An interview with artist Sarah Rhys.

The book we sent to Sarah
Why did you want to get involved with The Library of Lost Books?
“I was drawn to the idea of working with an old, discarded book, one that would be selected by someone else and to see what I would come up with. I liked the idea of transforming the book into something else, creating new meanings.”

Did you have to cut up or otherwise destroy the book you were given, and if so, what did that feel like?
“I was unable to do anything destructive/creative to the book for several months, it would have been sacrilegious then, particularly as it is such an old and beautiful book. However, when I had worked through my ideas and process I was ready; I felt totally engaged with what I was doing with no regrets.”

What interests you about making altered books?
“It is a different way of making art. It is a response to an object and the ideas contained in it.”

How long did it take you to work with your book? How much was thinking and how much was making?
“I thought about my book for several months. I knew I wanted to work with the marginalia but it was not until I had worked through several ideas that I came to the one I used.
Thinking time, 3 months. Making time, 5 days.”

Sarah Rhys' book

What would be your dream library?
“My dream library would be in a lighthouse type building. There would be several floors, each with high ceilings. The high shelves could be reached by climbing ladders.”

What comes to mind when you think about a lost library?
“A library lost in the desert sands.”

Sarah Rhys' altered book created for The Library of Lost Books
You can see Sarah's book at the Library of Birmingham during The Library of Lost Books exhibition, 6th to 23rd November 2013. Entrance free.

(photograph by Kayleigh Bestwick and Sarah Rhys)

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