Review of a book about Book Arts

Masters Book Art

A few months back I wrote a review of a book in the series Masters from Lark Books, called Collage. But while I love that book and everything about collages, I’m not over the moon about this new one…

It is all about Book Arts and that is also the title of the book. Book arts is the art of making unique one-of-a-kind artwork in the form of, or at least resembling, books. This publication is filled with the work of very technically skilled book artists, indeed 43 masters, presented in a clear way. But with way too few photos of each book if you ask me.

Book spread in Masters Book Art
Book spread in Masters Book Art.

The book is curated/written by Eileen Wallace, who specializes in custom printing and box-making and teaches frequent workshops across America. She is also a visiting assistant professor at the University of Georgia. She has made excellent choices and the amazon reviews are mostly raving about this book, but…

To be honest, and I always am when I review books, this book was not a true love for me. While I do love book arts a lot, and I myself have been dabbling in book binding, altered books and art journaling for many years now, the style of the artwork in Masters: Book Arts is too straight, too planned and perfect for me. It is just not messy enough, not enough mixed media feel for me. Instead you’ll find book pieces that are very sculptural and fine art. I guess I wouldn’t have bought the book even though I’m sure I would carry it home from the library to take a closer look at all the photos. And the description of each artists work is just as great as in the Masters Collage book.

Book spread in  Masters Book Art

When presented with book arts I really want to look at each page, don’t you? A lot of the artwork presented in Masters Book Arts is photographed from the outside, showing skillful binding techniques and awesome book covers, but not enough of the inside (is it ever enough?). And when the inside is presented it is often to small to view what it’s about. All that said, if you’re a book artist who want to get new ideas and inspiration you will find a lot of those in this book, I’m sure of that.

Book spread in Masters Book Art

Personally I don’t recognize any of the names presented here, so I’m thinking I’m not really into what the author calls Book Arts at all. I would love to know what you think of this book if you have had the chance to look at it too? Did you enjoy it? And if you have a favorite book artist, who?

* Masters: Book Arts: Major Works by Leading Artists – more information at Amazon
* My previous book reviews – check out previous book reviews on my blog!

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3 Responses to Review of a book about Book Arts

  1. I appreciate reading book reviews by people that do not work (you don’t, do you?) for the publisher of said book. This is refreshing and honest..just like the rest of your blog. :)

  2. Andria says:

    I think it’s hard to capture a book in just a photograph, or a few. A book is meant to be held, explored, pages turned and enjoyed. But it seems, from the photos I see here, that most of these books are meant to be more like sculptures, set up to enjoy from the outside more than anything. I have a certain amount of interest in that, but I’m with you–I like the mess, the media, the chance to turn pages and see into the heart of the creator. Thanks for the interesting review!

  3. April Cole says:

    Thank you for the book review.
    Always refreshing to hear the truth, and if…
    it is not all that you thought it was cracked up to be, even better!
    I what to hear others opinion on a book, don’t want it candy coated because it might upset someone.
    Thanks once again. :]

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