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Student art display encourages altering books

December 26, 2017

Over the past several weeks, an intriguing art display was set up across the hallway from the Fort Steilacoom art gallery on the 3rd floor of the Olympic Building. Students and faculty would pause to interpret the meaning of the pieces of art in the “Altered Book” display.

Students in Karen Doten’s art class were given a challenging assignment: to change a book into a creative piece of art. They first needed to find interesting visual or conceptual books from local thrift stores, then modify the books into a unique sculpture. Materials such as wire, plaster, paint, thread, glue, collage, etc. could be used. Many students chose to incorporate a nature theme into their pieces.

Student Leslie Pellegrini spent 20 hours creating her artwork. She said her idea was to represent a city and nature blending together. She collected different images from books that show a view of an old city. Her piece uses a tree made from copper wire to connect the beauty of the city with the richness of nature to represent how humans have a connection toward each other in society. One of the most interesting parts are the random quotes Pelligrini hid throughout the piece in small type at different angles.

“Wire that connects the pieces of wood are used to integrate all aspects of the project and show that nature can grow out of anything, as well as represent the inclusivity of all living things,” said Pellegrini.

Student Jennifer Paretta created a tree with a hole carved in its trunk. She said she created crystals from glass by baking the glass, then directly put it in cold water so it would crack internally. After crushing the glass with a hammer, the crystals were glued into the hole. For the book, Paretta said she folded pages of the book into flowers. She also used a special technique to fold the pages at the top of the tree to spell out imagine.

“I just really want creativity to flourish through books,” said Paretta.

Student Shanley Willers said she was inspired by her daughter, who loves reading books.

Her piece is one she hopes her daughter will use as a night light in her room. The fairy and the key lock unlocking the book were her daughter’s ideas, she said. These features help the book to “explode with imagination,” said Willers.

“Using pages from the book and folded them into butterflies, flowers, and other features, so that bring the pages are brought to life out of the book,” she said.

Different ideas are presented in student Sabre OcKimey’s artwork. She chose to incorporate nature into her project by creating a tree growing through a book. She cut a piece of wood in half to make the tree and used wire as vines. She added hot glue to make the tree appear as if it is dripping with sap.

“I wanted to portray the calming part of nature,” said Ockimey.

Student Areauna Brown had a religious idea to commemorate the death of Jesus with a book.

“I want to incorporate the day God died on the cross,” she said.

In order to do so, she superglued several pages of a book and carved them into a real cross. Pages of the book are also used to create a background and a figure of Jesus. She even added blood on the face of Jesus and real nails in his hands.

Student Jordan Dombrowsky’s idea was to create a book stand.

He said he used a base to hold the center book by using a technique with craft glue, Mod Podge. His artwork includes support pieces on each side to hold additional books.

“I used pinecones and pine needles as additional decorations because they feel like Washington,” said Dombrowsky.

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