Heather Cook creates beautiful scenes in the pages of books (literally).
LitARTure creator Heather Cook loves books, and she enjoys sharing that passion with others. That’s why she cuts and reshapes books into beautiful sculptures incorporating trees, delicate leaves, light features, and more. Her delightful art is gathering a community of book lovers, and some of her book sculptures will even appear in an undisclosed Netflix show soon! In an interview from her home studio in Buffalo, New York, Heather shared the story of her book art.
How did you get interested in making book sculptures, and how did you develop your skills?
I was always interested in paper art and spent my high school years scrapbooking, card making, and turning tiny pieces of paper into origami cranes. While studying English at university, I happened to come across Su Blackwell’s work and remember being amazed by what she did with her old books. This journey truly began with the love of books.
As a book lover, what did it feel like the first time you took scissors to a book? Any hesitation?
Oh, yes, of course there was some hesitation. To be honest, I still hesitate while I’m holding a book that means a lot to me. The first sculpture I made was from an old copy of Shakespeare’s Othello. I felt as though I was betraying him and every English teacher I ever had—until the piece was complete. I shared the piece on social media and was excited to see people discussing their favorite books. For me, book art is not about destroying a book, but about giving it a new life.
What’s most challenging about your creative life?
Running the business side is the most challenging. I absolutely love creating, and so it’s hard to find the time to balance all the other moving parts: marketing, networking, overhead, and all the other logistics. I’m lucky enough to have a business-oriented husband helping me navigate these waters, though, so I can spend more time doing the part I love.
And what’s most rewarding?
Sharing my love of books, hands down. I’ve always been intrigued by the history that books carry, and I love bringing that history to life in a new form. There’s something magical about hearing customers gasp and then tell their friends about their own favorite fairy tales.
Can you tell us a little about the Netflix project, or is it still hush-hush?
All I can say right now is that I was asked to create three book sculptures for a forthcoming Netflix series. Details of the show will be shared when the time is right. There’s a sneak peek of one of the whimsical trees on my Instagram, though!
Aside from making book sculptures, what are your everyday inspirations?
Creating book sculptures is more of a hobby than anything else. I’m deeply interested in rich literature and the health and well-being of people, communities, and society as a whole. I aspire to someday improve the quality of life for all people through research, writing, and promoting health awareness. Literature has the ability to teach us about the past, present, and future, and I hope to use it as a guide for well-being and quality of life.
Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?
Many people who look at my work tell me they wish they were creative. The thing is, everyone truly has some creativity inside them. You just have to dig deep and allow yourself to let go enough to access it! Carve out some time to let your creativity shine, and you’ll be surprised what you come up with.