The Crystallized Books of Alexis Arnold

San Francisco based artist, Alexis Arnold, creates stunning sculptures made of old, discarded books. Addressing the age-old question of materiality versus content, her Crystallized Book Series explores the palpable ways in which time shapes our cultural experiences.

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Dancing on My Grave 💃⚰️

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While the basis of her work is books, the creative process involves a natural process of crystallization, which is created using a supersaturated solution of Borax in boiling water. Placing the book in the saturated solution when hot, allows Arnold to manipulate the book to her liking. As the saturated water cools again, the molecules shrink and any excess Borax crystallizes.

The results are crystallized books that look nothing short of mesmerizing, reminiscent of mystifying objects one might find at the bottom of the ocean in a fairytale landscape. “The crystals remove the text and transform the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects,” relayed Arnold in an interview with Redefine Magazine. “The books, now frozen with heavy crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens laden with the history of time, use, and nostalgia.”

She points out that stories often exist in our memories while a book remains a spine on a shelf. “I love how just seeing a book can conjure the story contained within,” says Arnold. “With the addition of the crystal growth, the story within the book remains in memory, but new stories can be created by viewers as well.”

Follow her mesmerizing creations on Instagram.