Quirky contest showcases art crafted from books

By Page H. Gifford

The idea of creating art from books was proposed by Cheryl Griffith to Cyndi Hoffman, director of the Fluvanna Public Library. Griffith had seen it done in other libraries and thought it would be a fun and novel thing to do – no pun intended – for area artists of all ages. She pitched her idea to Friends of the Library as well as the Fluvanna Art Association and art teachers Michelle Coleman at the high school and Margie Kritzer at the middle school.

“I think it has been very successful,” said Griffith, looking over the table full of creative projects. ”They all deserve prizes.” Hoffman agreed and thought they might make it an annual event. Judging took place April 20.

The entries ranged from youth to adult. Vivienne Gamache, who comes from a creative and artistic family, was no surprise winning first in the youth category for her Have A Ballpaper doll Godey’s ladies against a ballroom backdrop illustration staged theatrically on a book. Following her in second place was Miles Young with Meadow Artand Monroe Jones with Wings of Reading.

Creativeness was evident at all levels. Mice and cats were popular subjects with the younger people. In the tween category, Karsyn Botkin took first for his colorful, grinning Cheshire cat made using a fan method. Madison Bryce went for a Harry Potter theme, creating one of the book’s creatures, while Gus McRoberts went for more structure with his German F6 Hellcatplane.

The teens showed more attention to detail. Samantha Bridge’s A Night at the Fairfeatured a carousel and tiny horses meticulously cut from book pages. Shiona McRobert designed Two Ladiesin Civil War ball gowns right down to the trims on their dresses. In third place was Ellie Botkin with her bold and fun Sponge Bob.

Naturally, the adults exhibited more skill in their work and imagination abounded. Fluvanna Art Association (FAA) member Todd Mathes won first place for his Flight. A master when it comes to sculpting things in wood, Mathes proved he can do it just as well in paper. His spiraling paper emerging from a book with a bird in flight at the top was precise and well thought out. Jessica Maddox followed in second place with her flower garden. FAA member Brenda Aluisi came in third with her bird house adorned with silk flowers. Also worth noting was her other contender, a teapot with a cup.

Those who didn’t win also showed exceptional creativeness, like teen Caroline Stringer with her Alice in Wonderland scene Down the Rabbit Hole. Her use of natural things, including leaves and grass, and blending them with the Alice in Wonderland illustrations tells a story in itself. Also worth mentioning was Abigail Fuller, another teen who did a pop-up art of the story of Vincent Van Gogh, complete with easel, paint, brush and canvas, calling it The Suffering Artist. The teens were on a roll, as evidenced by Cheyanne Storie’s large flower cut out of written pages and spread across a book, and Abigail Harlow’s Wildflowerswith delicate little paper flowers on wires popping up out of a book.

As for the adults, Katie McKinley’s Books Give Color to the Worldwas lovely with an exquisitely cut hummingbird in flight hovering around a vine of flowers. These artists of all ages used very few tools as they formed their creations from paper and an infinite amount of imagination.

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