There is a beauty in the written word. Jordan Hamby recognizes this, but the beauty she finds is in using pages from old books to create works of art through origami and dimensional displays in the windows and throughout Reader’s World, located at 1400 S. Limit Ave.
Hamby, who has been working at the store for a year, creates many of the window displays that are used to draw customers into the store.
“I’ve seen images from Neiman Marcus and Macy’s in New York,” Hamby said. “The window displays they do, especially at the holidays fascinated me.
“I always admired the way they looked,” she added. “I wanted to create windows that were so interesting that people would notice us.”
The displays change about every month, but Hamby said at times her manager, Jill McCutchen, will suggest an idea or ask that the display be changed more frequently.
“Jill is really brilliant with ideas and words,” Hamby said. “We don’t really have a marketing budget here, but she will come up with an idea and somehow we make it work.”
Hamby is quick to say many of the displays are collaborative efforts and that she does not do all of the work alone.
Two of the store’s latest creations were done in such a manner.
“This winter we did a forest scene with deer in the woods, and shortly after that we did one for dinosaur books,” Hamby said. “We all really pitch in together and make it work.
“I really don’t know how long it takes to get a window done,” Hamby added. “Once they give me the idea, I lay it out and run with it.”
Hamby is a sophomore at State Fair Community College. She will graduate this spring with an Associate of Arts degree in teaching and an Associate’s degree in Art.
She plans to continue her education at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, where she hopes to receive a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
“I love working with kids, especially younger ones,” Hamby said. “I don’t know if I want to teach though. Ideally, I would like to open my own studio where I can give lessons and help others one-on-one.”
The help she has received is something Hamby is extremely grateful for.
“I can’t say enough about how my mom and dad and step-dad have encouraged me and supported me in everything I do,” she said. “When I was 5 my parents enrolled me in Camp Blue Sky at State Fair and that’s where my love of art began.
“I may have missed one or two years attending the camp,” Hamby added. “Now, I work there helping the teachers to decorate the camp and I also help the students.”
There is not a specific genre that Hamby considers her favorite. She does like Impressionism and considers oil paint to be one of her favorite mediums to work with.
She also cited the teaching and guidance of SFCC art instructors Paul Allen and Don Luper as major influences on her work.
While some may consider it ironic that she uses pages from books to create many of her works for the store, Hamby sees a more practical application for her designs.
“Most of the materials I use are from books and magazines that have to be recycled because they are outdated,” Hamby explained. “I feel like I am giving the pages new life, instead than destroying them.
“Rather than recycling them, I am hopefully creating something beautiful for others to enjoy.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484.