Guest post by Faith, the Book Beads lady! Faith is a polymer clay artist who loves Jane Austen and specializes in sculpting miniature books. Inspired by countless book hangovers, she found a way to keep them on hand – literally. In 2009, after more than a year of research, experimenting and effort, Book Beads was born! Book Beads is on a mission to revive dusty, old books by faithfully adapting existing ones, and allowing readers to flaunt their favorite books.
Unless I win the lottery – twice – I’m probably never going to get my hands on a first edition Austen. Four of her full-length novels were published during her lifetime in three-volume format, starting with Sense & Sensibility in 1811, and her most successful work, Pride & Prejudice in 1813.
It wasn’t a best seller then and in fact, went out-of-print for several years until publisher R. Bentley purchased the rights and issued the first inexpensive, single-volume illustrated editions in his Standard Novels series. In the 1890s, collected editions, many of them illustrated, began to appear.
Among them is the Thomson edition in the original green cloth, spine & upper board elaborately blocked with the iconic peacock design & heavily gilt.
This was a bit of a challenge to miniaturize, as the dark green background & elaborate cover did not render well on clay. I tried to use a photo editor sparingly, wanting to keep the integrity of the original cover. After much experimenting, I came up with something I liked.
Then I applied the same treatment to the First Thomson Edition (1897) of Mansfield Park and Sense & Sensibility (First Thomson Edition, 1896). Success!
This got me thinking: why stop at Austen? There are many out-of-print books with memorable covers from our childhood (and beyond) that can be resurrected in clay. I’ve added Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Huckleberry Finn, The WInd in the Willows, The Scarlet Letter and more to my collection.
The ability to restore these books in clay allows for more public enjoyment, creativity and renewed appreciation of these rare classics. Whether it’s dangling from my ears, marking a page in a book or while I’m knitting and/or holding my keys, I can now enjoy my very own rare book mini replicas! Antiquarian Jane indeed.
What books would you like to see made into Book Beads?
YOU CAN FIND ME HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE:
Amazon now carries Book Beads! http://www.amazon.com/handmade/Book-Beads
My MAIN Site MiniBookBeads
My Etsy Shop TheLiteraryCharm – Etsy