Altered Book Sculptures by Jodi Harvey-Brown

Not long ago a friend shared this delightful Harry Potter book sculpture on Facebook. Hermione's features remind me very much of author J.K. Rowling herself!

Harry Potter book sculpture
Harry, Hermione, and Ron stand on The Deathly Hallows

I was off and running to learn more about the artist, Jodi Harvey-Brown of Pennsylvania. Not surprisingly, she loves books and enjoys bringing stories to life by creating characters that literally rise from the pages of old tomes that would otherwise be discarded.

The Wind in the Willows book sculpture
The Wind in the Willows

Jodi began book sculpting after being unable to resist a box of used books at a second-hand shop. After folding the pages of one that had been crushed in the bottom of the box, she was hooked. Each sculpture is a little more complicated than the one before it, and at times Jodi includes hand-illustrated figures... drawing was her first love. Her husband encouraged her to show her work via an artist community and it was there she realized book sculpture is a valid art form.

The Three Musketeers book sculpture
The Three Musketeers

I was curious to learn more about Jodi so wrote to ask her several questions...

Did you always plan to focus on art as your career?

I've always been interested in art. Nearly everyone in my family is artistic in one way or another, so art is something I've had constant exposure to. I remember having a conversation with my grandfather when I was a teenager... he told me that he wanted to pursue art himself, but his parents forbade it, saying it wouldn't lead anywhere. I think it was that moment that made me so determined to at least try to make a go of a career in art.

The Wild Swans book sculpture
The Wild Geese, a mobile

Have you had formal training or are you self-taught?

I attended art school for a year. It was a great experience and I learned a lot, but it just wasn't a good fit for me. I've never had any formal training in sculpture. I'm still learning as I go.  

Jazz Band book sculpture
Jazz Band, commissioned for a client in New Orleans

You have a young child and are a dance teacher. When do you find time to create?

Finding time to work is tough. My normal day is doing all those lovely household things - I get my son to preschool, clean, and run the dogs. Later I work at the dance studio, come home, remember to eat, put my son to bed, and then I finally get to work on my books. It's usually about 2 a.m. before I realize I should be sleeping. During dance season I'm at the studio at least five days a week so it definitely puts a cramp on my sculpting time, but I couldn't ever give either of them up. 

The Fairie Door book sculpture
The Faerie Door with LED lights

You've completed so many sculptures in what seems a relatively short amount of time!

I started working on the sculptures about a year and a half ago. I've been asked a lot lately how many books I've done and honestly, I have no idea. I am always, always thinking about the next book.

Horse Heaven book sculpture
Horse Heaven

Do you have a favorite type of book sculpture or a favorite genre?
I get a lot of special orders that I love to do, but they also mean I don't get the opportunity to work on the books that I want to make just for the sake of making them. Those titles always stay in the back of my head. Once in a while I'll get an order for a book that I've been wanting to do myself and those are the really cool moments. It's nice to collaborate with someone who loves that book as much as I do and bring the two visions together.

Mark Twain book sculpture portrait
Mark Twain portrait

If I'm making a book for me, it will probably be Grimm, Dickens, Bronte, Austen, something along those lines. Doing pieces for other people has made me venture into genres that I normally wouldn't pick up for myself and that's been great. No matter the type of book, I'm still able to put my own style into it.

The Wishbone Ketch book sculpture
The Wishbone Ketch

Jodi's work has already received a very nice amount of online attention. Visit her Etsy shop, Wet Canvas Art and follow her newest projects on Facebook.

Jodi Harvey-Brown with Raven (work in progress)
Jodi Harvey-Brown with The Raven (work in progress)

Her sculptures are currently on exhibit at the Van Blijkshof Gallery in the Netherlands until the end of August and at the Mini Art exhibit in Eilat, Israel through the end of the year. Here in the U.S., Jodi's altered books can be seen at Dancing Tree Creations in Boyerstown, Pennsylvania.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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