Art Speaks Volumes



Sam Winston has a way with words

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There are people who like to dog-ear their books, but Sam Winston takes it to a level that’s a complete art form. Frankly, I’m not sure you can consider these “dog ears” anymore, maybe “elephant ears”? Perhaps we can figure out the proper terminology, especially since this work by Winston is all about words. Prosaically entitled “Full Folded Dictionary” the piece consists of the entire 20 volume Oxford Extended Dictionary’s pages folded in on themselves. The almost biomorphic fan shapes were the result of 80,000 folds. That’s a lotta folding… and quite possibly, a lot of papercuts.

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So you’re probably wondering, what would ever move someone to do something like this? Well, you can trace Sam Winston’s artwork back to his dyslexia, a condition that allows him to look at words and text differently. He turns what some see as a disability into a source of inspiration, as he can subsequently redefine words in unexpected ways. Considering that the Oxford Dictionary purportedly contains all the words we use in the English language, it’s an interesting twist on communication, i.e. using words to say something completely different. In this case, words are the reason for the existence of the vessel, the dictionary, which is now transformed into sculpture, which as an art form communicates on a completely different level from speech or writing.

Subtler meanings aside, you can just appreciate the forms made by Winston’s crafting. It’s not the first time we’ve seen something similar, although it’s definitely the most thoughtfully conceived one I’ve encountered. A friend actually saw folded books for sale at an online auction site, and he so taken by them that he purchased a couple as decorative objects. If you’re pateient it’s an easy enough thing to do yourself, with a series of varied folds done in repeating order. It’s a cool way to recycle books you may never use again. Fold two similarly sized books and glue their covers together to form a sort of honeycomb pedestal for a vase or other object in your home, or get a little thoughtful and use them as self-referential bookends.

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For more of Sam Winston’s work, you can visit his website at

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George G., Creative Director At Large, is a New York-based art director whose work spans everything from store display to interactive media. Also an accomplished artist, his illustrations have been published and exhibited in various galleries in New York. Being a self-professed design junkie, he is constantly on the lookout for what’s new and fresh in the worlds of art and design.

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