Xylotheks: Wondrous Wooden Books That Hold Wooden Collections

xylothek (from the Greek for tree, xylon, and storing place, theke) is an object where the container is a fundamental component of the contents. The term usually refers to books that are both made of wood and filled with wood specimens. Xylotheks (also spelled xylotheques) first began appearing at the end of the 17th century in cabinets of curiosity. As time progressed, they grew larger and more systematic, with hundreds of individual volumes in a single collection, and are now consulted by those working in forestry, botany, forensics, art restoration, and other fields.

Xylotheks were particularly popular in late 18th century and early 19th century Germany. In these constructions, each book in the xylothek was made out of a particular type of wood, the spine covered with the corresponding bark and decorated with associated moss and lichens. Once opened, the book would reveal samples of dried leaves, flowers, seedlings, roots, and branches, with a special compartment in the spine holding a written description of the species’ biology and use. The Special Collections department of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences library in Alnarp, Sweden, contains a beautiful example of this type of xylothek, made in Nürnberg, Germany, at the start of the 19th century. Similar xylotheks are also found in France, Austria, Italy, and the Czech Republic.

For even more on the rich history of Xylotheks, keep reading on Atlas Obscura…

die Acrylfarbe (Acrylfarben) - acrylic paint
die Aquarellfarbe (Aquarellfarben) - watercolour paint
das Aquarellpapier - watercolour paper
der Aquarellstift (Aquarellstifte) - watercolour pencil
das Bild (Bilder) - picture
der Bildhauer - sculptor
die Bildhauerin (Bildhauerinnen) - sculptress
der Bleistift (Bleistifte) - lead pencil
der Buntstift (Buntstifte) - coloured pencil/crayon
der Cutter - craft knife
das Ölpastell (Ölpastelle) - oil pastel
die Ölfarbe (Ölfarben) - oil paint
die Farbe (Farben) - colour/paint/[stamping] ink
der Farbstift (Farbstifte) - coloured pencil/pen
der Filzstift (Filzstifte) - felt-tip pen
der Fineliner - fineliner
das Foto (Fotos) - photo
der Fotograf - photographer
die Fotografie - photography
der Füller - fountain pen
das Gekritzel - scribble
das Gemälde - painting
das Gold - gold
die Gouache (Gouachen) - gouache paint
der Grafit - graphite
die Kalligrafie (Kalligrafien) - calligraphy
die Keramik - ceramics/pottery
das Klebeband (Klebebänder) - sticky tape
der Klebestift (Klebestifte) - glue stick
der Klebstoff - glue
das Knetgummi - kneadable eraser
die Kreide (Kreiden) - chalk
der Kugelschreiber - ballpoint pen
die Kunst (Künste) - art
die Kunstausstellung (Kunstausstellungen) - art exhibition
der Kunstfreund (Kunstfreunde) - art lover [male]
die Kunstfreundin (Kunstfreundinnen) - art lover [female]
die Kunstgalerie (Kunstgalerien) - art gallery
der Künstler - artist [male]
die Künstlerin (Künstlerinnen) - artist [female]
das Kunstwerk (Kunstwerke) - artwork/work of art
das Landschaftsbild (Landschaftsbilder) - landscape
das Lineal (Lineale) - ruler
der Maler - painter [male]
die Malerin (Malerinnen) - painter [female]
die Malerleinwand (Malerleinwände) - canvas
das Malmesser - palette knife
der Marker - marker
der Marmor - marble
das Meisterwerk (Meisterwerke) - masterpiece
das Origami - origami
die Palette (Paletten) - pallet
das Papier (Papiere) - paper
die Pappe (Pappen) - cardboard
das Pastell (Pastelle) - pastel
die Pastellkreide (Pastellkreiden) - chalk pastel
der Pinsel - paintbrush
der Pinselstrich (Pinselstriche) - brushstroke
das Porträt (Porträts) - portrait
das Radiergummi - rubber/eraser
der Rahmen - frame
die Schere (Scheren) - scissors
das Silber - silver
die Skulptur (Skulpturen) - sculpture
die Spitze (Spitzen) - point/tip
der Spitzer - pencil sharpener
die Staffelei (Staffeleien) - easel
der Stein - stone/rock
der Stempel - stamp
der Stift (Stifte) - pen/pencil
der Tesafilm - Scotch Tape
die Tusche (Tuschen) - [drawing] ink
der Wachsmalstift (Wachsmalstifte) - wax crayon
der Wasserpinsel - water brush
der Zeichenblock (Zeichenblöcke) - sketch pad
die Zeichnung (Zeichnungen) - drawing

