Thursday, September 11, 2008

Birth of an Altered Book

Most of the altered books i create are for round robin swaps. I have lots of books that i buy with great plans to alter them, but unless i have the incentive (and the deadlines) associated with a group round robin - they just don't come to fruition. I have a new swap starting on Sunday - so i had better get started creating a new book.
At minimum you need a book, a theme, an intro, a sign in page for your artistic friends to leave their mark, and a few pages to set the tone. I also like to do the covers and inside covers - just because it makes it more exciting. I went to my local library book store to get inspiration (yeah, even though i have a hundred books at home). Well, i didn't find any.

So onto plan B. I went to an estate sale and did find a few cute books - but as often happens - i like them too much to alter. One is a luscious book filled with engravings of classical and biblical stories by Gustave Dore. Way too precious to alter - but i will make copies of the illustrations to use in another project. I have an idea that taking an etching and blowing it up could have some cool effects. Then maybe colorizing...? Who knows.
The other book is a sweet book of poetry. Well - that could make a great altered book - each spread could illustrate the words on the previous page. But nah, too small and sweet for my liking.
So on to plan C. (did i mention i have three days to put this book together? Well, not even - really only tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday) I have been keeping my eye on a music book from 1924. When i say keep an eye on it, i mean, like whenever i move it around - i have been keeping it on top of the piles of stuff in my studio. So i see it often and it has been getting some attention. I just love the art deco cover and the shape is nice. It is filled with sheet music of which maybe two songs i have heard of.
So here's my plan. I will take this beautiful music book from the 20's and it will become my new altered book. The theme? The title has not quite gelled - but the idea is that you will create altered collage to illustrate your favorite songs.
One of the songs that often comes into my mind when creating altered art, is from The Tubes - What do you Want from Life. Well, just the last line from the song, actually. "...and a baby's arm holding an apple." I think that song kind of sums up the goal with my artistic pursuits. To create something with a certain amount of "wha'?". All the great paper artists do it. Adding something that comes completely out of left field - yet somehow just works in the piece.
So that's it - the title of my new altered book is What do you Want from Life? Each of my artistic friends can depict the answer by using music as inspiration.