Artist Transforms Old Books Into Sparkling Crystallized Sculptures

“All the secrets in the world are contained in books“, according to Lemony Snicket aka American novelist Daniel Handler. This single, simple stringing of words perfectly encapsulates the essence of books. We can always rely on a book to help us escape when the real world gets too overwhelming or to teach us something. However, the rise of eBooks and eReaders have put books in a pretty precarious position. This situation caught the attention of San Francisco-based artist Alexis Arnold and prompted her to create her Crystallized Books Series.

Most, if not all, bibliophiles feel very strongly against book desecration. So if you’re very sensitive about how books are handled, you might want to proceed with caution or look for a new article to read altogether. This is because Arnold has given several antique editions of literary classics (which we know bibliophiles would rather keep safe in a glass box somewhere) a makeover for her Crystallized Books Series. But if you’ve got no issues with Arnold’s work, read on!


Some of her images feature close ups of the books to and this one looks magical!


 San Francisco-based artist Alexis Arnold’s Crystallized Books Series immortalizes books


“My Crystallized Books Series addresses the materiality versus the test or content of the book. The crystals remove the text and solidify the books into geological sculptures. The crystals remove the text and solidify the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. The books, frozen with crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use, and memory.”

The value of a book lies in what’s hidden within its pages. That’s why those book lovers take such great care of their books to make sure they can pass it on. But let’s be honest: books go obsolete for a reason. Some become irrelevant because the information they present has been updated or disproved or changed entirely. And apparently, only a percentage of paper waste gets recycled, and most of the paper waste volume will simply end up at the landfill. So we’ve all got to start thinking of new ways to keep our paper waste to a minimum. And it seems that Arnold is on to something with these books.–OyDq/


The books crystalize through a chemical reaction

To transform a book into a sculpture, Arnold first distorts the book. This often requires her to literally break the book’s spine to allow her to achieve the fluid form she wants to achieve. When the book is good and bent, Arnold proceeds to submerge it with water with dissolved borax. After the crystals harden, the book is simultaneously unrecognizable and enchanting with its frozen-in-time appeal.


Arnold uses a variety of books for her series

Despite the transformation, Arnold still makes sure to use the material’s original name. She has crystallized plenty of classics like The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Moby Dick and All’s Well That Ends Well. Aside from novels, Arnold has also transformed a number of reference materials, like a dictionary, a San Francisco phone book, National Geographic magazines, a World Book Encyclopedia 1978 Yearbook and several rock and mineral guides. She also hasn’t shied away from preserving religious books like the Holy Bible and the Song of Solomon!

“Books hold a great significance as objects, stories, teachings, memories, and more, so they were ripe for investigation with the process of crystal growth,”

Arnold explained.


She has been crystallizing since 2011

When asked how she got the idea, Arnold shared that it all started in 2011. This was around the time when eBooks began gaining traction. And it just so happened that she stumbled upon a collection of abandoned paperback and hardcover books. Arnold claimed the discarded books and they became instrumental in the perfection of Arnold’s graceful repurposing project.

Through the project, books that no can no longer serve their purpose due to updates and revisions become objet d’art. It’s certainly a beautiful way of reducing the amount of wasted paper and increasing the beautiful things we can admire, right?


Here are some more stunning images of her work, take a look!


 During the crystallization process, the books take a more fluid form


This one is perfect for fashion loves as this piece of art was created with a Vogue magazine.


Her books take the most interesting shapes


The books have catapulted Arnold to wide acclaim

There’s no denying that these books are one-of-a-kind. No two of her works will ever be alike. This has certainly helped Arnold in wining the world’s attention and praise. Iddo Dickman’s The Little Crystalline Seed even used one of her creations as cover art! Arnold’s elegant way of giving unusable books a renewed purpose is certainly worthy of praise, don’t you think so?


Even when covered in crystals, the colors still stand out beautifully. These green pages look stunning and it would look amazing as a piece of art on a shelf.


Lastly, we have a short video of one of the books and you can see how the crystals glimmer


So, what do you think of these amazing books? Let us know in the comment section!

Source: Alexis Arnold Website | Instagram