aufnehmen - to take [photo]
ausradieren - to rub out/to erase
ausschneiden - to cut out
basteln - to make [with one’s hands]
bemalen - to paint onto
falten - to fold
formen - to sculpt/to form
fotografieren - to photograph
kleben - to glue/to stick
kritzeln - to scribble
malen - to paint
mischen - to mix/to blend
nachzeichnen - to trace/to copy
neu anfangen - to start again
pinseln - to paint/to brush
rahmen - to frame
schneiden - to cut
skizzieren - to sketch
stempeln - to stamp
streichen - to stroke
tuschen - to paint in ink
verwischen - to smudge
zeichnen - to draw
zusammenkleben - to stick together

abstrakt - abstract
bunt - bright [colour]
detailliert - detailed
dunkel - dark
fein - fine
grob - rough/course
hell - light/bright
klebrig - sticky
kreativ - creative
künstlerisch - artistic
metallisch - metallic
monochrom - monochromatic
nass - wet
realistisch - realistic
schwarzweiß - greyscale
trocken - dry
wasservermalbar - water soluble


If you’re looking for another hobby, we just learned about a whole new awesome art form, the psychedelic art of Candle Carving. While it may be new to us, carving candles is actually a traditional German craft. These kaleidoscopic sculptures are functional candles made entirely layers of different colored wax. Carving designs into the wax exposes all those layers, creating dazzling sculptures.

This “How It’s Made” video shows the techniques used to make these beautiful candles at Holland, MI-based company Holland House Candles:

“According to the video, it can take up to to a year for a carver to learn how to carve the candle quickly as you only have about 15 minutes before the wax hardens to a point where it is too hard to work with.

Also, in case you are worried about burning it and then no longer having this beautiful candle, the people at Holland House Candles have a solution for you. They, essentially, advise you have a controlled burn of the candle until a nice deep well has been melted out. Then, you can just put in a flickering light to simulate a candle burning and still enjoy the lighting effect without reducing your candle to nothing.”

Candles like the ones pictured above are available to order from Holland House Candles and the Prima Candle Etsy shop. Head to either site to check out even more designs.

[via Make:, Holland House Candles, Prima Candle, and Easy Fresh Ideas]


Intricate “Candle Carving” Forms Blooming Designs with Layered Wax

The time-honoured tradition of candle making has an often-unheard of style known as “candle carving.” Originally an old German craft, this particular approach highlights the inner beauty that lies beneath the candle’s surface. It uses layers of different-coloured wax and strategic slicing to create dazzling, three-dimensional surface decorations.

Michigan-based Holland House Candles produces these beautiful style of candles, and their handiwork was featured on an episode of How It’s Made, in which they demonstrated the meticulous process that goes into carving one of these creations. It begins with a six-pointed candle base that’s dipped into multiple waxes with specially-formulated dyes. After many layers have been added, the carver then cuts shapes to form the final product. Amazingly, this is all done in a span of about 15 minutes—after that, the wax solidifies to the point where it’s too hard to work with. Thanks MyModernMet

Light up your Art with our Facebook          Posted by Andrew 

etsyfindoftheday 3 | 2.10.16

handmade papier mâché geodes by fieldguidedesign

GAHHHH these sparklicious faux papier mâché geodes are JUST SO AWESOME! they’re made with gold leaf and german glass glitter for an extra-glimmery look. want want want!