July 24, 2013

Literary arts: Discarded books become art in UW Summer Youth Programs class

News and Information

Molly Knopf, 11, a student in the UW Summer Youth Programs class on book arts, shows off her creation, made with wire, papier-mâché and a worn-out book.

Mary Levin

Evelyn Thompson, 12, a student in the UW Summer Youth Programs class on book arts, shows off her creation, made with wire, papier-mâché and a worn-out book. The fringed oval shapes were inspired by whales, she said.

Can a book be a sculpture? Sure — at UW Summer Youth Programs, it’s all part of the creative process.

Each summer, UW Professional & Continuing Education offers creative approaches to art and science for students from elementary through high school. Classes range from computer game programming, animation and robots to screenwriting, architecture and even studying ancient civilizations and the science of earthquakes.

But in a Loew Hall classroom on Friday, July 19, the focus was on book arts as a two-week class called Book-Making Intensive: Design, Bind and Deconstruct ended with a round of games and fun.

The course, taught by Alisha Dall’Osto, introduced young learners to several types of book design and binding and ended with students making old tomes into art with the help of papier-mâché and imagination.

Molly Knopf, 11, left, created "Blossom," which was inspired by her love of flowers. At right, Emma Wendel, 11, shows her octopus-inspired artwork.

Mary Levin

Molly Knopf, 11, left, created “Blossom,” which was inspired by her love of flowers. At right, Emma Wendel, 11, shows her octopus-inspired artwork.

The results of their literary art exploration lined a table along one wall. There, under a hand-printed sign reading “Welcome to the UW Book Arts Gallery,” sat books looking transformed: One seemed to have sprouted arms and another bore flowers on long stems looking ready to wave around. The pages on other books had been cut and crisply fanned. One bore a meticulously carved scene of a miner hard at work with a pickaxe.

Dall’Osto, an artist herself, said it was a pleasure to work with the students for so much uninterrupted time – three hours — each day, compared to the single hour a school-year art class usually allows.

“I think we did really advanced-level work,” she said. “They really rose to the occasion.”

UW Summer Youth Programs classes continue through mid-August.

Tagged with: , ,