April 13, 2015

Susan Hoerth's Superbly Altered Books, By Nora Stasio, Fairy Tale News Reporter

Editor's note: I bought a gorgeous altered fairy tale book from Susan recently, and received a discount, which is why Nora is doing this post. Believe me, I wouldn't be running the post if I didn't love her work!

I just came back from Susan Hoerth's blog, 'The Abandoned Attic', and after checking out her artwork, I can't stop gushing.

Susan humbly refers to her creations as 'altered books' when they're really much more than that. Hoerth 'rescues' antique books, cuts out the illustrations, then cuts them up a whole bunch, and uses the cut-outs to create paper sculptures of sorts, with the covers of the book often serving as a kind of a frame. I'm afraid none of my words could possibly do justice to the beauty that is Susan's work. You'll have to see it for yourself.

She calls them altered books because she only works with what's inside the book and doesn't add anything foreign to that, aside from a bit of glue and tape. All the drawings you see are illustrations she has cut out of the book. She likes to think of it as doing an "autopsy," cutting the book open and moving things around.

When I said she uses 'antique' books, I mean that she prefers only to work with books that were printed in or before 1923. She finds the thickness and the texture of the paper from this era to be quite conducive to her projects. She admires the charming style of the old-fashioned illustrations. But most of all, Susan hopes to repurpose old books that were surely otherwise doomed for a dumpster. The books she purchases are so old, they're basically past the point of being readable. By restoring them to life with a new purpose, she is also saving them from certain destruction, and in her own abstract way, preserving their history.

It takes Susan about two weeks to complete one of these masterpieces. She's only been doing this since 2008, but according to the stats on her Etsy Shop, called 'Raiders of the Lost Art', she's already sold over 2,000 of them. And that's impressive, seeing that each book piece runs from about $200 to $500. (Other items cost much less.) You can visit her shop and purchase one for yourself, or request a commission.

Here's the link to her blog: http://abandonattic.blogspot.com/

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