January 7, 2009

Altered Book - part 2

More musings on Altered Books.

(If you missed the first posting, here is the link to part one.)

*** I had wanted to try creating an altered book for a long time and last year finally got to it. Moving to Athens and setting up my new studio room (small but lots of wonderful built-in bookshelves... "thank you previous owner") has given me a place to organize all the tiny pieces of things that ATC and altered art crafters treasure... That I have always treasured and felt a bit ashamed of, such a "pack-rat" am I. In fact, let's just ban that term right now. The Pack-Rats of the past are today creators of "Art Reborn." Or "Reincarnated Miscellany." Or something other term...I'm sure there is one out there already.

*** I guess the difference between a pack-rat and an altered art artist is a good set of storage bins and a way to keep everything straight, and then use it to create artwork that 1) creates a sense of peace and bliss during the creation of it and 2) looks pretty darn good when all that unrelated "stuff" comes together (with the help of the right glue) and is forever transformed into something that can, yes, be called art. Maybe it's folk art, outsider art, reclaimed art, recycled art, collage art. But it does become art after our hands touch it, treasure it, and place it. That sounds pretty miraculous, doesn't it?

*** My first altered art book, shown on the article link mentioned above, was a reflection on my life last summer and all the blessings in the 2007-2008 year. My second altered book was a small board book (about 3 x 3 inches) that I painted, then antiqued over the white acrylic paint with a red wash, then decorated with collage for a friend. I loved how it turned out, and the small size of it.

*** My third altered book was a bit larger, about 4 x 4 and again built on a child's board book (Goodwill, State Street, Athens, 99 cents). I covered the pages with nice maroon and grey scrapbook paper, kept it simple and added in personal photographs (sized for the book) and other momentos. This was a gift for my son, Jesse, for Christmas. I found a small picture stand easel (I think it was from a Drugmart, in the photography section, made to hold small school photographs)...and the board book sits nicely on it. (It doesn't close like a book because there is too much stuff pasted on the pages.)

*** Now, I'm exploring other techniques with the altered books and have a box of all sorts of old books, board books, odd boxes... Fat books, thin stapled advertising books... oh, the closet is gettin' full!

*** Here you can see where I'm at with my latest altered book. It is magical how the various pieces come together.

*** This color of paper with this shell, with this certain rock or bead and this perfect quote. I love creating the windows and have overcome my long-standing fear issue with Xacto knives (after a bad mat-cutting experience in college).

*** The photos here are of a work-in-progress. More to come... Along with a really long list of links to Altered Book, Collage, and ATC websites.

*** Remember, too, you can find lists of my favorite craft books at this link: http://www.janicephelps.com/ATCbooks.htm


Erin said...

I have checked out so many books from the library on altered art and really want to make a book of my own, but feel too intimidated! I love yours though.. all the beautiful layered textures are so lovely!

Janice Phelps Williams said...

Thank you, Erin. I, too, had wanted to make an altered book for a long time. When I finally got around to it, I silenced that judgmental voice we creative folks have to battle with, and just played around with a variety of materials. The second book was 200% better, the third even better. Each one brought new lessons and ideas. The supplies are inexpensive, all that is needed is time, images, and some glue, and a good board book or old book. I'd love to hear from you when you finally do find the time and place to make your own book. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Oh.My! Janice, it's probably a *really* good thing we don't live near each other. The clothes wouldn't get washed, nor the meals cooked while we created madness and art together. ;) Thanks for always inspiring!

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