Between the covers

Angeline Victor is a woman of many talents. She embroiders, knits, paints and creates unusual works of art that are just as beautiful as they are mesmerising. A year ago, she stumbled upon the art of creating folded book sculptures when she was looking to help her son with a school project. Intrigued by the art form, she began exploring platforms like Pinterest and Instagram and started experimenting with books that she had lying around at home. Beginning with simple patterns, she quickly learnt the intricacies involved and now creates complex masterpieces, each one of a kind.
A teacher at Sultan Qaboos University, Angeline has been living in Oman for over 25 years now. She creates these amazing folded book sculptures between her daily college runs and other activities.
Angeline gets her creative streak from her mother Jeba Sam Victor, who passed on her love for knitting and embroidery to Angeline and her sister when they were younger. Reminiscing about her childhood Angeline says, “I am from Tamil Nadu in India, but I spent my growing years at Panchgani, a beautiful hill station in Maharashtra where both my parents were teachers. As kids, my sister and I loved running around the rolling hills of Panchgani. We had plenty of opportunity and leisure to invest in picking up creative skills.”
Interestingly, her son Reuben, a class IV student at Indian School Ghubra has inherited her passion for all things artistic. A beautiful finger painting that Reuben created adorns one of the walls of their home. The colours and strokes of his painting are reminiscent of a Sufi dancer in motion.
It is all the more remarkable when Angeline shares that Reuben painted it when he was all of three years old. He keenly follows his mother in her artistic endeavours and has created many of his own folded book sculptures.
Making folding book sculptures calls for a keen sense of imagination, attention to detail and a lot of patience – all of which Angeline possesses in plenty. “I’ve always loved creating things with my hands, so I’m continuously looking for ways to re-purpose materials. When I came across the art of book folding, I fell in love with the idea of creating images, words and digits by simply folding the pages of a book,” she says.
Angeline breathes new life into unwanted books, which she gets mostly from the church thrift shop. “Unfortunately getting hardcover books is not easy and finding one with the right number of pages is often difficult.
The designs and size of creations depend upon the number of pages in the book.” Book folding is a meticulous art form, and the more elaborate designs can take several hours to complete. Explaining how it is done, Angeline says, “There are three techniques primarily used in book folding. First is the “normal or classic fold” which involves marking and folding each individual page at specific points to create amazing images that pop out from between the hardcovers. Second is the “snip and fold” technique where one needs to mark, snip or fold the paper – based on the template being followed.
Using this particular technique, one can lend an embossed look to the image. My favourite technique is the “combination fold” where I use a combination of both snipping and folding to achieve the desired look. I also enjoy creating either recessed or embossed patterns, which require a little more effort and skill. Basically, the options are endless, and no gluing or special equipment is required.”
It is really interesting to see Angeline at work, as she carefully plans and measures the designs and meticulously folds each page-turning an ordinary book into a beautiful piece of art.
Most of the folded book sculptures that Angeline creates are given away as gifts to friends and family. Given the fact that her work is so unique, she is often asked to customise pieces – with designs that are symbolic of special occasions like the birth a baby or for a wedding anniversary or a graduation ceremony. The only challenge that she faces is trying to source the right kind of hardcover books for her work. ach of Angeline’s creations is intended to be enjoyed as the beautiful, unique conversational piece that they are. Angeline can be reached at angelinv03@gmail.com.

BY MARY OOMMEN

Oman Observer

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