“That which is no longer necessary becomes art.”
I have gone on record that, far from dying out, the codex will flourish in the Internet age. Freed from the pressures of mass information delivery, books will be created with an eye to art.
It has begun. Penguin Threads features embroidered covers on classic works: Little Women, The Wizard of Oz, The Wind in the Willows, Emma, The Secret Garden, and Black Beauty. The originals are, “sketched out in a traditional illustrative manner, then hand stitched using needle and thread.” The commercial covers are embossed to follow the contours of the embroidery.
Short of putting the book in your hands, I cannot adequately convey how cool this looks and feels. Even the title on the spine is raised. The inside of the covers shows the reverse side of the embroidery, down to knots and loose threads. Someone had fun coming up with that idea. The paper, printing, and graphic design are in keeping with a beautiful, touchable book. The artist for the Black Beauty cover was Jillian Tamaki.
Now that I have this fancy copy, I’m not sure if I will reread the story. It isn’t the happiest of plots. However, makers of beautiful books need to be encouraged. My purchase is a vote for art.
The series is worth checking out if you have any interest in books, book making, graphic design, or crafts.
Coincidentally, The Wall Street Journal appears to agree with me on the longevity of the codex, Don’t Burn Your Books—Print Is Here to Stay, January 5, 2013.