Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Altered Books Baby

This is what this blog is supposed to be all about, and I haven't even talked about it! I teach altered books in the San Francisco Bay area. Been doing it for about 5 years now. I got my start when a friend rented a studio to teach soap and candle making classes. She wanted to "fill in" some of the schedule with other classes. I had recently taken a card making class and was intrigued with paper arts - so i offered my services to teach card making. Soon after another friend gave me the book Ephemera, by Beth Cote. It really opened my eyes to the world of vintage paper and what to do with it - namely altered books. Before i knew it i was creating an altered books workshop and joining the big yahoo group and kicking off my first online round robin. Oh, and i didn't start small. I created the ABC round robin with 26 women in 5 teams altering vintage dictionaries. I hosted the trials and tribulations of these artsy women for about a year, through two rounds of creating collage based on a word in each letter of the alphabet.
The stories i could tell! (And maybe someday i will - i joked that it would make a great novel. For the longest time i saved all the emails. But i think they all went POOF when we brought the PC in for servicing and they neglected to back up my outlook files.)
Anyway, what struck me most was the instant commaradery between complete strangers. How people would give their art so freely asking only for art in return. Group prayer. Yeah. The post office loses a book and beleive me the ladies start prayin'. (It turned up!) I have participated in many on-line swaps and meet monthly with a group to swap in person - which is ideal if you can arrange it. Not only do you get the safety factor by eliminating the post office, you also get to TALK about your art. And ask questions. And touch and feel each other's work. These are two examples of work i "gave away"! The fish pop up above is just silly, but the giving part was that it is an ORIGINAL (not a copy) that was cut from an expensive book, the Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. Oh Carol, you were worth it!
The hula girls just shows how much time can be spent on something for someone i have never met, and maybe never will, just because i thought it would be fun for her to discover what was hidden on each of those tags!!
And now (shameless self promotion) if you want to learn more about altered books, i just happen to be teaching a beginner's workshop in picturesque Point Richmond, California at the NEW studio of my soap making friend, Lori Nova. Please join me Sunday, February 17th at 10 o'clock for 4 1/2 hours of book altering madness. And come back again a week later for AB advanced techniques. Read all about it and sign yourself up at http://www.thenovastudio.com/ Or click the link on the left. You too can experience the joy of ripping pages out of perfectly good vintage books. Release your inner artist. See you there!


carol said...
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carol said...

(sorry about the previous try, I'm figuring this out...)

I'm happy to say that the fish pop-up above was diane's contribution to my *first* swap and it inspires me to keep creating. I can't wait for the next one...

thanks diane!