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Here is where you will find stories and quick projects that relate to the spirit of this project.  They don’t quite fit on any of the other pages, yet, but they should be of interest and/or amusing.

ONCE READ, NOT FORGOTTEN – Recycled Paper-Back Books

 by BJ Adams 



Once Read, Not Forgotten


Once Read, detail


25 inches high by 31½ inches wide by 4 inches deep (wall piece)

10 inches high by 20 inches wide by 14 inches deep (3 D piece)

Folded paper-back books on Gatorfoam board

Paper back books are accumulated in great quantities. Trying to give them away does not always work; but they shouldn’t end up in the circular file. I started cutting and folding these book many years ago and found an endless source of sculptural forms could be created. To give these inexpensive books the dignity of a second life became a goal. This year (2007)   I combined  several of these books into a wall piece taking them out of the three dimensional sculptural form and into a textured two dimensional wall piece, titled Once Read, Not Forgotten.

After hanging this two dimensional piece I began to see new avenues for these read and toss books. In this textural shape they could cover walls or ceilings as sound barriers. They could be used as borders around the ceilings of rooms, dividers in libraries or other quiet places. They could be painted, heavily, although I preferred the faint remnants of the printed words, that show through a light coat of paint, as a stripe or pattern.


Jeweler Bianca Terranova and her husband were on a Nat’l. Geographic expedition in Sea of Cortez (he was the ship’s doctor), where they befriended some Hollywood celebrities who, when they learned that Bianca was spending an overnight at the LA airport on her way home alone (her husband had a second trip on the ship), insisted she go to a birthday party that night. They would send a limo to pick her up and bring her back to the hotel…how could she say no?  However, she had only her watch and wedding ring on (it was an expedition, very casual dress). So while she could rustle up black slacks and a clean top, she really felt the need for adornment of some kind. She spent about 2 days making her necklace from discarded “Daily News” Xeroxes the ship hands out, plus red drinks straws from bar discards, and she talked the ship’s engineer into “lending” her his hefty needle and waxed thread. She tore stacks of paper into circles, by hand, in decreasing diameters. Some very painful fingers later, she had enough stacks of paper disks to assemble her necklace. She says that the waxed thread turned out to not be a great idea…the bow she tied kept slipping and the necklace kept lengthening, especially when she joined in the belly dancing…but she had a real blast, and the necklace (pictured here) was a bold presence amongst the diamonds and gems.




As an abstract sculptor, mostly using industrial materials, I am drawn to the wire/metal detritus I find on the city’s streets, alleys, and sidewalks.   I pick these pieces up because their shapes or their patinas are appealing.  (It helps to have a plastic bag along to put these in so that they don’t leave rust/dirt/etc. on the other things in my purse or pockets.) 

Transparent One


I bring the pieces back to the studio and think about various ways to use them, but often they simply accumulate in a box.  When I enthusiastically showed some to the painter with whom I shared a studio, he began to collect others for me and, as he came to the studio through an alley by an auto repair shop, I learned about brake pads and other auto parts.  Another friend who knew I got excited by street findings surprised me at my door bearing a piece that looked like a bale of wire that had been run over by a truck and lay in the gutter rusting — a great treasure! 

Midtown Marriage


Once, when a solo show of my “serious” sculpture emptied my studio, I brought out my box of street findings, spread them on the table and, suddenly, began to see them as city people.  (Putting them together is often difficult; I’ve experimented with various glues; some work better than others.)  The finished “city folk” have great personality that cries to be expressed.  They often pair off which each other or form a related group.  But they can each stand (or dance) on their own.

Sometimes, the found street detritus, like the broken glasses, just become a piece on their own.


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