Books as furniture

This post was written by Friday guest blogger Emma Garman.

Jim Rosenau, a Californian carpenter and artist, uses second-hand books to make bookshelves and bookcases that are artistic, functional and environmentally sound:

Rosenau’s grandfather and his father were both book publishers.

But his main inspiration, he says was one essay, “Books as Furniture,” by Nicholson Baker, which describes how people use books in photographs as furniture props. That showed him that books were not just for reading – the opposite of what his father had always told him.

Rosenau takes it to another level, by turning vintage books into pieces of art – which he says is easy to interpret.

“I don’t like art that requires a lot of interpretation,” he says. “My work can be viewed on a simple level.”

Rosenau’s bookshelves, shown in art galleries around the country, are traditionally sold for gifts – each of which is made for a specific person.

All of the titles are interesting phrases that can describe the person he creates the bookshelf for, he says.

Rosenau says the purpose of his art is about “helping people to reevaluate their relationships with books.”

He calls his work a solution to the overuse of trees.

“I’m not designing them for a solution to storage,” Rosenau says. “I’m just making a statement of how people can use their storage. I’m trying to trigger why people keep the things they do.”


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