Five Beautiful Bookish Sculptures (Made with Real Books)

Posted by Gemma Noon

I hate to admit this, but books have a—pun intended—shelf life. Sometimes they are damaged by accident and sometimes they just don't stand up to the passage of time. However, there are some incredible artists out there who make old books beautiful again by using them as a medium for awesome sculptures. Here's a taste of what five of these super talented people have produced.

Alicia Martin – Biografias: The Spanish based artist Alicia Martin has made a series of book sculptures over the years. This site-specific installation at Casa de America, Madrid, is one of her most striking works, and serves as a cautionary tale of what happens if you give a bibliophile an unlimited book buying budget.

Mike Stilkey – The Piano Has Been Drinking: Los Angeles artist Mike Stilkey quite literally uses old and discarded books as a canvas for his art. He stacks them up – sometimes using three to five thousand books to make his background – and then uses acrylics to paint people and animals reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie over the surface. Most of his books are sourced from local libraries and thrift stores.

Brian Dettmer – The Living Past: Brian Dettmer plays with old books by cutting away to reveal select words, phrases and images from the original text. He uses the contents of the book to play with the original message, which results in a surreal sculpture where new meaning is given to the lost writing and information.

Guy Laramee  – Longmen: Guy Laramee of Montreal, Canada, carves beautiful landscapes from old encyclopedias . This work, Longmen, comes from his Great Wall collection, in which Guy Lamarre imagined a future where the USA built their own Great Wall, much like China's, around their nation in the 23rd century.

The result is beautiful sculptures that quite literally spring forth from the pages of these old tomes of knowledge.

Jodi Harvey-Brown – Game of Thrones: Pennsylvania based artist Jodi Harvey-Brown believes whole heartedly that in a good book, characters should come to life. She combines her loves of art and literature to create some stunning pieces of sculpture, such as this beautiful Game of Thrones piece showing off Daenerys Targaryen.

The best bit about Jodi's work, though? She's available to do commission pieces through her Etsy store – so now you know what to buy the book lover in your life who thought they had it all.

So if you could see any book – or set of books – turned into a sculpture, what would it be and why?