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Artist Turns Discarded Books Into Beautiful Works Of Art By Crystalizing Them

The San Francisco artist Alexis Arnold created a series of crystallized books as a commentary on materiality and text.

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Arnold explains that "The Crystallized Book Series was prompted by repeatedly finding boxes of discarded books, by the onset of e-books, and by the recent disappearance of bookstores. Furthermore, I had been growing crystals on hard objects and was interested in seeing the effect of the crystal growth on malleable and absorbent objects. Conceptually, the series addresses the materiality of the book versus the text or content of the book. The crystals remove the text and transform the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. The books, now frozen with heavy crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use, and nostalgia."


There are many household chemicals that can be used to grow crystals. Arnold used Twenty Mule Team Borax and created a super saturated solution in boiling water. She then soaked the books in the solution and manipulated them to her liking. The solution then cools and the crystals grow and the books take on their form


Depending on atmospheric conditions, the crystals will turn from translucent to opaque. This transition can take years or be made to happen quickly.



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