Children’s novels and fairytales burst forth from the page –- literally -- with artist Su Blackwell’s incredible paper sculptures. The British artist scours secondhand shops in search of hardcover books to transform into gorgeous art works. Blackwell takes inspiration from the title of the book or text written inside, carefully cutting and folding to create three-dimensional scenes from its pages.
Blackwell’s London studio resembles an old library, filled with books waiting to be turned into her next project. Using only an X-Acto knife and glue, the artist meticulously cuts away page after page, lifting delicate pieces to form model buildings, figures, trees and animals. Many of the cut pieces remain attached to the page and spine of each book, creating a diorama/pop-up book effect that makes each story “come to life.” The finished pieces are installed with tiny lights that illuminate the paper interiors, creating a play between paper and shadow.
Taking cues from the well-worn stories, Blackwell carves familiar characters. A delicate Snow White wanders amongst an orchard of poisoned apples, while a steam engine pushes through the snow across pages of another book. Boo Radley’s rickety house beckons in a scene from To Kill a Mockingbird, while silhouettes of tooth fairies peer into lit up homes.
The intricate pieces set children’s minds aglow, giving new inspiration from the famous stories they are made from. The interesting sculptures give new life to the old books that have been cast aside.