Johnston-Edgefield-Trenton (J-E-T) Middle School students in Ms. Avis Tuttle’s advanced art classes have made some extraordinarily creative masterpieces: paper sculptures that literally pop up from the pages of a book. Before you get upset about students being allowed to ruin these books in the name of art, Tuttle explained that a library near where she lives was trying to sell old books for which they no longer had room. Any books the library couldn’t sell were going to be thrown away. Ms. Tuttle arranged for these books to be purchased, and so, in a way, she saved these books and ended up giving them a new purpose. 

She stated that, when she first explained the project and the process they would follow in tearing up these books to make art, her students looked at her like she was crazy. It was difficult and involved the students coming up with a distinctive image to create from the book, and they had to use critical thinking skills to figure out how to make their 3D sculpture, good hand-eye coordination, and Exacto knives to make small, precise cuts in the paper.

One of the advanced art students, seventh grader Elena Medlin, discussed how she felt about the process. She said it was difficult cutting with an Exacto knife and pages kept ripping. She added, “Even though it was hard coming up with an idea that would surprise everybody, I loved it. I think it’s unique to see that middle schoolers can do something like this.” These beautiful sculptures can be seen in the rotunda as you enter the school and in the media center.

Pictured: Elena Medlin

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