New Books

We went to Gimli this weekend to relax at Heathers parents place which was really nice to get out of the city and our familiar surroundings for the weekend. We popped into the library where they have this table with a heap of old books that are discontinued from circulation.
I was actually looking for some good collage material, which is actually harder than it sounds. There are three main conditions in my mind to picking a book,

1-Obviously it has to look interesting, ie, to me that means lots of full colour illustrations, preferably from the fifties or sixties (I like the painted illustrations from that era)

2-It has to be cheap, ie, 20c -$1.00, and preferably beaten up, torn, drawn in, wrecked in some way.

The third condition is the real clincher...

3-It's not so good that I won't be able to bring myself to cut it up.

I ended up getting two books that looked fantastic but upon taking them home one of them stood out from the other. I actually sat down and read it cover to cover and at some stage fell in love with its charm.
The book was, 'Mammals, A guide to familiar American species'

Many of this books pages have been drawn on or ripped and the spine is in a really bad way.
On one hand I really wanted to use some of the images in there for collage and on the other hand I felt this could be a great book to read to Elliott in a couple of years time as it's really well designed, put together and written.

I love the typeset in the book also (futura right?)and the placement of the images.
I then thought that if i could perhaps track down a copy on ebay or amazon then not only would a have a better copy for reading but this old beaten up one would be ripe for cutting up. A quick google search led me to an page where it seems I can buy a new copy for only $6.95. Unfortunately it's got a new snazzy cover but the insides appear to be exactly the same as the one I have. Plus they had a list of other books in the series, reptiles plants birds butterflies etc. I think I'll definitely be ordering the ' book Mammals' and 'Birds' in the series when I can

I also loved this piece in the front of the book showing just how popular it was in it's time at the library (I had to rip off a newer sheet to uncover this older stamped sheet) Many of the pages were drawn on, mostly pencil lines that trace some of the animals. I'm guessing kids traced the figures for school projects.

I should also mention as a side note that I don't chop up books willy nilly and find it very hard to do so. I'm very careful with what books I choose and would never use antique or valuable books. I also usually try to stay away from encyclopedia series type books as I figure kids could still get use out of them who couldn't afford otherwise.
My rational is that these books would have ended up in the garbage anyway and by making them into artworks you give them a future, albeit different, life.


  1. I especially love the "Keep me clean - Remember to wash your hands before reading me" tag inside the book.
    Reminds me of a day when treasuring books was common. Back in the good old days.

  2. Yeah I thought that was neat. They should have also had a 'Don't draw on me' sticker too ;)

  3. mmm, i love collages...i was really into collage comics a while ago, i completed one that I'm thinking of self publishing and sending down to sticky. I found this old computer manual from the early 60's at my school, i felt kinda guilty cutting it up as it may have been rare, but i guess its too late for second thoughts. i reckon you should give collage comics ago. the problem is finding a character...thats why i usually cut up old comic books, even if you get half a figure, you can use another to cover it, or an object. it's fun mixing different styles, and paintings and photos, too.

  4. Wow, I think we had that exact Mammals book growing up - I'll have to see if it's still in the house!


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