Artists and designers are finding innovative ways to repurpose old books that may no longer be relevant reading material today. So far, we've seen books transformed into lamps, sculptures and even full-room art installations cut entirely from vintage books. Now add tableware to the list of possibilities -- Swedish artist Cecilia Levy creates exquisite paper plates, bowls and natural forms using small pieces of paper taken from comic books and vintage volumes.
Originally trained as a graphic designer and bookbinder, Levy's passion for books led to some creative experimentation beginning in 2009:
I began experimenting with 3-dimensional shapes; taking apart an old book, tearing it into small pieces and pasting them back together again (resulting in a wobbly, but expressive, bowl). I had suddenly found "my" material. Ever since then I'm on the lookout for suitable old books.
Levy deliberately chooses to focus on the inherent delicacy of paper, leaving the original stains and discolourations of the sheets on her works as a testament to the passage of time. Her objects are created using papier-mâché techniques, and are not varnished afterwards, to retain the emphasis on the paper itself. In that case, these works are probably more for display than for actual use, but for Levy, it's a way of giving a second life to an old book:
The book is recreated in a way, but takes on a new form. The two-dimensional becomes three-dimensional. The process is slow and meditative.
Memory is a big theme in Levy's pieces. Her love of typography shines in the way she uses the written word of the page as a kind of mesmerizing decoration. Levy also experiments with tints, like coffee, on the edges of some of her bowls.
Ephemeral and exquisitely made, Levy's paper art gently evokes a sense of magic and wonder that only handmade objects can inspire, while giving new meaning to books that may otherwise have gone to waste. For more information, visit Cecilia Levy's website.