120420-BookwormsSarah Hyatt, Northumberland News
NORTHUMBERLAND — Books aren't just meant for reading for one Port Hope artist. For the past 16 years Judith Kreps Hawkins has been turning old books into multi-media pieces. And on April 21, she'll be recognized for doing just that. Her solo show, Bookworms and Other Creatures at The Colborne Art Gallery, will showcase two rooms of her life work with an opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. on April 21.

Ms. Hawkins says she's excited to share what she does. But being an altered book artist is somewhat of a genre all on its own, she said.

"A lot of the books I use are ready to be thrown out; instead I make something out of them. It's like the starting point in a piece of art — like a piece of clay, then you manipulate it, and it evolves."

In one specific project, 'The Brown Bird,' pages from a book became the tail and feathers for the model. She then used a brownie camera, viewmaster disc, and other scrap bits and pieces to complete the bird.

"My projects are never planned, they're something that's very intuitive," said Ms. Hawkins. "I don't ever know what I'm making when I start."

Ms. Hawkins says it's almost as if the piece takes on a mind of its own. Although her career as an artist was never planned, Ms. Hawkins says deep down she always knew she wanted to pursue the arts. With her father an artistic photographer who also wrote books about his work, Ms. Hawkins grew up in love with the arts and books. But it wasn't until the hospital she was working at shut down and she was offered an early retirement as a nurse that she decided to venture forward. As a single parent who had put herself through school, books were just an easy and cheap resource to start off with, she said. Since then, her love affair with books and art has only blossomed.

For those interested in learning more about Ms. Hawkins' work, Bookworms and Other Creatures will run until May 27. More information, workshops, or viewings are also available by contacting her at 905-885-7963.