Thinking Outside the Book

Students in the Design IV Advanced Problems class at East Central College had installations at the college library as part of National Library Week celebrated April 14-19. On top, from left, are Megan Fitts and Lexie Jaeger, both art students; Lisa Farrell, director, library services; Jenn Higerd, gallery coordinator and art instructor; and Krissy Devries and Carlyne Schreiner, art students. Not shown is Ricky Briggenhorst, art student. Students are holding paper cranes created by Fitts. On bottom, from left, are views of projects by Briggenhorst and DeVries. Not all projects are shown.    Missourian Photos.

For some, books aren’t just for reading.

Five East Central College Design IV advanced problems students were challenged to “re-imagine what a book is,” said Jennifer Higerd, gallery coordinator and art instructor at the college.

Students took books from the college’s Friends of the Library’s book sale to create works of art.

“They really pushed the books to new territory,” she said.

Though the book project was librarian Lisa Farrell’s idea, Higerd said she was happy to oblige.

“One of my passions is to take art to the people,” Higerd said. “Probably not many people go to the gallery, but there are so many people who go to the library that we can take the art there and they can experience it.”

The project coincided with the library’s celebration of National Library Week April 13-19.

Walking into the library, paper cranes crafted from pages of an old atlas sit and hang from strings throughout the library. Megan Fitts, Pacific, the artist, created more than 100 origami cranes.

“I want people to touch them and take them. Each crane represents one year of happiness and good luck,” Fitts said.

According to Japanese legends, she explained, each crane represents a year of happiness. If you create 1,000, you are said to bring 1,000 years of happiness.

“I really wanted people to take them so I can grant them a year of happiness, no matter where they live, no matter where they’re from,” she said.

Even the color strings the birds hang on have a meaning. The threads are red, blue, yellow, green and white — which represent the five colors of the nation’s flags.

Using the atlas, Fitts also was trying to incorporate world relations into her project, especially with the turmoil happening between Russia and Ukraine, she said.

Another student, Lexie Jaeger, Washington, took her interest in floor pieces to create a pathway stitched together from worn pages in an old book. Loose pages also are scattered throughout the library.

Jaeger said she’s excited to have an installation somewhere besides the studio.

Krissy DeVries, Pacific, created a semicircle of books in the quiet section of the library. Some of the books are open, with images that appear to be popping off the pages.

Carlyne Schreiner, Hermann, created a book shadow box, complete with moss, a butterfly and a mushroom inside the carved out pages.

“I love to read as much as I love to do art and I wanted to express the feeling that when I’m reading, it’s like the book is my temporary reality,” Schreiner said. “It comes alive.”

Flowers sprouted from three separate books with the centers cut out in Union student Ricky Briggenhorst’s project. The books were bound in twine.

Visitors could interact by pouring water from the nearby watering can.

Students agreed that they enjoyed interacting with the books and using them as their medium.

“It really let us express our individual concepts and creativity,” Fitts said.