San Francisco based artist Alexis Arnold has found a way to preserve her favorite old books as timeless treasures. Her crystallized book series ‘freezes’ books into stunning, mystical sculptures using an unlikely recipe: “I primarily use the laundry detergent, Twenty Mule Team Borax, to grow crystals on the various objects, but there are many household products that can be used to grow different types of crystals,” Arnold explains. Featured here on our blog, she has said that the reaction to her work varies, but often the growth of the crystals evokes nostalgia as many of her pieces preserve works of children’s fiction.
“The Crystallized Book Series addresses the materiality versus the text or content of a book. The crystals remove the text and solidify the books into aesthetic, non-functional objects. The books, frozen with heavy crystal growth, have become artifacts or geologic specimens imbued with the history of time, use, and memory,” Arnold writes in her artist statement.
“I submerge the book in the hot, saturated solution and carefully manipulate the book to my liking. As the saturated water cools again, the molecules shrink and any excess Borax crystallises. Once the solution has completely cooled and the crystals have grown on the submerged objects, I drain the solution and dry the object without disturbing its shape. The objects will hold their new, transformed shape when completely dry.” Alexis Arnold will debut new additions to the series at state gallery in San Francisco on June 18th.