The 9 Lives of Books

The Book Arch Today

The recent upsurge in recycling has inspired a creative new art form: book arches. My son-in-law crafted the first book arch at Sandman Books in Punta Gorda, FL (owned by my daughter Heidi and son-in-law Scott). The original version of his arch represented a Roman aqueduct. Soon after Scott completed the project, other bibliophiles followed suit, including those at The Last Bookstore in L.A., another iconic bookstore.

It took Scott a month of 9-10 hour days to create the sculpture, and I happened to be visiting during the first two weeks of the project. My youngest daughter Harmony and I spent hours bringing him cart-loads of books which had previously been destined for destruction. These rescued tomes were installed on a plywood frame, and using tools such as an air compressor and staple gun, my ingenious son-in-law pioneered a new artistic genre.

When Sandman Books expanded a couple of years ago Scott moved the arch, taking the opportunity to enhance the piece, including lighting it with a favorite old 16mm movie projector given to him by my father. Hanging nearby is Scott’s newest piece: a “book dragon” suspended from the ceiling with chains. These multi-media creations function as a popular backdrop for visitors’ selfies and special events such as author signings, engagement photos, weddings, story times, poetry readings, and history talks. 

Many artists today choose to work in mixed media, including 3-D mosaics made of antique china, crystal, jewelry, and other salvaged materials. Now added to the list: books!
 

Kitty-Wan Kenobi, the bookstore cat, surveying his world from on high.