have seen duplicated a lot lately mainly in store front displays (no more breath for gasping).

and why would i do something so bookishly blasphemous?! well... the book was virtually unreadable. you literally would have had pages falling into your hands as you tried to read. and the illustrations are so charming i wanted to be able to access them but couldn't while contained in a book i wasn't able to crack open more than a couple inches. this was no rare copy, it doesn't even contain all the original illustrations since it is an anthology of both "Alice in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass".

so i figured why not do something interesting and beautiful with this book that is past its original use...

and simultaneously get in on this renewed hype for the story caused by the film release.

as you can tell by the preamble, the idea of this project still makes me uncomfortable even though i'm finished defacing the book. however it was a fun thing to do with my hands as i listened to the latest podcasts on radiolab, a recent addiction.

if you've never listened to radiolab, you totally should, it will grow your mind. if you don't like the idea of folding books, i wouldn't start now... unless you happen across some books that are about to be tossed out anyways.