multiple books next to each other with folded pages to spell out Longwood

One for the (Reimagined) Books: Our Music Room Sings

By Katie Mobley, on

This year’s imaginative Christmas display, in which we look at trees in a whole new light, most certainly hits a high note in the Music Room. It’s here where creative paper and book embellishments, anchored by a rotating 18-foot Fraser fir graced with a garland of silver and copper books, truly sing in a masterfully reimagined library concept.

It’s also here where the intricate paper works and book art crafted by local artists Dannielle and Lee Vincent are beautifully showcased. Dannielle, with Lee’s help and support, has handmade dozens upon dozens of folded book art, book sculptures, framed book art, and paper ornaments for the Music Room, which together tell a story of love, purposeful repurposing, and Dannielle’s dedication to her art. What’s stunning about her work is the precision and patience that goes into every piece, resulting in thoughtfully folded art depicting anything from a graceful flower to the towering windows of Longwood’s Conservatory.

close up of opened book with folded pages that form three flowers

A selection of book art awaits its Music Room display. Photo by Casey Orlosky.

When Dannielle lost her job in February 2015, she decided to shift her efforts to her creative side and appreciation of math, so she set out to learn the art of manipulating paper. An entirely self-taught artist, Dannielle learned her craft watching online tutorials and joining online paper art communities to gather guidance and sample patterns. “I watched tutorials for about a month before I had the courage to try my first piece, which was a simple heart,” she explains. Over the years, Dannielle’s designs have become more elaborate and she now designs and creates her own patterns.

Dannielle starts her book art process with an idea of what she’d like to design, be it a whimsical heart or graceful flower or scripted text, and draws her concept using graphic design software. Next, she finds a book that will accommodate her intended design, in terms of the book’s height and number of pages, allowing for enough surface area on which to create her design. Dannielle sources a number of books from local library sales and thrift stores. “The books would otherwise just sit or be thrown out,” explains Dannielle. “To me, using these books is an act of purposeful recycling.”

person at desk folding book pages into art

Dannielle Vincent crafts her intricate paper works and book art in her Downingtown, PA home and studio. Photo by Daniel Traub.

Using software, Dannielle renders her pattern based on the specifications of the book in which her design will be crafted, transforming it into a series of measurements. From there, everything is done by hand. Dannielle uses a printed paper ruler and mechanical pencil to make precise marks in the book, and from there cuts and folds until her design is complete—a process that can take upwards of five days to complete one book, as everything is cut by hand and sight. The pages stay in place by crease and are not glued. “The pages remember,” chuckles Dannielle. Remarkably, Dannielle typically makes cuts only in the margins of each book (the smallest of which measures in at a mere 1 millimeter), so, technically, those books could still be read after Dannielle has completed her work.

close up of persons hands folding book pages into art

Dannielle Vincent dexterously folds each page according to exact measurements. Photo by Daniel Traub.

In addition to her folded book art, the Music Room showcases a variety of ethereal ornaments and book sculptures, as well as the Vincents’ framed book art, with six-foot frames that Lee carefully constructed from recycled pallets. Dannielle and Lee work from their Downingtown, PA, home and studio and sell their work via their Etsy shop, PreMadeReMade. We’re very proud to showcase their work in this year’s display.

multiple books next to each other with folded pages to spell out Longwood

Reimagined books and paper works adorn the Music Room. Photo by Hank Davis.

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