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Trying to erase the scribbles on the back of a dictionary page I used for a recent drawing
I love hearing from people who discover my blog or my artwork on Pinterest. Occasionally I will get a comment from a book lover who is upset that I am disrespecting and defacing a book with my art. I try and respond that I too am a book lover and that the dictionaries I use are usually discarded and damaged.
I am fortunate to be a public school teacher and sadly, there are no shortage of damaged books. My high school librarian has been extremely generous to give me books that are too used up to keep on the shelf. Other teachers also give me their cast-offs knowing that the book will be given new life as a work of art.
The inside of a dictionary which I use to harvest pages
It has been interesting to gather up damaged dictionaries from across the country. I had no idea how the pages of a book are effected by its environment. I'm not talking about the doodles or tears a book might suffer but how the very same edition of the very same book may have a totally different feel to the pages. I love working on children's dictionary pages because I like the simplicity of the definitions and the occasional illustration on a page. Long ago I decided to use old books that were 50 -60 years old so they were published around the year I was born. So I have a number of the exact same editions and each is different.
When I start to push marks into the page and build up layers of ink and colored pencil the pages of different books feel and react in different ways. I don't know if climate plays a role or if use chemically alters some books more than others.....I have no idea. I just know these precious, old books each have a personality of their own - much like people. I find that fascinating. Wouldn't it be awesome if they could tell the story of their journey? Either way - I value these pages and I think I repurpose and reclaim each page.