Dumpster books get artistic makeover

Aug. 19, 2014 @ 11:04 AM

Books that were going to be thrown out from an area middle school library got a second chance this week.

They were cut, glued, ripped and folded into book sculptures.

Laurie Wiesner-Phillips, an art teacher at Wiley Middle School and education coordinator at the Theatre Art Galleries in High Point, said the school library was preparing to throw out an entire Dumpster full of books. When a librarian asked her if she had any use for it, she said she did.

Wiesner-Phillips, who has taught art for six years, had collected books to make the sculptures for her art class and the Boys and Girls Club of High Point earlier this year. This week, she brought the unique art to the Theatre Art Galleries and offered it as a summer camp.

“I give them a book, a tube of glue and scissors — nothing else,” she said. “They have to use the pages out of the book to create the sculpture. What they’ll do is they’ll open the book up and they’ll take a quarter of the pages out.”

From those pages, campers built sculptures on top of the book’s cover. Wiesner-Phillips said she has had students make jets, SpongeBob, dragons and dolphins. At this week’s camp, each child completed at least one, if not two, of the art projects in the course of the week.

“They’re going to be creative,” she said. “They’ll learn about construction. A lot of students, especially in traditional art classes — they tend to do more 2D work. It’s hard for them to get those flat ideas into a 3D form. This is almost like architecture. You’re really having to figure out how to make that idea have form and shape.”

She said the young artists had to use a lot of science, and sometimes even math, to complete a book sculpture.

When a student asks for help, Wiesner-Phillips said she shows them ideas for inspiration and various techniques, but since there is no formula, the individual has to figure out how he or she wants the piece to look.

On Friday, parents were invited to a reception at the Theatre Art Galleries to see the the students’ artwork. At the conclusion of the reception, they took the sculptures home.

After an overwhelming amount of requests, Wiesner-Phillips is offering a book sculpture class for adults once the school year begins.

Sbutzer@hpe.com | 888-3617