Skip to main content

The Traveling Bookbox Show

By September 17, 2016Arty

Literature seems to inspire the artist in all of us and literary art can be some of the most beautiful that you will find.

Lisa Swerling is a British born artist who makes the most beautiful diorama style literary art pieces which she has called The Traveling Bookbox Show which went on tour earlier this year (2016) beginning in Green Apple Books in San Francisco and moving on to London in the summer where they are on display from 14th-25thSeptember in the JW3 lounge as part of the Hampstead and Highgate Literary Festival 2016

On her website Lisa says:

Last year I decided to dedicate some time to this old-school art, books in boxes. I wrote a list of the books I’ve loved. I reread some, nearly ruined a few by watching the movie version, all the while looking for particular scenes and feelings that had stayed with me over the years.
In truth what often dawned, was a realisation of how wrongly I remembered the details of each book, but how truly I recalled the lasting impressions. So my slightly-wrong-book-memories have nonetheless woven their magic and meaning into the making of my worldview.

Here are just a few of her pieces and what she has to say about them.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

This is the first book where I got absolutely transported to a new realm. In particular I remember being dumb-founded by the concept of war, it was a state almost ungraspable by my child’s mind.

Harry Potter

My daughter approves! And under her close scrutiny, I’ll be adding many more amazing characters to this artwork.

Life of Pi

Along with Thor Heyedahl’s Kontiki, The Life of Pi reaffirms my determination to meet a whale shark face to face one day.

One Hundred Years of Solitude

Most happily I recreated the Insomnia Plague of Macondo, which causes the village to lose their memories. To facilitate a kind of remembering, the inhabitants of the town begin to label everything; and the plague is finally cured when Melquíades the gypsy returns to Macondo bearing an antidote – and the first camera Macondo has ever seen.

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi, beyond her braids, mismatched socks and flair for the outrageous, made an impression on me because she somehow opened windows into a grown-up world. A heroic AND tragic absent father… who was King of the Cannibals! A girl who had the strength and confidence to lift a horse!

The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat

When I awoke from a three day coma in 1993, I had complete amnesia. I couldn’t fix words to things, faces to identities (including my own), even the distinction between organic and inorganic became unclear (my parents looked computer-generated). When the amnesia cleared, I found my condition utterly fascinating, and thought of this book, which I’d read only weeks before. In this collection of medical case studies, Sacks examines people whose particular capacities are stripped away – physical, linguistic, psychological – questioning what is then left of our identities, of our humanity?

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

I’ve tried to capture Tomas and Tereza’s last evening of life in a hotel dive bar in the Czech countryside. This simple scene has stayed with me since I first read the book in 1994, perhaps because it so plainly exemplified Kundera’s title… That one could have a perfectly ordinary day, then disappear forever and never know it was your last.

“To Kill a Mockingbird

“…you never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them“. Atticus’s words to Scout have echoed in the hearts of millions of children and adults around the world, including mine. I think of those shoes quite often, quite literally – slightly too big, worn-out, clumsy, walking as best we can.

Never Let Me Go

Kathy in her boarding school dormitory, dancing alone to her favourite song “Never let me go”. A teacher at the door, unseen, weeps at the sight. My pity for Kathy, and my self-pity… my gut still wrenches… goodness this book made an impression.


The story of a 18th Century French murderer, a hideous tick on the body of humanity, but with an exquisite sense of smell and an inexorable drive to create the perfect scent, at any cost.

To read about Lisa and see more of her amazing work visit her website here.

Leave your vote

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.