People will question the fact that you want to “destroy” a book on purpose. They think of books as sacred things. Not as everyday items but something to keep “for ever”. This is a beautiful thought, I agree, but not all books are meant for an eternity on your shelf. I read way more than I can store or keep. Some books age badly, others are badly written to start with. It’s what you feel about the content, and the personal meaning you give a book, that is sacred – not the item itself.

It's okay to cut up old books if you ask me /iHanna

Every day, thousands of books are thrown away in dumpsters, discarded or recycled to paper pulp. In comparison to throwing them away I think it’s a good thing to use an old thrifted book in your art, or as your canvas for art. It is like giving it new life. Prolonging its existent as a book with, probably, several years. I think many books are grateful to be loved again after months stored away in dusty boxes. Because to cut up and reuse book pages and words is all about loving books, make no mistake about that. I love books and always will.

Dictonary book

For example, I’m now using this school glossary or wordbook of English-Swedish words. I bought it at a cost of only a few Swedish crowns at a flea market several years ago. It has been in my attic storage waiting to be loved again. The simple beauty of the worn and stained cover is breathtaking but I have no need for another wordbook, there are plenty of dictionaries online these days.

Hunting for words

My painted postcards (view them here and here and here) for the DIY swap however, needed words. So I started cutting out appropriate words from this vintage wordbook – gluing a definition to each postcard.

I love using words in art making. I loved the result on the postcards – and hope the recipients noted the words, specially picked for this project.

Cut up old books

I say: find any unloved book and make it live again! Save new white notebooks for another day, try using an old text book as your next art journal instead. Paint it, tear it or cut up its pages, and alter it as much as you want to!

And if somebody protests or scolds you just tell them iHanna said it’s okay, You are allowed to do whatever you want to with your books. Yes you are.