Monday, March 08, 2010

Yet Again More Carved Books

As I've written before the dual role of preschool teacher and artist seems to be a workable one for many of us. Before showing off my latest piece, I wanted to direct you to a fellow teacher-artist named Marla McLean from the Washington, D.C. area. She is a provocative artist who works with sculpture, installation, assemblage, photography and mixed media to create works both jarring and beautiful. As a teacher who blogs about her work with young children, she brings both her artist's skills and artist's sensibilities into the classroom in a way that both honors and inspires her students.

For those of you who haven't seen my own work, I've been exploring altered books for the past couple years. Specifically, I've been using a small, sharp knife to carve into old books -- books destined for the landfill -- to give them new life. This is my latest piece:

A Treasury Of Gilbert & Sullivan

I really need to get in touch with a professional photographer to take these pictures. I find it hard with my limited photography talents and equipment to adequately show the depth and detail. This is a 2.5-inch thick, large format book that only a few days ago included the scores of every Gilbert & Sullivan show ever produced. This is what those scores look like now:

Gilbert & Sullivan's Guts

Actually, this is only part of the "guts," given that I didn't think to take a picture until I'd already sent much of it to the recycling bin . . . But you get the idea.

If you want to look at more of my work, here are previous posts in order of appearance:

Carved Books
Carved Books Again
Even More Carved Books (And A Bonus Owl Photo!)
Yet More Carved Books

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Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

Wow! I'm speechless. That is incredible. I enlarged it and I am in awe of all the detail. So impressive. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

As usual, incredible work Tom. That is impressive.

Unknown said...

These are truly beautiful, Tom! The work looks painstaking, but the results are certainly worth your effort.

Juliet Robertson said...

Hi Tom

These books are beautiful! I like the idea of books having guts!

When I deliver literacy courses, I focus a bit on the use of journals made by the children. I really encourage artistic creativity here - and that depth of perspective - looking through the layers of the journal. However I've taken this concept to a professional level.

Time to be cloned!


PS thanks for your email - will respond shortly!

Juliet Robertson said...

Sorry - big mistake. Sentence should read "You've taken this concept to a professional level" not me! Definitely an amateur by comparison!

Eternal Lizdom said...

The G&S book is BRILLIANT!

Eternal Lizdom said...

Also... have you ever considered taking orders? Or at least selling what you create on Etsy or something?

Teacher Tom said...

Thanks everyone!

@Liz . . . I've sold about half of what I've made so far, mostly through commissions. In other words people have an idea for a book they'd like me to do and if it's appropriate I carve it for them. If you have an idea, let me know . . . I've never looked into Etsy . . . I guess I should! Thanks!

Marla McLean, Atelierista said...

Thanks so much for the links and comments, I really appreciate it.
I wish I could see your work closer. You can learn how to photograph your work and optimize it via Photoshop or even flikr. I bet one of your parents can give you a tutorial. It's not too hard once you fool around with it.
I love how your work is part stage set, part pop up book, and part small world.
Just returned from a conference on Creativity and Young Children, and am still high off of hearing Howard Gardner speak.
It is so important to do your own personal creative work too.

Anonymous said...

Very cool. I sympathize with your sentiments about photos of your art - I have the same problem, the photos done't do them justice. Your work is so detailed and layered.
I love that you balance your creativity between your job - which is demanding - and your art, which also looks demanding!

Deborah Stewart said...

I am in love with the shredded musical composition!

Unknown said...

Tom, these are just AMAZING. Every time I am stunned.

Here are some picture tips. I am sure you know them, but just in case. Take your book to a window. You want as much nice light as possible. Try to fill the frame up with the book. Once you have a nice 'big' picture of the whole project focus on more specific things. Take shots of just the bottom part of the carving. And then just the top. That way people can see even more detail.
I think you did a great job capturing this.
Ask your facebook friends if anyone has a DSLR that they would be willing to come over and use a little on your project. I am sure people would be happy to help. I know personally I can't take enough pictures so I would be excited to help someone with something awesome like this! : )

Launa Hall said...

I LOVE your work. I really hope you pursue having your work professionally photographed, because I would love to study it in even greater detail.

I'm sure your immersion in your art helps your students immerse in their own.