Many people would cringe at the sight of a book and its contents being folded, cut, drawn on, and made into something completely different.
Despite that, looking at the intricacies and creativity required to craft something with only paper, there is no doubt that used books can become works of art.
It also makes for a creative alternative to donating books, for those whose libraries are in need of clearing.
At the GMBB creative mall in Kuala Lumpur, you can find more than 40 artworks in the Ways With Paper show underlining the fact that artists, hobbyists and the general public can share the same exhibition space.
Linda Tan, managing director of The Museum of Picture Book Art recently launched the Ways With Paper exhibition, a community event which showcases art made out of discarded books.
The call for collaboration was open to all who wished to participate from August to mid September.
Tan had always been intrigued by the book as an art form.
“While I was clearing my personal library of books, I thought it was a good start to make book art from used books. Books and Bobs, the second-hand bookshop (at GMBB) also donated some books. This gives the books a third life!” said Tan.
Adibah Omar, CEO of Perbadanan Kota Buku was also present to officially launch the exhibition.
“What connects Kota Buku, The Museum of Picture Book Art and GMBB is books. We love reading them. We love buying them. We love everything it’s made out of,” said Adibah.
There was high praise for all the pieces that were on display, especially considering it was the first time many of the artists attempted to produce book art.
Yee Han Yong, an illustrator, who discovered the open call for the exhibition, delivers incredible detail in his artworks.
“Personally, I’m a collector of pop-out books and cards. So discovering Ways With Paper was an opportunity for me to try something new,” he said.
After a couple of hours of research, and surfing YouTube for tutorials, Yee managed to create a beautiful carousel using the book cover as a base, complete with a thin fairy light.
Mohd Darwin, who works as a retail assistant, is another newcomer with a hidden talent.
Darwin’s artworks are a true labour of love as he folded pages of a book to make different patterns, like roses.
Cherrie Yen, who works at a cafe, captures a slice of Malaysia in her exhibit – a tiny nasi lemak bungkus along with a tiny cup which is filled with coffee beans. This artwork, she says, represents her passion in making good food and coffee.
Emila Yusof, well known for her picture books and pointillism art, offers an origami wall art piece, and a “tunnel book” where layers of pages were cut to create a three dimensional scene, giving the impression of a tunnel.
Basari Mat Yasit, an illustrator, patiently cut out the centre of two books which were then used to hold tall dried plants, creating an interesting wild and windy forest on a book.
Alicia Lee, a young artist with Asperger’s Syndrome, is showing how she found colours and friendship in her community in her seven art pieces. Her signature characters are drawn over pages from a used book.
If you are interested in seeing these works and more, Ways With Paper is showing at Level 3, GMBB in KL until Oct 31.
Inspired to create your own book art? Be sure to visit The Museum of Picture Book Art to find out more.