Artist Turns Old Books into Crystallized Sculptures

detail of National Geographic Magazines(Roundabout) magazines, Borax crystals, 10.25 x 6.75 x 7.5 inches, 2013.  Images via

When artist Alexis Arnold freezes old copies of National Geographic magazines, worn phone books, Holy Bibles, and classic hardcovers into crystallized sculptures, she wants to strip them of their content to focus solely on their purpose as aesthetic objects. The San Francisco-based artist has always been fascinated by “the visual display of time,” and for her ongoing series, she was especially inspired by the changing landscape of reading, from the growing popularity of e-books to the growing death of bookstores.

The texts are caught in mid-movement—bent at their spines, rolled over, and crumpled up—and are dipped into a Borax solution that emblazons them with crystals. “The Crystallized Book Series addresses the materiality of the book versus the text or content of the book, in addition to commenting on the vulnerability of the printed book," she explains on her site. “The books, frozen with crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use, and nostalgia.”

Check out more of Alexis Arnold's crystallized books below:

San Francisco Phone Book, phone book, Borax crystals, 10.5” x 10” x 10”, 2013

detail of San Francisco Phone Book, phone book, Borax crystals, 10.5” x 10” x 10”, 2013

National Geographic Magazines(Roundabout) magazines, Borax crystals, 10.25 x 6.75 x 7.5 inches, 2013

010101 Art in Technological Times book, Borax crystals, 9 x 8 x 5.5 inches, 2014.

Rolling Stone in Braille, book, Borax crystals, 9.5 x 11 x 11 inches, 2014

The Holy Bible, book, Borax crystals, 8 x 8 x 7.5 inches, 2014

Touching Time And Space: A Portrait Of David Ireland, book, Borax crystals, 10.75 x 10 x 8 inches, 2014

A History of Art book, Borax crystals, 10 x 8.5 x 9.75 inches, 2014

Robert Smithson – The Collected Writings book, Borax crystals, 10” x 8” x 9”, 2014

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