Musings on children's and YA literature, the academy, and the relationship between them, from an English professor and mother.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Book Art

Many years ago a friend gave me a copy of A Humument, a "treated book by British artist Tom Phillips based on the Victorian novel 'A Human Document' by W.H. Mallock." In those pre-internet days, what she gave me was a bound paperback book, a reproduction of, I believe, one of the first books Phillips treated. It was not really readable as a book, but was an astonishing work of art, something one could return to again and again.

A year or two ago my daughter told me she was interested in "altered books," and I eventually figured out she meant the same thing that Phillips had done. She began working on one, and I gave her my copy of A Humument to explore. Then a student showed me a piece she'd done in a mixed media workshop that similarly altered and revised published work.

But nothing I'd seen before prepared me for some of these new uses for books. Like Betsy at Fuse8 (where I originally saw this), I especially like the tea party. But some of the furniture and sculptures are well worth checking out, too.

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