Saturday, May 17, 2008

Altered Book Calamity Family

I just finished working in Shelley's book, The Calamity Family. Her inspiration was a lot of cabinet cards she bid on on ebay (but didn't win). She said they all looked so depressed and sad and thought they must be the Calamity Family - a la Calamity jane.

She tucked some sad sack pictures of people into the book for us to use if we so chose. I picked a trio of sad looking guys and then tried to think of a calamitous event to befall them. First they needed names - so my husband came to the rescue. He is very fond of old-timey names like Phinneus and Aloisius. Thus the Calamity cousins: Thaddeus, Horatio and Percival were born.
(thank heaven we never had children...)

Next I needed a suitable event for them to have suffered through. We ran through various ideas - like they invented DC electrical current - or something to do with dirrigibles.

But here is what i settled on. Thanks Wikipedia for supplying some of the facts. The fictional parts came from me!

The Calamity Cousins Thaddeus, Horatio and Percival, had lofty goals in life. Growing up bored on a farm called Spindletop Hill, Texas, they convinced their father Abner to sell the property to invest in a hotel in Galveston.

Galveston was fast becoming a vacation paradise for wealthy cotton merchants in the late 19th century.

After turning the small and insignificant Beach Hotel into an architectural masterpiece, sadly on September 8th, 1900,a killer hurricane swept ashore killing 8000 people including the Calamity cousins. And destroying the Beach Hotel.

Interestingly the farm they sold for 50 cents an acre, turned out to hold the largest oil deposit in North America, creating millionaires and the birth of Texaco.

For the next spread i chose a sad girl with ice skates. I invented a story about her too, as told to her Auntie in note cards:

November 4th, 1927

Dear Auntie Annabelle,
Today I tried out for Coach Howard Nicholson at the Central Park Ice Skating Rink. He said my chances are good and that with his guidance I can win a gold medal at the next Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz.
Your loving Niece,

Caroline Calamity
January 12th, 1928

Dear Auntie Annabelle,
I just can’t stop crying. Some nobody named Sonja Henie has convinced Mr. Nicholson that he should coach her over in Norway or some awful cold place. My chances at making the Olympic team are ruined. I’ll bet my piggy bank she falls flat on her face and never amounts to anything.
Your loving Niece,

Caroline Calamity

Parts of this are true - Norwegian superstar Sonja Henie was coached by an American and she did win three gold medals. Of course this was all WAY before my time - but i know all about her from the Carol Burnett show! Carol used to do a mean spoof on SonjAA HenEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Here is the sign in page from Shelley's book:
This was a fun one to work in. I don't usually create a narrative for my altered book pages. I am more about pretty pictures then profound statements. But it was actually easy to take historical events and just change a few details and turn it into your own story. Next I'll be scripting made for TV melodramas...!


Mónica Zúñiga said...

Beautiful work, I´m glad I foud you! :D

Lori Wostl said...

More - I want more!!!