We’re not supposed to judge books by their covers—but it’s hard not to do that when you’re looking at the works of art created by Valerie Savarie. The 41-year-old, Denver-based artist’s altered books incorporate numerous elements: they’re part sculpture, part painting, part narrative, and even part textile. Using drills and blades, Savarie carves into vintage encyclopedias, novels, atlases, and other tomes mined from local thrift stores and sometimes from eBay. She then sews or paints on the covers and eventually affixes her signature character—an eerie, gray-faced androgynous paper doll. The result? Unique, three-dimensional pieces that truly embody the concept of mixed media.

See It: In addition to prepping for a slate of upcoming shows—most notably at the Loveland Public Library (now through December) and Zip 37 Gallery (March 2014)—Savarie is teaming up with two other artists to open their own space, Valkarie Gallery, at Belmar. Check it out starting November 1, noon-9 p.m., ahead of the grand opening in January. 445 S Saulsbury St., Lakewood

Bonus: In our October issue, we tell you all about Denver’s thriving art scene, including a profile of Lakewood’s 40 West Arts District (Savarie is a member of the just-over-a-year-old collective).

Meet the Artist: Valerie Savarie from 5280 on Vimeo.

—Image courtesy of Valerie Savarie