06.12.2022 / Knud Wassermann

Book Sculptures Create a Wow Effect

Orufun and Bookogami are two techniques for upcycling old books. They create stunning book sculptures.
Taking a look at LinkedIn has become part of my daily work routine – posting my own posts and seeing what's going on in the network. Darren Trainer, Lead Global Print Production Manager at COTY/Wella Haircare, always delivers interesting posts from the world of print production. Although I have never met him in person, I am sure he is an absolute print aficionado. He always comes up with fascinating techniques, solutions, applications that leave me in awe. Most recently, he posted a video about book sculptures that created a wow effect for me.
Here's how to make your bookshelf a showstopper
Most of us are familiar with the traditional Japanese art of paper folding origami, where you fold a piece of paper so that it takes the shape of birds, animals and much more. In the creation of a book sculpture, the individual pages are folded in such a way that – to put it casually – three-dimensional objects are created from them between the covers of the book. The skill, precision and time required by the artist, who goes by the name Hinklay, to create these folded book creations are truly breathtaking.
Orufun is the name of the art form to which Japanese Yuto Yamaguchi, aka Hinklay, is addicted. Nothing is cut or glued in the process. Done right, simple books are transformed into objects that become real eye-catchers on any shelf. It didn't take long for him to recognize his talent and decide to earn a living with this passion. On his website, Yamaguchi shows in great detail how proper folding works. In the tutorial, each step is described, with about a heart on the shelf at the end.
Although the book is unreadable in the new format, it is already a creative masterpiece. In his webshop you can also find instructions for different motifs for little money. If you think it's too much work to turn a book into a sculpture yourself, you'll also find what you're looking for here.
Bookogami – with a sure instinct for filigree objects
But Hinklay is not the only one who makes sculptures out of books. When Anka Brüggemann opened a retail store in Quedlinburg in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt in 2006 to complement her online store "Die Buch Bar," she was looking for suitable decoration. It was obvious that this should have something to do with books, and so the first paper objects were created from old books. For this she created the artificial word Bookogami, which is made up of the Eword book and the Japanese word for paper, gami. From then on, customers were interested not only in the books, but also in the store decorations. Very quickly the first objects were sold, and in parallel there were first requests for workshops and instructions.
Thus Anka Brüggemann published the book "Papier-Objekte aus alten Büchern" ("Paper Objects from Old Books"), which was published by Schweizer Haupt Verlag. It provides ideas on how to breathe new life into old books. In contrast to Hinklay, however, not only folding is done here, but also cutting, gluing and rolling. The old book pages are turned into neat collages to glue on, clever Himmeli ornaments to hang up, pretty paper china and cutlery, and artfully folded books to display.
For all my fascination with book sculptures, I have a hard time with the idea that books can grow old. Seen in a temporal context, they simultaneously convey and manifest social, linguistic, and cultural developments, and thus are also documents of time that we need to shape our future.
Knud Wassermann,
Editor-in-Chief "Graphische Revue
Video links
06.12.2022 Knud Wassermann Editor-in-Chief of Graphische Revue