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Old 06-13-2010, 01:38 AM
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Altered Book by Nancy



I completed these two pages in my altered book today, about 8 x 11. I gessoed the pages, used fluid and tube acrylics, graphite, china pencil, waterproof pen, scraffito, and a small collage on newsprint from a stamp I made. I will use these as examples in an art journaling workshop I will teach the last of July. I am new to altered books and I like the freedom. I'm experimenting with using a glue stick, Mod Podge, and acrylic medium to glue several pages together. I think I'm leaning toward the speed and ease of the glue stick. Anyone else? This is a book on Women's Health and has lots of wombs and babies in it and I think it will be fun to use.
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Old 06-13-2010, 08:32 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

I've never paid much attention to altered books before, but I like the way you designed your pages, and the artwork is really good. I suppose you will be making a new cover for the book also? Do you have to worry about the facing pages sticking together when the book is closed? - I find acrylics do stick sometimes.
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:23 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancys
I will use these as examples in an art journaling workshop I will teach the last of July. I am new to altered books and I like the freedom.
"Freedom"? Just out of curiosity, why do an "altered book", when you can start with the pristine pages of a fresh sketchbook? The example page you showed us doesn't make a lot use of the underlying book page. It seems to nearly obliterate it.

I dunno, I dunno . . . as a librarian I suffer philosophical heartache when I see someone destroying a book, no matter how un-loved or how rejected the book is. And no matter how noble or artistic the purpose of the destruction. Just hard-wired me, I guess. Sorry!

Here is a quote from a person named Karen on her reason:
"Although I have loved and been surrounded by books all my life, it didn't take me long to get over my anxiety over "defacing" a book. So many books are tossed into landfills, that I believe I'm actually saving a book by rescuing it from obscurity and using it to create a piece of art. Now I use books as my canvas-- to create altered books, reliquaries, or book sculptures that are personally meaningful and that spring from my own imagination or eminates[sic] from the spirit and words of the book's original author. "

I am afraid I don't buy her notion of "saving" a book by destroying it. I can understand "destroying" a block of marble to create a sculpture. In that case the object destroyed is raw material. Un-touched. In the case of altering a book, it's some other person's creative pride and joy that's being destroyed. Maybe I'm not seeing this clearly. Help me to understand why you do this.

Jan
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Old 06-13-2010, 09:41 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

Nancy, I think you've established your theme just in the first two pages, especially with the woman's face. She looks classical, almost a Greek statue of a woman, but the bright white highlight down her nose is a little like seeing tribal war paint on a Victorian woman -- an interesting juxtaposition. She looks moody and thoughtful.

The gold doodle page and the hearts look very feminine too.

I'm curious about your answer to Jan too. I can almost see doing this but only to a book that I hated, a book with ideas that turned my stomach. I would actually be desecrating it on purpose and I'd have to leave enough of it recognizable to make my point -- like messing up a copy of Mein Kampf. It would lose its point if its text no longer existed in any other copy, so it would have to be something extremely common that I despised.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:43 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

Nancy,
this is gorgeous and so ingenuous!

Reggie
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:49 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

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Originally Posted by robertsloan2
I'm curious about your answer to Jan too. I can almost see doing this but only to a book that I hated, a book with ideas that turned my stomach. I would actually be desecrating it on purpose and I'd have to leave enough of it recognizable to make my point -- like messing up a copy of Mein Kampf. It would lose its point if its text no longer existed in any other copy, so it would have to be something extremely common that I despised.
Robert, makes odd sense that you would chose Hitler's Mein Kampf to desecrate with your art, being that the Nazis orchestrated one of the most famous Book Burnings of all time, in 1933.

An Eye For An Eye! Right? [sigh]

Jan
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Old 06-13-2010, 11:35 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

That would be part of why, of course. But I wouldn't do it if it wasn't also extant in undamaged form.
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Old 06-13-2010, 02:40 PM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

I too would be interested in your answer about altering someone else's work to create your own. Now, mind you, I've seen some pretty amazing artwork done as altered books, but the basic question remains as to why?

Now, the art you have shown is intriguing and interesting. The juxtaposition of doodles and a portrait are thought provoking.
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Old 06-13-2010, 06:10 PM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

I'd like to know both sides of that debate, since I don't actually have a strong view on it either way. On one side, I have that same reverence for books in general. On another, I've read some pretty awful dreck, just because something's written or even popular doesn't guarantee it's worth keeping. Or isn't so outdated as to be useless if it was nonfiction. I have also seen beautiful altered books done with some that I wouldn't have thought of as worth preserving.

