Monday, March 30, 2009

Altered Books

I will be teaching an Altered Books class tomorrow night. I am excited to be working with altered books again after spending a great deal of time doing the scrappy book class.

For those of you wondering what an altered book is, here's the official wikipedia definition:

An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its meaning.
An altered book artist takes a book (old, new, recycled or multiple) and cuts, tears, glues, burns, folds, paints, adds to, collages, rebinds, gold-leafs, creates pop-ups, rubber-stamps, drills, bolts, and/or be-ribbons it. The artist may add pockets and niches to hold tags, rocks, ephemera, or other three-dimensional objects. Some change the shape of the book, or use multiple books in the creation of the finished piece of art.
Altered books may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture.
Or simply: An altered book is an existing book that has been changed or altered.... "glued, painted, collaged, rubber stamped, cut, torn, or added to. It is an expression of one's self, a piece of art, an experiment or a conversation piece." (from yahoogroups)

I began to take an interest in the altered book form several years ago when a friend showed me an article about the art form and suggested that we take a class together. Always game for another kind of project, especially one that would allow me to use up all the little bits of funky paper and old postcards I've been collecting over the years, I signed up, no questions asked. The class was wonderful and gave us both a window into the altered book world. I didn't make it to the Level II class (babies, farms, teaching...) but instead took matters into my own hands. Additional research as well as taking time to just sit with my old books and putter around with the pages gave me the bug. I'm hooked. (And I don't have any photos of my own stuff... so I found some fun pages on the web. Stay tuned for some of my own soon.)

If you're interested in checking it out, here are a few good resources on the web:

::The most amazing place to buy funky stuff for altered books, if you don't happen to have a box of your own odd collections.
::Another interesting source for supplies
::A flickr site with some artful pages
::A book on Altered Book Scrapbooks
My favorite part about making altered books? There are no rules. No high-art societies here. Just grab a few supplies, a glue stick and a scissors, some stamps or scraps of paper, whatever you have on hand... take an old book from a garage sale, and GO! Adding accordian pages, windows, doors, hidden boxes, tags and tabs--it's easy and fun. Best of all? Once they are in my books, I don't ever have to say, "I wonder where I put that...?" I just go to the altered book shelf and smile.


Tiff said...

I have to get in on this! I have more interests than time though. But it combines 2 of my favorite things: books and art.

Julie said...

I have to admit, I was a little horrified by the thought of altering a book, but then I looked at my cookbooks and realized that I shouldn't judge. :) I can't wait to see the results. How do you display the finished product?

Nancy Brown said...

Girl, you are a genius! This is so cool!

Thomas said...

Without a table saw, altered books looks like a great outlet. It's also a natural extension of the book printing and binding I've begun.