Antique Books & Mixed Media Art

Like most of you who read my blog and create mixed media I have a huge collection of old books that I pick up here and there when I am shopping the local thrift stores.

Matter of fact my collection of books that I plan to one day either use the pages or the covers in my art has started to take over my life.

When I started out on my trip to the thrift store this morning I told myself that I would not go near the books. I did not NEED anymore books.

This particular thrift store is only open three days a week, Thursday being one of them. I don't shop there every week but today I was looking for some clothes hangers and I knew they usually had some. So off I go after I drop my daughter off at school. This shop is very small and can get very claustrophobic if there are too many people packed in there at once. For some reason the store was packed today.

I wandered around for awhile checking out the glassware. I usually find some great vintage china there for very cheap so I always checked out that area of the store. And by the way it is on the opposite end of the store from the books so I was doing great at that point. Some how I managed to get moved along with the crowd toward the books. I did manage to refrain from looking through the stacks of books on their bookshelf BUT this poor tiny book was just laying there on the shelf calling out to me. I picked it up and quickly scanned the pages and title. I thought from the cover that it was some type of prayer book. I also thought that the cool cover would look great in a piece of art so I picked it up and made my way to the cashier before I could start rummaging through the other books.

After I got home and had a chance to look closely at the book I realized it was not a religious book at all but a novel written by LK Marvel. The book is in poor condition. I found the cover page tucked in between some pages. The spine is almost completely gone.
There is an inscription on one of the end pages.......From LM Clark Sunday School Teacher Dec 08. The book is obviously from sometime in 1908.

I decided to do an Internet search on the author and found out that the first addition of this book had been published in 1851 by IK Marvel.
How cool is that? So I try to find a picture of this particular cover and can not find anything that even remotely looks like this cover.

So here is my problem. I know the book is at least 101 years old. It qualifies as an antique. Any of the other copies of this book and there are alot of them available out there on the Internet are selling for between $45 and $50 a piece in good condition.

OK so what if this copy of the book is older then 101 years and had been passed on used?
Can I in good conscience tear this book apart and use the cover in my artwork?

This happens to me when ever I find a really old book. I am a book lover. Myself and my daughters are readers like you would not believe. I have stacks of paperbacks I buy at the GW a bag at a time just to have on hand when I am done reading whatever book I am reading at the time. I take my youngest daughter to the library once a week. She is in the 6th grade and reads at a 10th grade reading level.

It took me about 8 months when I first started doing mixed media before I could pull a page out of a dictionary to use in my art. I would only use damaged book pages for my art in the beginning. Well times have changed and I can ripe a page out of a book like there's no tomorrow now but not when it comes to something I consider antique

So what would you do?
I really think the cover of this book would look awesome in a piece of art. The cover has a bit of damage also. It looks like someone used it as a dartboard at one point. But that's what makes me want to use it in a piece of art.

Thanks for stopping by!


margil said…
Arlene--consider that this lovely book has been through many hands, and in this condition is in it's last incarnation. Anyone else would have tossed it. By using it's parts in your art, you are giving it one last useful life. As an antique it would only be worth something in very good condition, which it is obviously not. So unless you are prepared to spend mucho dinero to have it rebound, then use it in your art with a clear conscience!
bookcrazzzy said…
I agree with Margil. It would cost a lot more than it is worth to restore it. It was meant to be in your art or it wouldn't have separated itself from the rest of the books so that you would find it, right?
jackieb said…
I would use it in my art with no qualms. It was a thrift store and people were just passing it by. You will give it new life and a new reason for "being".
Glad you gave it a home :}

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