Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Art in the Library

What do you get when you cross AP creativity with library resourcefulness? A sculpture made entirely of upcycled books depicting a mermaid-pirate on her tropical oasis - obviously. I swoon over book art and artist's books or anything that combines the written word and fine art for that matter, but when I saw this site of the  Most inspiring book sculptures , I felt compelled to get Ms. Srtuck's AP studio art kids to indulge in the idea. And that they did - check it out!

Detail of palm trees

A dragon fly detail

From 2011-2013, an anonymous artist left 10 beautiful book sculptures at libraries in and around Edinburgh, Scotland. Poetree, seen below, was the first of the ten. A delicate paper tree with a cracked open egg aside it. There was a gift tag attached which read:
"We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books...a book is so much more than pages full of words...This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas...a gesture (poetic maybe?)"


Truly exquisite, right? Just for the record, we Pesky Librarians would not be opposed to receiving any such anonymous sculptures from you!

Another variation on fine arts and books is Book Art, which refers to the physical book itself as a work of art.  If this catches your interest, look no further than the Victoria & Albert Museum's collection of artist's books V&A book arts.

In the meantime, stop by to see the work of your friends and imagine the book anew. Just don't take up the exacto knife just yet! See us if you are interested in making something similar as we can certainly provide you with the right stuff!

These days the very notion of the traditional book is constantly challenged, but I beg you to see validity in the book for its many virtues. The very concept of book art seems to be at the crux of what a book and a library could and should be, as it asks us to reflect on information resourcing and creativity. As the anonymous Scottish book sculptor suggests, a book is more than just a book after all! And the library - we like to think is a special kind of building, to inspire those who enter. To escape, to dream, to ponder and to create! Thanks for checking in and checking out!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Year's Gifts

Last year, while visiting China, Dr. Quimby received a very beautiful and symbolic gift from the Hua Family of Bejing, in the form of a silk and brocade long scroll representing the "Painting of Dwelling in Mount Fuchun". The scroll was gifted to the Pescosolido Library and is now on display in the study nook next to the circulation desk. 

The scroll is a facsimile of the most famous work of Huang Gongwang (1269-1354) and renders what is a now a fragmented painting into a singular landscape as it was first created. "Dwelling in Mount Fuchon" is often referred to as a masterpiece of Chinese landscape painting and depicts the area around the Fuchun River in the central Zhejiang Providence. The painting was burnt in 1650 and the remnants existed in separate hands for 350 years, but has recently been exhibited as one in the National Palace Museum.

After talking with Fine Arts faculty member Joe Repczynski, it was decided to make a formal display for the scroll in the library using student carpentry.   The project didn't begin in earnest until the middle of the first semester this year when Zane Nishan, a junior, was selected to create the display.  A member of the Carpentry for Theatre course, Zane researched the project proposal and hit the ground running.  

Using new skills in biscuit joinery, he first fashioned a display surface out of maple (a light colored wood in wide use in the library).  After setting up the dado blades on the table saw he created grooves in that surface in order to inlay darker walnut strips and a lip to keep the scroll from falling.  

Over two months he glued, sanded, and finished the display as his classroom project.  We're still waiting for the acrylic hinges to arrive for a plexi-glass cover, but you can already see his fantastic installation and the scroll on display.

We feel so lucky to such gifts bestowed on us. Perhaps we should play the Powerball!

Stop by to see a gift from China and the master craftsmanship of a peer! GREAT JOB, and thank you for all the hard work, Zane!