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ONE FOR THE BOOKS

A new Florida Craftsmen Gallery exhibit is a page-turner on creativity and originality.

Handmade books are a large genre of art, and a charming show opening Friday at Florida Craftsmen Gallery illustrates the reason. More than 100 examples from 50 artists unleash the creative interpretations and definition of a book using a variety of materials, from the traditional paper to wood, fabric and ceramics.

Form here is as important as content. Paint, pop-ups, interactive features, moving parts and funky folds convey messages and story lines that are satiric, funny, political, personal and poetic.

Some examples of the broad range:

Lines of a poem about women's undergarments are embroidered on a big stack of bikini panties. The book's binding is a diaper.

A triangular shaped book explores literal and figurative meanings of the triangle, from straightforward dissection of its geometric properties to famous love triangles in history. The last page holds a tiny version of the percussion instrument with a striker and several bars of music.

An elaborately constructed and painted pop-up book chronicles the journeys of a young chameleon.

An elegant journal holds the spare but powerful autobiography and cryptic illustrations by an artist of her dysfunctional family.

No need to read between the lines to get their appeal.

Lennie Bennett can be reached at lennie@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8293.

Scissors: Pop-up

More than 100 handmade art books are at Florida Craftsmen Gallery, 501 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, beginning Friday with a free opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Free. The show continues through Oct. 31. floridacraftsmen.net or (727) 821-7391.

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