So it's interesting as an idea from both sides. I'm not taking sides on it because I can see both sides.
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Old 06-13-2010, 07:36 PM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertsloan2
I'd like to know both sides of that debate, since I don't actually have a strong view on it either way. On one side, I have that same reverence for books in general. On another, I've read some pretty awful dreck, just because something's written or even popular doesn't guarantee it's worth keeping. Or isn't so outdated as to be useless if it was nonfiction. I have also seen beautiful altered books done with some that I wouldn't have thought of as worth preserving.

So it's interesting as an idea from both sides. I'm not taking sides on it because I can see both sides.
I don't want to "debate" nor do I want to "take sides". I just want to hear a bit more about why folks do this.

(BTW, one man's "dreck" or "useless" or "outdated", is another man's treasure. Just saying, my friend. )

Jan
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:15 PM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

Why alter a book? Because I never had before and I wanted to learn how to alter a book. Hopefully, I will know enough not to tear up a first edition. I am a retired librarian and I'm aware there comes a time when all volumes need to be "weeded". The public sometimes thinks that all print is sacred and I know fellow librarians who have gone out of their way to secretly dispose of old books. If found, someone would be returning some old torn and outdated book thinking they'd done them a big favor. I tended to sell mine for a pittance so maybe some child would enjoy them. In a library there were some books that were so old and out of date they would never be checked out and they'd just sit there gathering dust. For instance, I found one saying "someday man may walk on the moon". Those volumes need to be removed to make some room for the new editions.
I purchased several books to alter at the thrift store because they were a cheap way to do experiments that I might not attempt in a $20 journal. Maybe I saved a tree?
I do not belong but there is an International Society of Altered Book Artists who promote book altering as an art form. I have no qualms about ripping out pages, painting, and pasting, in these books. This particular one was a woman's health book and I certainly would want to refer to a recent edition for my health information. I am giving two workshops of 3 days each the last of July and the students will bring old books to alter on one of the days. Some are quite excited about the prospect. This particular text on these two pages just happened to be covered with gesso and paint but in some of the pages I've saved some text and images. I'll post another one shortly.
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:23 PM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

I"m not entering into a debate, here, about the issues pro or con of defacing a book, but I will say that if I were so inclined, I'd probably be able to find plenty of books that could be improved only by "altering" them: one day I went to the libaray in search of books by Wallace STEgner and John STEinbeck, only to find a few that I'd already read, but there were several shelves of books by Danielle STEele.

I've seen some very interesting "altered book art", so to each his/her own.

Nancy - I do like your collage effects. I'd like to see more.

Carole A
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Old 06-13-2010, 10:32 PM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy



On these two pages the print from the original book can be seen faintly. The Playmates image came from a very old yellowed reader. The entry is based on how things are connected. I'd seen a friend's painting on Facebook where he'd painted a wine barrel, made me think rain barrel, then the children's song, and cellar door and a childhood friend who was caught smoking and placed in a cellar for punishment. This book is a recipe book that has spiral binding @1996 Low Fat Ways to Cook Meats.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:19 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

Nancy, I love altered books. I'm working on a haiku journal. The base is, I think, a technical manual printed in Japanese text in Germany during WW II.

Jan, one of the first things I had to "get over" as a librarian was that all books were sacred. In fact, in accepting all donations of old books (no matter how outdated or smelly) we felt we were doing a public service in that we had the emotional strength to throw books away and the general public did not. :>)

Actually, the beginnings of altered books goes back to a time when paper and bound books were rare and valuable. The margins of printed books would be used to record additional information. I'm told that part of the current interest in altered books was inspired by the one that runs through the novel The English Patient.

In blending the original text with my alterations, I do feel like I'm giving new life to an old book. Since the pages of my book are yellowed, I've tinted some white gouache to match. One coat over a page gives me a good base for my text or art but the original text shows through faintly.

Nancy, I love your work.
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Old 06-14-2010, 12:38 AM
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Re: Altered Book by Nancy

Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Nancy. I was not trying to be argumentative, just curious. And it is true that there are creations, not just books, that probably need to be retired.
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