Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Rainbow Stack

After so many lovely shared thoughts about colour-coded arrangement of books, I thought I should show you what I really get up to with the rainbow books.  They are just a whimsical art piece that grows as we come across the right coloured hard cover books at book sales and so on.  So here it is in our house - edging closer to the roof. I will stop when I reach the ceiling. I think.

Rainbow Stack © Fiona Dempster
Rainbow Stack © Fiona Dempster
Velma also alluded to the fact that a whole book store had done this at some point so with the help of the interwebby thingy I searched and found the story here. How fabulous - 16 people stayed up all night to re-arrange 20,000 books into colour groupings as aprt of artist Chris Cobb's temporary installation. Inside each book was a tag saying where it belonged (if you chose to arrange by category). Here is a quick video of the process...

I also discovered that I am clearly not alone in my quirky little penchant for rainbow books - over here on flickr there is a whole bunch of people arranging their books in rainbow collections.  So far I haven't found anyone going vertical, but then I also haven't trawled thru the whole group!

Orange-Yellow © Fiona Dempster
So today is really a homage to arranging books by colour and having  a smile!


  1. I'm having a quiet giggle Fiona. Having just discovered Tumblr to help me waste hour upon hour in my day I am certainly going to try to resist re-arranging my vast book collection into rainbows. I am so tempted though! Love your book stack!

  2. I love that you have a rainbow stack of books! Now, my house looks just like that bookshop at the beginning of the video. I desperately need those 16 people to come to my house, and soon. A smile invoking post, thanks Fiona!

  3. I remember reading about the adobe bookshop colour-coding moment (the story went a bit viral a while back amongst some of my stumbleupon friendlies) but whenever I see colour arranged bookies I think of david sequeira ( but his site link doesn't seem to be working right here's another place to see what I mean.....

    I love to see/hear of all manner of book arrangement-itis...... have you spied nina katchadourian's 'sorted books' project (

    have fun with your stack (I'm happy to come with my trusty matches if you like hee hee hee)

  4. isn't the whole idea just to touch, er, sort er fondle them? fun video. i can never i sent my daughter to a library master's program, but you KNOW that's not gonna help...

  5. This is great! I love that you are doing this. When I was a child I used to arrange all my stuff in ranbows - books, felt pens, pencils, clothes! Eventually the "sensible me" decided things needed to be arranged in sets, by author or whatever. This post makes me wish I'd never stopped!

  6. Oh that is SOOOO much fun! I am trying really hard to stop myself from rearranging the bookshelves right now (must finish the accounts; MUST finish the accounts; must FINISH the accounts...) Thank you - I think - Sara

  7. Such fun with these!

    Robyn - yes I think tumblr will be enough of a distraction for a while! But maybe just in those free moments you could do a tiny re-arrange?

    Carol - I think the 'before' shots are still very inviting and a good bookshelf looks best in a bit of disarray I think! Smiles indeed!

    Ronnie - David's work is sublime; that photo of my father's library almost stopped my heart. And Nina's is intriguingly on the edge - I also loved her map work. Now about the little book of matches...

    Velma - yes books are mostly for touching and smelling in my place - handling, turning them over, reading them, flicking thru them...but these are just for colour!

    Amanda - there must be something in that sorting by colour thing; lots of things line up that way in my life it makes some things so much easier I find (clothes in the cupboard for instance); funny isn't it how our logical brains decide that categories and authors seem to make so much more sense...

    Sara - I can hear those accounts calling you; but it would be much more fun to have a play and a wee little re-arrange just to see!

  8. Fiona, this gave me a chuckle. As a career library assistant, I can't tell you how many times my coworkers and I have joked about giving up the evermore complicated categorization of the collections we worked with and just arranging everything by color! It's fun to learn that some have taken our joke and made it reality, and others like yourself have made it into art. Many thanks, and enjoy your week!

  9. TT/G - hilarious! As we create ever more complicated systems for organising ourselves and things for investigation from this angle and that, wouldn't colour just be the best thing!?!? Rainbows always make me smile. Books make me smile... it therefore follows one should make rainbow book stacks! For fun and joy and smiles!


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