Students Recycle Books to Create Art in 2nd Annual Re:Book Contest

From a wearable neckpiece to a working clock, the submissions to the second annual Re:Book contest at Honnold/Mudd Library showed an impressive creativity in recycling and re-imagining old books. The Library Outreach Committee displayed the products of this unique, repurposed-paper art contest last Tuesday in honor of National Library Week. The goal of the contest, as the event promotions said, was “to give worn or cast-off pages new life.”

Winners, each of whom received an Amazon gift card, were announced at the event. They were judged by the Library Outreach Committee, made up of ten library staff members, on three basic scales: beauty, technical skill, and uniqueness. First place was awarded to Leo Estrada PO ’16 for “By Love Possessed,” a collage created from the graphics found in a book. Emily Proulx PO ’16 won second place for her intricate sculpture of trees and ladders entitled “Hanging Chads,” and Ivette Guadarrama PO ’13 won third place for her “Bookstyle” paper fedora, handbag, and accessories.

Proulx saw Re:Book as “a great opportunity to do art again” after focusing more on her interest in math since arriving at Pomona College.

Vivian Ponte-Fritz PZ ’15 and Kyra Payne PZ ’15, also participants in the competition, saw the competition as motivation for pushing themselves further outside of their traditional artistic work.

“Usually I’ll just draw or make something up on my own, but this way I had to use something that was given [to] me,” Ponte-Fritz said.

Even more significant than simply providing an outlet for artists to challenge themselves with recycled materials, Re:Book brought this inspiring and creative atmosphere to the somewhat unusual context of the library.

“It’s really cool how much time all these people spent doing a project for the library; it’s a cool environment this created,” Payne said.

Ponte-Fritz saw the creation of such an environment as crucial to the development of the library as a communal space among the 5Cs.

“I love the library so much—it’s such a mystical place for me; it’s such an escape,” Ponte-Fritz said. “For people to interact with the library in a fun way is so important.”

Natalie Tagge and Kate Crocker, library staff members who originally thought of the idea for Re:Book and helped coordinate the competition, were impressed with how people seemed to truly embrace the creative spirit.

“I really enjoy seeing the diversity of everything that comes in,” Crocker said.

The recycling idea behind Re:Book fits well with the message of Earth Week, which is coming up next week—an intentional choice on the part of the Outreach Committee.

“We decided to go ahead with this Re:Book idea because Earth Day falls around National Library Week … it seemed like a good way to support that also,” Tagge said. “We wanted a way that people could think about recycling an object in a more creative way.”

Tagge also pointed out that even as we live in the digital age, there’s still a lot of paper use on campus—paper that, perhaps, could be given an artful second life through creative recycling.

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