The making of a book sculpture, by Emma Taylor

You might know Emma Taylor’s book sculptures. They are lovely creations: intricate, serene, and alive. Her work is reminiscent of the anonymous book art that began appearing in Edinburgh a few years ago, but the identity of the latter remains unknown.

[NB: I initially believed the two artists were the same, and have edited the above to clarify. Sorry about that.]

Emma Taylor - book sculpture - Shadow of the Past

Ms. Taylor has a Tumblr blog showcasing her work: From Within a Book, to which I now direct your attention. The main page has assorted photos, links, and notes, including works in progress. There’s also a selection of completed sculptures. She writes:

To me the possibility of the end of the book is a tragic one; I appreciate books as an object as much as I enjoy the stories and knowledge which they hold.

This appreciation surely grows in those exposed to her art: think how a beginning reader with their first library card would react upon seeing these miniature worlds that seem to grow out of the very pages of each book, the text embodied in a study of itself.

As a child I adored ‘make and do’, tugging and taping paper into all sorts of three-dimensional entities – all quite crude and disposable, but transporting nonetheless. Peggy Nelson, in her analysis of pop-up books, put it nicely: “we were not content with surfaces”.

Here’s a short clip showcasing Taylor’s book sculptures from 2013:

And a longer and very interesting behind-the-scenes video showing step by step how she turned a copy of John Galsworthy’s Swan Song into a ‘Swan Song’ of her own:

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6 Responses to The making of a book sculpture, by Emma Taylor

  1. Sean Jeating says:

    Re Book Sculptures 2013, 0:38: Must be a copy of The Third Policeman. No doubt, these bicycles will get confiscated by Sergeant Pluck.

  2. Anne says:

    Howdy — I sent this post to an artist friend, and now he and I want to know if “make and do” corresponds to US “arts and crafts”, or maybe more like DIY? Any idea? Thanks!

    • Stan says:

      Hi Anne, yes, make and do is the same as arts and crafts. I put the phrase in quotation marks above because I wasn’t sure how widely used it was. It was the usual term I heard as a child, on Irish children’s TV and in school, etc. Later I learned arts and crafts as the more standard phrase.

  3. […] Ever wondered how those amazing book sculptures work? Here’s how. […]

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