Artist Kristin Healey isn’t out to destroy the pages of old books, just to cut them up enough to give them a new life.
Healey, the featured artist for November at the Havelock-Craven County Public Library, will be treated to a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the library.
Healey can take an old page from a long-ago discarded book and painstakingly slice an intricate piece of genuine artwork out of it.
"I don’t rip the books apart. I don’t take the still readable books. I take the books that are the lonesome ones that somebody has put at the end of their driveway or the books that are already falling apart," Healey said.
Healey, of Newport, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and owner of Noelle Designs.
"Once I hit college years, I studied art at VCU in Richmond, Va.," Healey said. "I went in to be a painter but they had an amazing program there they called the craft major, so my focus there was sculpture, ceramic pottery, glass blowing, jewelry, nothing like I’m doing now."
She will be hanging 30 pieces of her unique artistry in the library.
"This will be my first solo show besides my first college solo show," Healey said.
She said she started working with old books because they were readily available.
"I have just started working with it and people started to respond to it and I started to really enjoy the paper cutting," she said. "I’m not a paper-cutting artist. That’s not what I’ve usually done in the past, but I’ve kind of become one.
"A lot of people ask me if it’s Sherenschnitte, that German word for paper-cutting. You see a lot of it in Pennsylvania. It was brought over here from Germany. It’s kind of like a modern take on that except I use like the black and then the book pages."
Items in nature are the subject of many of the works.
"Right now that’s definitely a big inspiration," she said. "Where I live is a bird sanctuary. I’ve always been inspired by nature as well. That is the theme that I’ve been working with lately."
Healey said her work started from making a Christmas ornament.
"Then from there, I just started to go on trying to think of things that I could do with book pages," she said.
The work progressed from hair bows, jewelry, and necklaces to her current pieces.
"I just started experimenting," Healey said. "I just tried to make them look a lot more lifelike. Some of them were just a little too flat. They were a little traditional. So I just started playing around folding the paper and trying to give it a different look."
The works are generally 5-by-7 inches, with a maximum width of 11 inches. It all depends on the book pages, be it dictionaries, novels or poetry books.
"Sometimes the older books are a little more delicate and harder to use," Healey said.
She has made prints of many of her works and sells those, plus originals, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. most Saturdays at the Farmers Market in New Bern.
Healey’s work will be on display at the library through the end of the month. The library is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.