Chris Whittlesey is the creator and owner of Sculpted Books, which offers both completed and fold-it-yourself book sculptures. He had the idea of making book sculptures about 10 years ago when he saw one in someone's office. He had always loved 3-dimensional art, and was blown away by the fact that something as simple as a book could be turned into something so captivating. Once he retired years later, he had time on his hands to bring his idea to life.
What is your favorite piece of work that you have created?
For several years, I worked with a therapy dog named Hope at Henry Ford Hospital. She brought so much joy to people. When I ended my involvement with the pet therapy program, I created a "Hope" design and gave it to her owner, who is a hospital employee. It sits on the bookshelf in her office and, like the dog, I think the book brings a lot of joy to people who see it.
What are you currently working on?
I consider myself a maker and a tinkerer first and foremost. I just love making things and working on anything electrical or mechanical. For the last couple of years I've been working on a machine that will automatically fold my book sculptures. It's been quite an endeavor!
However, after a lot of long hours working on it, it's really working well.
Do you have a fun story about an experience involving your artwork?
Christmas season of 2021 I was at an art fair booth, and a guy came by and stopped and kind of stared at one of my designs, the Celtic Knot. He showed me his wedding band which was
very similar in design and said his wife's wedding band had the same design, and asked me about the design and what it was called. When I told him it was called a Celtic Knot and that
it has no beginning or end and is a symbol of eternity, his jaw kind of dropped; he was
stunned. Appparently he just thought the rings looked cool, but had no idea of the
meaning behind them. Obviously, he bought the sculpture to give to his wife...and I
guess he knows what his wedding ring is all about now!
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?
"Do what you love, and you'll never work another day in your life"
It may be trite, but it's true. I do, but it doesn't feel like work. It just feels like me being
my best self and doing what I was always meant to do. I love it.
You can find Chris' wonderful book sculptures at Yellow Door Art Market and here on his Sculpted Books website.