Sunday, May 4, 2008

Altered Book Keepsake Box Workshop

About two years ago i was filmed for a segment of That's Clever, the HGTV show that spotlights an artist or crafter in their home studio. I saw the "call for artists" on the HGTV website and thought i'd give it a try. Well, they contacted me and asked for pictures of the project i would like to make on the show. I had an idea for doing something to a book, but not a traditional altered book,with collage images throughout. The idea instead, was to make the book into a sort of box - like a jewelry box - with a lid and little feet.
Well, this was the days before i had a digital camera, so i had to make up the sample book and send them a scan. As you know a scan does not really capture the 3-D aspect of an art project very well, but that was good enough to get me to the "consideration" stage. To make it to the "finals" so to speak, i had to send better photos - so off we went to purchase a digital camera.
The producer said they wanted something rich in techniques - so in my accompanying instructions outline - i included hand painted and stamped papers, cutting a niche, working with mica, creating an air dry clay heart, painting and glazing and collage with ephemera on the cover.

Well - they liked it and picked me. And they were coming in less than a week to film. So this is where (if we were to document this visually) i would be thrust in to fast forward style overdrive to prepare 8, yes EIGHT versions of the book, at different stages of the project. Oh yeah - and totally overhaul the craft room to make it film ready. Not to mention clean the entire house, because as you know - they usually shoot sections of where you live to set the stage. Of course i got sick and wasn't able to do it on my own, but dear friend Denise answered the call to help me cut niches in 7 books.
The day of the shoot i slept in, relaxed did my own hair and makeup and waited. They were due to arrive at 3:00 in the afternoon after filming a pottery sculptor in the city. They came around 6:00pm. They left at 2 am!! The camera man, sound guy and asst producer all hung out with me in my little studio (former guest room). The director watched from a monitor out in the hall.

Of course with my history of teaching classes and being comfortable speaking in front of crowds, i naturally assumed i would ROCK as a TV star, and it would be a 100% sure thing that HGTV would give me my own show. Like right away. Nuh uh. I sucked out loud. Terrible. Really really awful.
Three simple rules i could not get to STICK in my brain.

Rule #1 - Look in the camera. Sounds simple, right? No - for some reason it seems more natural to look at the guy HOLDING the camera, rather into the camera itself."CUT"

Rule #2 - Don't talk and make noise at the same time. Simple? wrong. "next we take this piece of really noisy deli paper and ..." "CUT!" You have to say what you are going to do (while looking at the camera, not the cameraman) and THEN do it.

Rule #3 - Don't way "we" say "I". Well as an instructor, it is more familial to say,"next we will cut the niche". But apparently on TV this sounds stupid since you are supposed to be alone.

"CUT! Diane - please say I, not we."

Ok, "next we will cut the niche"

"CUT! Diane PLEASE say I, not we."

Ok, "next IIIIIIIIIIIIIIII will cut the niche". Watch for it on the show. I bet it will be hysterical.
When you might ask? Good question. I was filmed at Halloween in 2006. yeah 2006. So it was supposed to be on in January of 2007, then the spring, then Sept, then Jan 2008, then May, now it is back to September. Apparently this is all perfectly normal and related to programming issues, not the crazy altered book artist who can't take simple instructions.
So if all this makes you want to rush right out and learn how to paint your own paper and cut a niche and make your very own altered book keepsake box, please join me this Sunday, yes Mother's Day, for a full day workshop at the Nova Studio in Point Richmond. It is the perfect outing for you and mom to come and create together, or for you to create a special gift to send to mom, or to remember her by.
You can use images i provide - or one of your own. I have two examples shown here - one in rich greens and purples that i made for the show, which includes a clay heart that is painted and looks like stone. The other has soothing natural pastel tones with robin's egg blue accents. This one has a birds nest made of wire and fibers inside the niche.
I look forward to sharing this wonderfully complex project with you and sharing all my expertise about how to be a star. Not.


Artist Chick said...

Nerve-wracking, wasn't it? I filmed my spot at the same time as you and have been eagerly awaiting the show! Now, I'll be awaiting your episode, as well!

Candace said...

I will soooo look for this. YOu have to post so we can all see you! I work/ed in film and video and it's always that "hurry up and wait" no matter what people say. LOL.

The *Dragonfly* art is simply gorgeous, Diane. Lovely colors that really pull you right into the piece.