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Open Right

Nicholas Jones

Curriculum Specialist, Education Consultant, Illustrator

Nicholas Jones is a contemporary visual artist specialising in book sculpture. Nicholas is available for different kinds of events including workshops, literary festivals and artist residencies.

So, Nicholas, you cut up, fold, sew, and tear hardcover books to make artworks. Why?

The physical act of folding, tearing and sewing book leaves, may be considered iconoclastic (extinguishing the fire of reason, perhaps). Although sometimes iconised for their content or historical importance, more often than not, books are discarded as cultural detritus.

These transformed books I make aim to highlight the poetic nature of the book as form. As historical phenomena, books have reflected the evolution of mankind, and although besieged by new technologies, the book remains steadfastly both the solver of the riddle and the creator of the labyrinth.

What themes are recurring in your work?

My work looks at history, recycling, literature and the way we collect things. Mapping and finding our place in the world. By carving into a book or folding the pages, new stories can emerge.

What are you passionate about?

I have always been passionate about the democracy of information and the power of the written word. Searching through libraries and waiting for the ideas to fly off the page is a wonder!

What have been the highlights of your career?

Spending a year as a Creative Fellow at the State Library of Victoria was a dream come true! Having artwork included in many exhibitions in Australia and overseas is always so exciting as one never knows who will see your work.

Have your artworks, made of books, been shown in other published books?

Yes — quite a few! They include Book Art (Gestalten), Playing with Books (Quarry Books), Art Made from Books (Chronicle), Where They Create (Frame) and Craft Unbound (Craftsman House).

Haven’t I seen you before?

I am a bit of a flaneur who wanders around Melbourne looking for interesting and inspiring imagery. I have also been interviewed in the paper a few times.

What other jobs have you had?

I have done bits and bobs over the years, from working as a pot washer, to making coffee and decorating shop windows, but teaching has been a constant.

Where were you born?

I was born in West London, but have lived in Melbourne since I was two years old.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Books are undergoing a change as the internet takes hold of information transfer, but the beauty and perfection of the book format cannot be challenged!


Our students spent a fascinating couple of days with Nicholas at our school. He shared his talents and guided us to create our own book sculptures. Our staff and students were captivated by Nicholas’ work as an artist, and then delighted to try some of his techniques. As one student said, “I thought this was going to be hard, but I just love it!” Nicholas’ respectful management of our classes and his easy going manner made him very approachable. The majority of students even returned at lunchtime to spend time with him and continue what they’d learned. Three weeks later and students are still creating book sculptures!

—C. Evans, Teacher Librarian, Melbourne Girls Grammar School

At ELTHAM College we had the pleasure of booking Nicholas Jones to run workshops for our students in Years 3-6. With anticipation, all the students arrived with an old hard cover book and were enthralled by Nicholas as he introduced the idea of book sculpting and how he had been drawn to it. Nicholas has an engaging personality and having a teaching background, was at ease with the students was able to read their attention and keep the group on track. Once the students began their own creation, the room was abuzz with chatting and folding, but with a calming methodical feel. Nicholas moved between groups and advised or assisted. Over the next few weeks, I have had students coming to me asking for another book or saying they have done 3 at home. A truly unique experience presented by a creative and imaginative individual!

—R. McLean, Junior Years Librarian, Eltham College

Nicholas spent two days working with my primary aged students, from years 2,4 & 5. He was well prepared, with many artworks to show the students. Nicholas connected well with the students, explaining his work to them and answering their questions. The students were engaged throughout his talk and demonstration.

Nicholas demonstrated a number of different options for the folded book sculptures which made it possible for the students to create their own variation.

My students really enjoyed the lesson and enjoyed chatting with Nicholas during the activity time.

I would recommend Nicholas to others as he is well prepared, an experienced teacher, connects easily with students and the students find his work fascinating and thoroughly enjoyed having an opportunity to explore these ideas themselves.

—S. Darlison, Art teacher, St Andrews Christian College

The astounding Nicholas Jones visited our school to support our Art Program. He worked with our Prep to Grade 6 classes for two lessons. He totally engaged our students with his presentation and unique style.

He was generous in sharing his secrets of transforming a hard covered book into a work of art.

All students eagerly and confidently created a distinctive book sculpture and became so involved with the process that creations were being produced at home. Having Nicholas, a professional artist work with me and our students was a valuable artistic experience, one that we are still talking about!

—M. Tkatchenko, Visual Art Teacher, Fairfield Primary School

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