Saturday, August 11, 2018

Good Meals and How to Prepare Them: A Witch's Guide

 (Above:  Good Meals and How to Prepare Them: A Witch's Guide.  Altered book. 7 1/2" x 5" x 1 1/2" when shut.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

Earlier this summer I spent five weeks at the Rensing Center outside Pickens, South Carolina. While there, an idea occurred to me regarding an upcoming group show in which I'm involved.  The group show is called Alternative Storytellers.  It will open on March 7, 2019 during First Thursday on Main Street at Anastasia & Friends Art Gallery here in Columbia and run through the month.  The exhibit will feature works by Flavia Lovatelli (paper and recycled material artist), Olga Yukhno (ceramicist), and me that bring unexpected, female empowered, and thought-provoking new endings to a variety of stories.  The show will be part of the Deckle Edge Literary Festival.  I've been bringing new twists to familiar fairy tales, including Hansel and Gretel.

(Above:  The witch's recipes receiving a coating of wax to prevent the polymer emulsion coated paper from sticking together.)

Early on, I bought several vintage cookbooks at the Pickens County flea market.  One was turned into a piece called Hansel & Gretel's Witch: Hoping for a Michelin Star.  I blogged about it HERE.  I could have stopped there but I had so many more recipes, pages, and ideas ... and the cover of a book called Good Meals and How to Prepare Them.  I couldn't resist the cover!  I added to the title, removed all the pages, lined the interior, and built a "box" from scraps of picture frame moulding cut on its sides.  The interior of the moulding was then painted with a red oxide acrylic.  Hooks and eyes were drilled into place for a tied cord.  (Yes, of course, I zigzag stitched my own cord!)

 (Above:  The altered cookbook when opened and all 39 recipes are neatly inside.)

I had a total blast collaging thirty-nine index cards with some of the recipes originally in the book.  I added words as if a witch's recommendation for changes.  Some of the recipes now read as "how to best prepare a human liver or kidney" etc.  Other recipes are for squirrel, venison, and other things billed as daily fare for a witch (especially one cooking in a Wolf oven).  I converted two icing recipes to very much larger amounts intended to decorate an entire house.  Other recipes included notations on how to entice victims into a witch's kitchen.

(Above:  The altered cookbook when open with several loose recipes.)

On the back of each recipe there's either a simple hex, spell, potion, incantation, or details on how to use a particular herb.  It is amazing how many witchcraft websites there are!  Of course, I wanted the recipes to look as worn and well used as the cookbook's cover.  An old toothbrush was used to sprinkle tiny speckles of black ink.  I dribbled dark blood red spots and sponged on blotches of brown paint.  Finally, a lit candle singed some edges.  All the recipes were then coated with polymer emulsion and allowed to dry.  To prevent the papers from sticking together due to the polymer emulsion, I waxed each side. 

Believe it or not, I still have another cookbook to alter!  I'm already working on it and having so much fun!


FreeDragon said...

This looks like it was fun to make!

Elizabeth said...

Creating altered books with a particular theme is such a blast!! Fabulous work, as always Susan. ������❤️

M A Haven said...

So cool, Susan. There are really witchcraft websites😮....
This does sound like a fun stretch of found materials.