Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Little Free Libraries and the promotion of free public art

“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.” Maria Montessori.

Books open us up to a world of imagination, but before a person chooses to pick up, open and read a book, they may need to be inspired to do so. If books are fuel for the imagination, then the places where the books reside should inspire us too. That's why all of our Little Free Libraries are decorated with vivid and engaging art.

As well as being free book sharing venues for communities, each Little Free Library is a one-of-kind piece of inspiring public art. We work with a hugely talented variety of artists, from traditional contemporary artists and book illustrators to street artists, tattoo artists and many more besides.

Below we feature some of our most recent Little Free Library creations and shine a light on the fantastic artists that helped turn each into a magical and inspiring art installation.

Gabriela Castellanos has worked with us to create two beautiful artworks. The first is installed on Garner Road in Walthamstow. Above, Gabriela adding colour to the second, Epping Forest themed Little Free Library, installed on Overton Drive in Wanstead.

Above: Oliver and Freddie celebrate after their Little Free Library is installed outside their home in Wanstead.

Above: The Urban Fox Little Free Library in Stoke Newington by Hannah Adamaszek. Hannah is well known within the street art scene for her female portraits, which have brought a painterly style often found within contemporary art. In 2013 she created a stunning urban fox mural as part of the Mural on the Marsh project in East London. She has now added her urban fox design to two of our LFLs, which have both become very popular. How could you walk past this without stopping to take a book?

Pictured above, the nature themed Little Free Library by artist Leticia Molera Vasquez (pictured right) and below at work in her tattoo studio.

Artist Emma Scutt worked with us on one of our very first Little Free Libraries, pictured below left. She has been a great supporter of our charity through her collaboration and has added her beautiful, engaging art to three Little Free Libraries.

Above right: Emma brings a night owl to life. Emma has created a wide range of stunning murals as part of her portfolio and her LFL designs now form permanent art installations for communities to enjoy. We'll be installing two Little Free Libraries on Wingfield Road in Walthamstow, London on Friday 3rd October. The first pictured above right and the second will be unveiled on Friday, which is themed especially for children and of course filled with wonderful children's books.

The Red Lion Lane Little Free Library will be roaring into life on Saturday 4 October in Woolwich, South East London. The red lion design was created by illustrator Emma Russell. This is the second Little Free Library that Emma added her unique and inspiring art to.

Above: Emma Russell adds her illustrations to the Hear, Bear Pear Little Free Library. You can listen to Emma talking about how she came up with the design on London Live.

On one of our most recent projects we have been working with a very unique artist with a craft that dates back to the 15th century. Russell Frost of Hooksmith has added a one of a kind book cover to one of our Little Free Libraries, which will be installed at the Wanstead Tap in Forest Gate, London on 18 October.

Pictured above from left: Russell next to his printing press; letters inset within the press; and the top of the Little Free Library with the printed words "Once upon a time at the Wanstead Tap".

Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century until the 19th century and remained in wide use for books and other uses until the second half of the 20th century. We'll be announcing the launch event for the Wanstead Tap Little Free Library very soon. Check our website or follow us on Facebook to stay up to date.

Kiko Honda-Powell studied architectual and interior design in Osaka, Japan. Now a resident of London she has added her interpretative artistic stylings to two of our Little Free Libraries. Pictured above bluebells, trees and sunlit leaves subtly encourage passers-by to stop in for a book.

Above: a recent coffee morning meet-up at community cafe Albert and Francis in Leyton, East London, where the Little Free Library has become a popular feature.

Johnny Rotten and Samuel Plimsoll (who were both born in the area) have a chat on one side of the Finsbury Park Little Free Library, while a child points passers-by in the right direction on the door. The wonderful illustrations were created by Islington based artist Teresa Robertson. The LFL is stewarded by a wonderful community of book lovers in the Plimsoll Road area of Finsbury Park.

We'll be posting more pictures and featuring more artists soon. In the meantime you can keep up with our progress around the country on Facebook, Twitter and on our website.

Registered charity no. 1158557

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