Every time I see a spy movie where a character removes an object hidden inside cut-out book pages, I think "I gotta get a scroll saw and try making one of those." Artist Kara Witham is way ahead of me: She runs SecretSafeBooks out of Chicago, selling a variety of books with hidden storage through an Etsy account. (Check out our post earlier this week about BookBook, a "bookcover" for your MacBook.)
Witham, a former security guard at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Arts, talks about how she managed to ditch the flashlight and start up her own business in this Etsy feature article:
I was never comfortable with my art, which was figurative and based upon memories of people in my life. Recently it dawned upon me why I've always enjoyed drawing in a sketchbook so much. A sketchbook can be closed, which is much less terrifying to me. One night I was aimlessly wandering the corners of the Internet when I ran across some images of hollow books. It just clicked with me. A book. A safe. A secret spot. So I researched methods to do it myself, starting out with an X-Acto blade. Later, Santa brought me a scroll saw. Eventually I started making cutouts in books for flasks, which tickles my funny-bone.
Witham's crafty process is a bit more involved than mere scroll-sawing: She chooses lined pattern paper for the interior backing, gilds the page edges, keeps them stuck together with bookbinding glue, sews in satin bookmarks, and even embeds magnets along the perimeter and in the lid so the whole thing stays firmly shut. And her choice of books can be irreverent: This handsome flask-holding tome is a copy of a certain book known for being one of the most-circulated publications in the world. (Not the Ikea catalog, the other one.)
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