Crafty in Baltimore

At Like Fire we’re big fans of book art, both about books and using them as material—no, nothing’s sacred. And though we couldn’t make it down to Baltimore for the recent American Craft Council show, Bookforum’s Omnivore points out that local Baltimore blog Read Street took last week to highlight some of the more bookish offerings and interview the artists about their work and their reading matter.

Berkeley’s Jim Rosenau, proprietor of This Into That, builds bookcases, bookshelves and assemblages that pun on the titles of the books used as material. The sculptures are simple and his humor is sly—for instance: Common Legal Principles, Vol. II and Everyone Ought to Know topping I Can if I Want To, Try and Stop Me, and All Men Are Liars, all run through with a black gavel.

Carol Owen, of North Carolina, works with collage and paper to assemble altered books, citing Nick Bantock’s Griffin and Sabine as an influence.

In Baltimore, Val Lucas runs bowerbox press, which produces letterpress cards, prints, and custom books.

Vermont artist David Montgomery builds his “travelogues,” shadowboxes built into old books, with tiny resin books and birds against vintage postcard backgrounds.

Steven B. Levine of New Jersey crafts elegant hardwood book sculptures that serve as boxes, bookends and shelves:

A few years ago I recall a gentleman asking me to craft a custom-titled book as a surprise gift for his friend, who had just found a publisher for his novel. The book was called On the Mantel. Or maybe the title was On the Mantle. The gentleman wasn’t sure. So he ordered one of each to be on the safe side!

(Image is a piece from David Montgomery’s “travelogue” series, built into large-print edition of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 1860 essay collection The Conduct of Life.)


2 Comments to Crafty in Baltimore

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