Friday, September 29, 2006

Altered books and Bill Mishoe's auction

To the left: Man's Fate, altered book about extinction.

I started a new altered book the other day. In fact, I started two of them, but this only meant that I set a course of action and then removed about half the pages from both volumes. I also conducted a few "test" examples for the one.

After a trip to City Art for more watercolors and inks, I began in earnest.The one I started is called "Mosaic". That's actually the title. I bought this perfectly fine hardback novel at the Book Dispensary for $2.

I looked the title up on the Amazon website and found used editions selling for as low as a penny (plus shipping and handling!) The reviews weren't particularly good either. Thus, I really don't feel horrible about destroying the pristine condition of the book! I bought it for it's title, of course. What could be more perfect for the archeology show than a book titled for Janet's medium? My plan was to illustrate the word "mosaic" in a new manner.

I haven't written a formal statement yet, of course; but the idea is this: Words, even letters, are like the tessera of a mosaic. Alone the tessera are just pieces, tiles. Only when put together is there an image, a mosaic. A book is like a mosaic. By focusing on just a few words, randomly selected, one sees the "tessera".To this end, I am using crayons to highlight various words. Then, I am covering the remaining words with black watercolor. I've found an ink that is fairly opaque. I'm adding some other iridescent colors around the edges and also leaving a word or two totally uncolored. The pages look strangely pretty. There is a sense of a greater text, sentences, a story; but the focus is on just a few individual words. It is going well.

On Tuesday evening Steve and I went out to Bill Mishoe's Tuesday night "junk" sale. It was lots of fun. We haven't been to an auction in a long, long time but used to go regularly. We really loved just shifting through the stuff of other lives. Where else could one find antique molds for artifical teeth and tacky Christmas ornaments all on the same evening! I left two bids on two table lots of yarn, but I wasn't the successful bidder.

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