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By Rebecca Wallace

About this blog: I grew up in Menlo Park and have long been involved with both local journalism and local theater. After starting my career as an editorial intern with The Almanac, I was a staff reporter for the Almanac and the San Mateo County Ti...  (More)

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A reading rainbow

Uploaded: Oct 8, 2013
If life gives you self-help manuals, make a quilt. Well played, artist Lisa Kokin, who found a bunch of said manuals at a recycling center and gave their spines new life as the finely stitched 2010 work "Fret." My detail photo also offers a taste of her flair for color.

"Sometimes the spines remain partially or wholly intact, but sometimes I sacrifice the titles to make cheery shapes like flowers and leaves, which I hope will create eternal happiness for the viewer in five days or less," writes the East Bay artist, whose portfolio of work includes button works and sculptures.

Kokin also creates altered books and book collages, which makes her a fine fit for the Palo Alto Art Center's current show, "Bibliophilia," where "Fret" is now on display. I had written a preview story about the exhibit focusing mainly on the book works by Emily Payne, and yesterday I got to see the full show, which contains art by 15 people overall.

Another highlight was the section of oil paintings by Scot Velardo. Old and discarded books are the canvases for him to paint scenes of street life in San Francisco, New York, Milan.

Seen here: a book called "The Wonderful World of Music" revamped into a slice of life on Harrison Street in San Francisco. Beautiful how the texture of the book title blends with the new painting, and how the conductor's arms open to the new sky.

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