I have always loved the unique you-can-find-no-where-else products on Etsy, and one day when I was browsing through the different shops, trying out different searches, I came across the Etsy shop of Benjamin Wieler, a local Toronto artist who works with vintage books to produce works of art from origami shapes made from a book’s pages to framed pages that have been manipulated into beautiful conversation pieces to hang on the wall.
Last summer, I fell so in love with his creativity that I couldn’t help myself—I had to make an order. I ended up purchasing a combination of two things featuring my favourite book War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
The first piece of art is an original paper collage using recycled paper from a vintage book, which in this case is from War and Peace. It is a black and white drawing of a heart that deliberately surrounds the word “love,” which is pulled from a major scene in the book. This one happens to be when Nikolai is musing on his love for Sonya after a confrontation with his mother, who wishes him to transfer his emotions elsewhere for the sake of a more profitable match (how dreadfully selfish of her, am I right?!). Frankly, I love Nikolai and Sonya, and despite knowing they don’t end up together, I still root for them. On that train of thought, Benjamin is very considerate of what scene you want for your piece of art. If, like me, you choose to have a custom made piece then he involves you in deciding what scene you would prefer to have permanently encapsulated in your frame. I absolutely love how it turned out, perfectly tailored to me and my book lover needs!
The other piece I purchased was not only for interest’s sake, but it was also a great way to make sure War and Peace wasn’t just thrown away with one page missing. Instead, I was able to use the book to its utmost potential and create a beautiful set of book art to display in my apartment. This beautiful addition was a book safe—and let me tell you, it is a lot nicer than those cheap fake plastic “book safes” you can purchase at Michaels or the Dollar
Store. Benjamin literally and painstakingly cuts the pages out of the book to create a lovely little hiding place for whatever your heart desires! For me that would be the chocolate bar I want to keep hidden from my ravenous boyfriend when he comes to visit! Shh.
Now these were the only two literary-inspired pieces I bought, however, I was delighted to find a surprise waiting for me when my package was delivered. Delicately wrapped, I found a beautiful hanging ornament made by intricately folding book pages. Can you just imagine having a dozen of these beauties and decorating an entire Christmas tree with them or hanging them in your window?
If you find these works of art as beautiful as I do then you should check out Benjamin Wieler’s Etsy shop, featuring many great book art and sculpture pieces you can purchase, or feel free to contact him personally like I did and get something designed with just you in mind. He also has a Facebook page and a blog.