Sykes seeks out bowling balls that have been long forgotten- most of the pieces he has sourced are well over 30 years in age. Despite being old and unused for years, the balls were all kept in pristine condition, making them the perfect medium to carve. Each of the bowling balls symbolizes a certain historical significance to the original owners. The balls referenced a time period spent in a bowling league, or memories of playing with family, so Sykes wanted to transform the pieces into something else that would be historically significant.
Carefully hand carving each bowling ball, Sykes turns the pieces into epic works of literature. Associating great books with sentimentality, Sykes carves out a new symbol of memory, relating books to trophies. The carved spines still bear the finger holes of the bowling balls, linking the new nostalgic object with its former use. Besides transforming the balls’ use and appearance, Syke’s carved books take a step beyond the nostalgia of the bowling ball, and extend further into time, signifying that knowledge and information outlasts any physical object.
More personally, Sykes associates bowling with his blue collar upbringing, and books with his studies in architecture school, when he left his small middle class town for university. The act of carving these books from bowling balls is both symbolic and a physical reference to Sykes’ “escape” from blue collar work into the world of the scholar.