From the pages of history books, novels, and atlases, Cambridgeshire-based artist Emma Taylor (previously) unfurls the written word into three-dimensional narratives. In one work titled “Sailing the Seven Seas,” a wooden ship glides over rippling pages. Others feature a woodpecker knocking at the side of Bird Life and Bird Lore or a tiny mouse curling up for a nap with Beatrix Potter. Using materials from vintage world maps to The Lore of the Falcon, the artist constructs paper sculptures in painstaking detail, which appear to surface organically from the contents.
During the past few years, Taylor has experimented with different ways to position each copy, focusing on a variety of arrangements and expanding her earlier emphasis on building upward from an open spread. More valuable titles with colorful cloth covers form the basis for pieces, while others are deconstructed, reassembled, and given a new chapter. “I spend hours scouring antique shops, market stalls, and online bookstores in order to source topical books, typically dating to the first half of the 20th century,” she says. “I instantly know the right book, as I can picture the sculpture as if it has been laying dormant, just waiting to be given form.”
Taylor recently showed some of the work you see here at Byard Art in Cambridge, and you can find more on her website or Instagram, where she shares updates and insights into her process.