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Students transform books into 3D art in library upcycling contest

Winners of the Jerry Falwell Library's Creative Upcycling Contest.
Student winners of the Jerry Falwell Library’s creative upcyclying contest (from left): Kayla Dorsey, Douglas Thompson, Jacob Wallin, Tessa Perpete, and Caroline Dickey. (Not pictured: Abbie Barber).

In honor of National Book Month, the Jerry Falwell Library recently hosted its first Creative Upcycling Contest, “Art Made from Books,” resulting in 44 three-dimensional submissions made from repurposed books.

Sophomore engineering student Kayla Dorsey won Best in Show with her “Spirit of Liberty” entry, earning her a Google Nexus tablet as a prize. Senior theatre arts student Jacob Wallin’s “Bedtime Stories” and senior digital and studio arts student Tessa Perpete’s “Imagination” tied for Most Original. Senior aeronautics student Douglas Thompson’s “Rustic Mask” won Most Functional, sophomore digital and studio arts student Abbie Barber’s “Scattering Victorian Reform” won Most Intricate, and sophomore history student Caroline Dickey’s “Soaring” won Most School Spirit.

“The goal is to show how old books can be repurposed into creative pieces of art, furniture, and fashion,” said Cindy Schmidt, head of the library’s communication and customer services.

The winning composition of the Creative Upcycling Contest.
Sophomore engineering student Kayla Dorsey’s winning composition “Spirit of Liberty,” was named Best in Show.

Under the contest’s requirements, each composition was made at least 75 percent from old books.

“The contest is just one way that the library seeks to showcase the creativity and talents of our students in a wide range of fields, while also encouraging an environmentally friendly mindset of upcycling old materials into new things,” Schmidt said.

The contest was judged by three design professionals — Heidi Cupka, certified interior designer and owner of Interior Creations in Roanoke, Va; Kevin Chadwick, a distinguished artist and illustrator with clients such as Hallmark cards, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, PBS, National Geographic, and the New York Times Book Review; and Ron Schwedt, an experienced upcycler and retired woodshop, drafting, photography, and yearbook teacher with more than 25 years of experience.

The winning entries will be displayed in the lower Esbenshade Atrium of the Jerry Falwell Library through Oct. 17.

  • See more pictures from the contest on the library’s Facebook page.