Artful Bookshelves by Joseph Walsh

Beautiful, non-traditional bookshelves which inspire the mind while nurturing the soul. They are unlike any other bookshelves I have seen, but so fluid and evocative of nature that they feel as comfortable as a walk through woods. Joseph Walsh is an amazing designer, and manages to meld exquisite form with sublime practicality.

Pure eye candy, for his work is well beyond the depths of my pockets. Still, I can always dream.

   Enignum XIII Shelf Enignum XIII Shelf. Image Courtesy of Joseph Walsh

Enignum XIII Shelf
Image Courtesy of Joseph Walsh

Artist statement:

In the Enignum series of work, I have stripped wood into thin layers, manipulating and reconstructing them into free form compositions. I then shape through these layers to reveal not only the honesty of the structure but the sculpted form which is a unique collaboration of man and material. The title derives from the Latin words Enigma (‘mystery’) and Lignum (‘wood’), for me they sum up the series: the mystery of the composition lies in the material.

Image Courtesy of Joseph Walsh.
Enignum. Image Courtesy of Joseph Walsh.

 

“Irish born designer Joseph Walsh falls into the “I don’t know how he does it” category. Self taught, his work manages to be sensually stunning and technically brilliant at the same time…”

The Wall Street Journal, April 2011

Magnus Cellestii. Image Courtesy of Joseph Walsh.
Magnus Cellestii. Image Courtesy of Joseph Walsh.

Artist statement:

Magnus Celestii is the first work of this scale to be realised by Joseph Walsh’s studio.

The title of the pieces derives from the Latin words Magnus (‘Large’ / ‘Great’) and Celesti (‘Heavenly’). Here, Joseph is conscious of the viewers’ experience in the gallery while adhering to the creative language of collaboration between man and material. The large, free form sculpture is made from layers of ash, spiralling upwards from floor to ceiling. Emerging out of a desk form, the sculptural work expands outwards to wrap the entire one-roomed space of the Artists’ House, coming to rest with a large shelf hanging on the side wall of the gallery. 

The work presents an opportunity for Joseph to address the relationship between form and function, as well as the artists’ challenge to encourage viewers to see and experience the piece from different perspectives.

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Easy Corner Bookcase!

Umbra Conceal Wall Bookshelf
Umbra Conceal Wall Bookshelf

By now, most of you have probably seen Umbra’s Conceal Wall Bookshelf.  Although they look like a good idea, I’ve never really cared for the sample displays I’ve seen. Then I came across this clever corner arrangement, which makes great use of otherwise wasted space.

Image by M. Jackson via Amazon.com
Image by M. Jackson via Amazon.com

I’ve been eyeing a lot of the corners in my house; thinking about adding new shelves. The Umbras are fairly inexpensive, unless you want to buy a bunch of them. A less expensive option would be to use brackets from the hardware store as shown in this tutorial. (I also like the paper with text behind the shelves.)

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This video suggests paper clipping the cover to some of the book pages, if you want to hide the bracket. Some people put hook and loop tape on the book to hold the cover in place, but the paper clip isn’t permanent.

Have you used invisible shelves? Send me a shelfie!

Dickens’ Faux Bookcase and “The Last Dickens”

Dickens' Dream by Robert William Buss, portraying Dickens at his desk at Gads Hill surrounded by many of his characters
Dickens’ Dream by Robert William Buss, portraying Dickens at his desk at Gads Hill surrounded by many of his characters

“The Last Dickens, A Novel,” by Matthew Pearl provides an exciting mystery which follows Dickens’ life and presents a compelling alternative ending to his unfinished masterpiece, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Pearl is known for his well-researched literary mysteries, including The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.

The novel flows effortlessly between two time frames, and describes Dickens’ last trek along the eastern seaboard from December 1868 until April 1868; alternating with the period immediately after his death on June 8, 1870. Both timelines relate tales of “bookaneers,” unsavory characters who take advantage of early U.S. copyright laws, and their fight to acquire books for publication without paying fees to authors. These presage Pearl’s latest novel, “The Last Bookaneer.”

The twisty mystery weaves its way through a complicated chase to find the missing Edwin Drood chapters, if they exist. The hunt makes its way through England, the U.S., and India, and describes members from all echelons of society, from the rich Harper brothers, founders of the American publishing company Harper Collins, to desperate opium growers in India.

Although murder and mayhem are the order of the day in the novel, the rich detail provides an interesting peek at the life and times of Dickens. For example, the novel mentions a secret bookcase door in Dickens’s study at Gad’s Hill Place. A quick search turned up the following images. The first shows the position of the door within the library; the second is a close-up of the door.

The study at Gad's Hill Place where Charles Dickens lived and died, near Rochester, Kent. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian Graham Turner/Guardian
The study at Gad’s Hill Place where Charles Dickens lived and died, near Rochester, Kent. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian Graham Turner/Guardian

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What makes this faux bookcase so much fun is that Dickens made up the book titles. His wit and style is readily apparent with book jackets displaying names like: History of a Short Chancery Suit in twenty-one volumes, Socrates on Wedlock, King Henry the Eighth’s Evidences of Christianity, and the series The Wisdom of Our Ancestors: I Ignorance, II Superstition, III The Block, IV The Stake, V The Rack, VI Dirt, and VII Disease. Alongside these was placed a very narrow dummy volume entitled The Virtues of Our Ancestors.”

