Altered Book Art projects are currently on display on the first floor of Van Wylen Library until March 15. The exhibit features the work of Stephanie Milanowski’s Design II students.
For this project, students must take old books and use them to make a variety of sculptures. Many look like books; however, some take on a completely new look, including a tea cup, a balloon, and a sheet of dots wrapper candy.
Milanowski assigns the project just as she was assigned it during her time at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her teacher Jan Baker had students find a used book and transform it into something new.
Why books? Milanowski explains: “Books to me cover all aspects of graphic design – typography, paper, folding, binding, ink, cloth, adhesive, humor, suspense, drama, rhythm…they’re visual communicators. Transforming a ‘used book’ is a visual problem students solve through the understanding of basic design principles and elements, the history of artists’ books, how books are constructed and ultimately defining what a book means to them.”
The goal of the project is to stretch one’s imagination and inspire the creative use of materials, and most important to Milanowski, to see things differently. “The transformation that occurs through this project is not only the actual artist book but the artist as well,” said Milanowski.
One book in the display will be chosen by a jury to be a part of the Hope College Van Wylen Library Altered Book Art Collection. This collection began two years ago with Karly Welke’s winning entry featuring needles on the cover of a needlepoint book. Last year, Justin Korver and his piece “White Elephant: Beautiful Obligation” shared the honors with Becca Hawkins’s “The real reason I dance is because I want to explode.”
Be sure to check out Van Wylen’s collection if you are interested in materials related to altered books or artists’ books. If you want to try your hand at altered book art yourself, check out the techniques in Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing and Reimagining the Book, by Jason Thompson.
–Madalyn Muncy, Library Student Blogger