Turner Middle School art students turn abandoned books into sculpture – Loveland Reporter-Herald

In honor of National Library Week, students at Turner Middle School in Berthoud are making “book sculptures,” papier-mȃché creations made from the pages of books, that depict characters or scenes from books and movies.

The books that provided the raw materials for the sculptures were donated by the Berthoud Community Library and the Loveland Public Library, according to Jennifer Tjornehoj, the Turner Middle School art teacher who is teaching the book sculpting class.

Josh Grover, 13, a Turner Middle School seventh-grader, adds a pirate flag to his “Pirates of the Carribean” themed book sculpture Thursday, March 31, 2022, during art class at the school in Berthoud. (Jenny Sparks/Loveland Reporter-Herald)

Most of the books are ones that either contain outdated information or simply haven’t been checked out in years, Tjornehoj said, and the art project gives them one last little bit of life instead of gathering dust on shelves or being thrown out.

“Some of these I grabbed literally out of the garbage can,” Tjornehoj said.

The sculptures will be on display at the Turner Middle School library when the students have finished their work, and Berthoud Community Library and the Friends of the Loveland Public Library will be invited to see the display, and will have the opportunity to display photos of the sculptures at their libraries as well, Tjornehoj said.

She also said that students who are interested in sending their sculptures to the libraries can do so before eventually taking them home.

The project is important for connecting art students to libraries, but Tjornehoj also said that it’s valuable as a way to enable their creativity.

“We’re always looking for interdisciplinary ways to connect different parts of their school day, different parts of their regular life into art,” Tjornehoj said.

In addition to novels and films, some students made sculptures that reflected their interests, something that Tjornehoj said can help connect students to libraries through nonfiction works on things that might fascinate them.

“You’ll see some of them who are doing baseball or something,” she said. “And they’re not necessarily looking from a specific story, so much as just nonfiction, and we had a little discussion about how libraries open up all of these things that make them accessible to everyone.”

One student even chose to make a sculpture of a character from a book she is writing herself, and said that she might seek to publish. Adrianna Gutierrez, a seventh grader at Turner Middle School, has been working on a book, titled “Smuggled In,” since last year.

“It’s about these thieves who go into these famous parties and steal their valuables,” Gutierrez said as she applied another strip of papier-mȃché to her character’s dress.

Others included a flying cheetah from the book the “Unwanted,” a scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and the Biblical story of Moses parting the Red Sea.

All of the sculptures are formed around a tin foil structure that the students molded, and onto which they then applied their papier-mȃché. Once the sculptures are completed, the students will place them on a base made from an open hardcover book to display.

“It’s exciting to see them see their little things come to life,” Tjornehoj said. “All of this stuff started as almost these little balls of trash, because it starts with those little aluminum foil cores. And they just have to trust that it’s going to work out. I think it’s been a fun process.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.