Beautiful Historic Libraries: Book Stacks in China

There seem to be quite a number of memes referring to book stacks these days, but the idea is hardly new; you maybe surprised to find out libraries stored books as stacks as early as 1561 in Asia.

The Zunjing Hall located within the Tianyi Chamber by User:Gisling via Wikipedia
The Zunjing Hall located within the Tianyi Chamber by User:Gisling via Wikipedia

Tianyige Library, with beautiful gardens and outbuildings, is located on the bank of the Moon Lake in Ningbo, China. In Chinese alchemy, Tianyi is linked to the element of water; it was believed the name would provide protection against fire damage. The gold plated buildings, the garden bamboo groves, pool and rockery preserve an atmosphere of seclusion, contemplation and study.

Statue of Fan Qin, the founder of the chamber by User: Gisling Via Wikipedia
Statue of Fan Qin, the founder of the chamber by User: Gisling Via Wikipedia

Tianyige Library is the oldest private library still in existence in China; is also the oldest private library in Asia, and one of the three earliest private libraries in the world. It contains displays of old books and tablets, and was built between 1561 and 1566 by the Defense Minister Fan Qin during the Ming Dynasty. Fan Qin’s collection went back to the eleventh century and included woodblock and handwritten copies of the Confucian classics.

Tian Yi Chamber library book case by User: Gisling via Wikipedia
Tian Yi Chamber library book case by User: Gisling via Wikipedia

There are more than 300,000 volumes of books in Tianyige Museum. The collection is strongest in local histories and imperial examination records during the Ming period. It provides a unique example of the Chinese private book-collecting tradition as well as a symbol of the continuity of Chinese culture and civilization.

Ming dynasty antique books in Tianyi Chamber collection by User:Gisling Via Wikipedia
Ming dynasty antique books in Tianyi Chamber collection by User:Gisling Via Wikipedia

Summer Book Challenge

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I’ve joined the Big Book Summer Challenge over on Book by Book. I just finished Uprooted by Naomi Novik (431 pages), and I’ll have a Lit Bit review up soon. I’m trying to decide if I should read Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (666 pages), or Brandywine by Jack Rowe (394 pages.) I know the latter is a little short, but I need it for WroteTrips. I also need Ahab’s Wife for a presentation, so I’ll have to see how it goes.

I need to read Cop Town by Karin Slaughter for a July book group, and it’s 453 pages, but it’s a paperback.

Right now, I’m well into The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl, at 383 pages. I felt like reading a mystery, and like novels about books, so I thought that I’d give it a try.

For better or worse, I read really fast, and I read a lot. My local library started their reading challenge at the beginning of June, and I’ve already won all of the individual prizes. I’ve even won the first giveaway. Maybe I’ll go to one of the other county libraries and sign up there so that I can win more prizes.

Design Inspiration from Bookshelf by Alex Johnson

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Since we are all book addicts, we tend to be a little obsessed about bookshelves. It’s easy to drool over the mega-masterpiece shots taken of libraries located in mansions, castles and noteworthy libraries. However, as beautiful as the images are, they aren’t something that will comfortably fit in your average home. 

Collectors don’t need to resort to boring bookshelves though. In Bookshelf, Alex Johnson provides 267 pages filled with color images of the best contemporary design. Some, like Metamorphosis by Sebastian Errazuriz, draw their inspiration from organic forms. While Metamorphosis is beautiful, I don’t like my books to stand on an angle; it damages the book.

http://www.meetsebastian.com/sebastian-errazuriz-design-art-tree-shelf-metamorphosis
http://www.meetsebastian.com/sebastian-errazuriz-design-art-tree-shelf-metamorphosis

 

 

Others are not only art pieces, but have a very obvious political message. Of War & Wits & Power, by Daniel Loves Objects Furniture, would make a wonderful place to store a collection of banned books.

http://www.coroflot.com/daniellove/PRODUCT-DESIGN
http://www.coroflot.com/daniellove/PRODUCT-DESIGN

 

Others, like Stacked by Vincent Leman are far more whimsically inclined.

http://dustfurniture.com/
http://dustfurniture.com/

Bookshelf lists the websites of the featured designers, so you can find something in your price range. Alternatively, it is a wonderful source of inspiration for clever DIY-ers. 

Bonus idea: There are a bunch of Ikea hacks out there, and one bookshelf design won the 2014 Hack of the Year award. Check it out.

http://www.ikeahackers.net/2014/11/hyllis-all-the-way.html#kgxeuWQ6e8w0HU1G.99
http://www.ikeahackers.net/2014/11/hyllis-all-the-way.html#kgxeuWQ6e8w0HU1G.99