Exceptional Book Art at Longwood Gardens Holiday Display

If you have a penchant for altered book art and happen to be in the vicinity of Longwood Gardens in southeastern Pennsylvania this holiday season, I highly recommend a visit. Here are several photos that my sister snapped on a recent trip to show you why the seasonal decor in the Conservatory's Music Room is especially exciting for paper lovers.

Christmas tree featuring stacks of beribboned books with book page gift toppers
Children's book 'gifts' with handmade book page toppers

The overall theme for the 2018 display is Trees Reimagined. Pennsylvania artist Dannielle Vincent, with the help of her husband Lee, handcrafted a multitude of book sculptures, folded books, framed book art, and paper ornaments over a period of three months. Dannielle told me that an intern of Longwood's chief display designer, Jim Sutton, noticed her work for sale at an area market, picked up her business card, and notified him immediately. They looked over Dannielle's Etsy shop, PreMadeReMade and contracted her to create art pieces for the display.

book page wreath

Interestingly, Dannielle has only been working with paper for a few years... she taught herself book folding and other text page applications with the help of online tutorials and supportive paper art group members. Now she designs and folds original, complex patterns, such as the remarkably detailed ones below.

three examples of folded book art

With a design in mind, Dannielle draws it using graphic design software, then finds an about-to-be-discarded book that is the right size for the job, both in height and the number of pages. Dannielle considers her work to be purposeful recycling... I like the sound of that! Next comes the methodical part of taking the calculated measurements and transferring them one by one to the pages the old school way with ruler and pencil, and begins the cutting and folding process. It can take several days to finish just one book.

Folded books spell out the letters of Longwood, placed atop a grand piano

In addition to Dannielle's book art, a very tall tree features an impressive garland of 125(!) presents, each one gift wrapped by Longwood staff. They selected showy paper from Vivid Wrap in Bath, England that has metallic rosy pink and gold accents. (Enjoy this previous post about Vivid Wrap fashions.) The glittering wrapping paper was "handmade from recycled cotton and recycled kraft papers using the off cuts of cotton from the textile trade." in keeping with Dannielle's repurposing mission. (via Longwood's blog, Gifts of Gratitude)

 Glittering gift wrapped packages garland on a lighted Christmas tree
 photo: Duane Erdmann

Dannielle is on Instagram, @premaderemade, and her Etsy shop has the same name, PreMadeReMade. She offers folded books and folded book patterns, welcomes custom requests, and sells locally at Crickets Antiques & Garden Market in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania.

Suspended books hanging in fireplace and book art mantel decor

UK and European residents, a paper craft supply giveaway, courtesy of Crafty Wizard in the UK, is underway through Saturday, December 15 - enter now!

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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