Pumpkin as a Centerpiece

I first have to say that I found a lot of books that were amazing, and really are works of art. One book that I found that I loved was from Fuck Yeah, Book Arts! It was of a book turned into a pumpkin. Here’s the link if you want to check it out: http://fuckyeahbookarts.tumblr.com/post/33990319655/medium-pumpkin-made-from-books. I liked it for several reasons, the first of which is because I like pumpkins and fall-related things, and another reason is because I admire the skill and the time it must have took to make such a thing. I wonder at how one would even begin. The world of book arts is very new to me, and I’m not particularly arts and craftsy, so the creation of this pumpkin-shaped book looks like a very daunting task. I know the pages were shaped and dyed orange to create the look and that the stem and small vine-line like pieces were dyed green as well. It looks as if the sticks forming the stem could’ve been found outside and the twine (vine-like pieces) is holding the pages/pumpkin together. At any rate, if for nothing else, it could serve as a lovely decoration in someone’s home. I wanted to know who designed this, but all I could find out about this book was who posted it, and that wasn’t helpful. So since I couldn’t find much on the artist, I had to look for another book.

I found a website called www.philobiblon.com/ and started looking around. I saw a book that’s design isn’t too wild, but is generally different in appearance from most books you see today. The book is by an artist named Anna Embree, who is actually a teacher of bookbinding for the University of Alabama in their MFA program. I further learned that the University of Alabama has an entire program devoted to book arts, which I found astounding since I’d never heard of such a thing, let alone such a major, before. On their website, they offered a brief bio about her career, and it turns out she got a B.A. in Art and a Masters degree in Textiles and Clothing. She then went onto get a Graduate Certificate in Book Arts and Technology and completed a four-year apprenticeship in bookbinding. The reason I share this information is because I was amazed that this woman made a career out of it—it’s not just a hobby to her. What’s even more amazing to me is that she finished her apprenticeship in 2003, which was only ten years ago, and the aesthetics of books have changed so much since then (mostly due to technology and subsequently e-books). I wonder how she must have felt when e-books and e-ink technology came out.

So back to the book itself for a moment. It looks like a hard cover and, if it were an
animal, would look like a peacock in that it has those deep jewel-tone blues and greens. The cover itself has circular ridges all over it, and practically begs to be felt. While the design is more tame than some of the other books I looked at, the book appeals to me in terms of practicality. If it were a “real book” or a “normal book” (if that sounds better) I could still read it without messing up its design, and I would still consider it to be a more beautiful book compared to the ones that I own. Overall, I enjoyed learning about this new world of book art and am amazed by people who can create such beautiful art by using books as their primary source of material.

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1 comment
  1. meredithpurvis said:

    It is absolutely stunning what some people are able to do with old books–the way they alter them and turn them into something sculptural is very cool. I’m also glad you found Philobiblon. It’s a fantastic website for book artists/binders. And I love that book by Anna Embree that you picked out. We’ll be doing some work with decorating your own papers this semester, and her cover is a great example of that.

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