​Sarah Simmons

The BookGarden​

In September of 2016 I began growing my BookGarden by stacking and shelving 800 discarded books along with hemlock logs, dirt rocks, and bulbs in a 1000 square foot area in Moon Township, PA.  I have continued to cultivate the BookGarden with additional plants, books and discarded items, creating a spot for mushrooms, native plants, insects, and other creatures to make their home.


The BookGarden is part recycling project, part artistic installation, part science experiment.  Identifying creatures and growths in the garden is a way that I pay homage to my Mother's  career as a science teacher and her persistent  scientific investigation of everything around her.  I always wanted to show her how close the relationship between art and science really can be.  She passed away unexpectedly and suddenly four months after I began the BookGarden.  The photograph, "Daughter Without Mother", was taken on the  first birthday I experienced after her death.


I have not added and additional plants or books to the garden in 2018 and I have been letting the plant life grow wild.  In the Fall of 2017 I added "Bedtime Stories", a bed made from wood and books that was part of an outdoor sculpture exhibit at Oglebay in West Virginia.  Next year I may decide to groom and add to the garden, or not.  It is an ever-changing work in progress with no rules.


I have been documenting this project with almost daily photographs, taken using my iPhone 6plus camera.  Some images have been cropped, but none of the images have been altered in any other way.  I do not use filters, color enhancers, lighting adjustments, or any other editing tools.  I also do not alter or move actual items in the BookGarden for a photograph, i.e. I do not stage any photos, but instead look for text, positioning and creatures to capture.


Follow me on Instagram @inyourclutches for updated Bookgarden photos as well as what I'm reading and creating.