Monday, August 21, 2006

Altered Book Group and A Messy Day in the Studio


I typed the following message last night on MicroSoft Word right before a tremendous storm blew out the power to our neighborhood. Thus, I'm posting this on a nice, sunny Monday morning instead of on a thunderous Sunday night!


I joined an altered book yahoo group on line last Thursday or Friday. I browsed through all sorts of amazing files and images and decided to join the group. Membership is nearly instantaneous and I spent the better part of that day looking at creative ideas done by people all over the country. Finally, I printed the upload instructions and posted a few images of my altered book, American Dream. I had no idea what to expect. Would these people like my work?

Well, they did. I’ve never received so many compliments in such a short time. I’m truly honored because most of these people have their own websites, blogs, and retail capabilities. They know all the right vocabulary too, like the word “spread” which I thought referred to butter or some sort of banquet fare. No, it is the proper word for two pages of a book that face one another, like when a book lays open on a table—that’s a spread. As many nice things that have been typed to me, I think I got the better end of this deal. I had little to no idea just how diverse altered book art has become. I knew it was sort of a “fad”, but much of the work is quite serious, very interesting, and totally inspiring.

I was definitely inspired. Although I’ve started the archeology project full-scale, altered book ideas kept cropping up. Finally, I gave in. I had to. Everything was right. I’d saved the “Lotto Bird” game pieces from the 1920s for something special and I came upon a book I’d saved for no good reason, Man’s Fate by Malraux (I think?) Extinction, bird-watching, Aububon, lost species, a lottery, archeology, man’s fate….it all added up to an altered book. I haven’t yet done the on-line research, but I’ve started the book. Over two-thirds of the pages were removed and painted. I soaked the bird cards in water and removed the cardboard backing. That was yesterday. Today, the birds and torn papers were applied with accompanying text from Studer’s Birds of North American, ca. 1900. It’s underway. It will be an addition to the archeology project afterall. What’s more perfect than a book on extinction when contemplating the remains of a lost civilization (a fantasy world or not!)

I can honestly say that this project is wonderful. I said before and it still holds, I’ve never had quite this much FUN in the studio. My studio reflects the utter panamonium of true passion and artistic joy.

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