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.]
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: