Sunday, December 14, 2008

Circus Circus

The latest altered book pages i completed were in Shelley's book titled "Circus". It is a wonderfully colourful book, filled with whimsical illustrations and fabulous collage. This was the last swap of the season for my group, sadly one member was absent - so i did not get my own book back today, we'll have to swap by mail.
For Shelley's book i wanted to do something interactive, i mean afterall - the circus is so chock full of excitement. My first spread was a Circus Train. This was a very labour intensive spread - but fun to do. First i used sky paper at the top of the page, and a gravel-y looking paper for the bottom. Then i cut out 8 little colourful houses and hand drew windows and doors and shingles and a chimney. Very charming and naif.
Next i had to construct the circus cars to hold the animals. I used some playful scrapbook paper and cut out a simple shape. Added wheels form another paper that sort of looks like rubber. Some of these papers came from a 12x12 pack that included many "realistic" pages.

Next i had to find the animals. What better source than the stack of National Geographic magazines on the floor of my studio. The pickings were slim. I found a good tiger, and the head of a rhino, but for the most part the scale was off. I found all these on google images instead.
For the cages i thought about cutting out black card stock, but my knife skills are not great. So how about using a black sharpie? When the three pens i tried had all dried up, i decided to print some basic gates on transparency paper. Glued to the train cars, the animals look right at home. Please i am not condoning the caging of wild anumals! This is merely a historical look at circus trains from the early part of the 20th century.

A bit of gold dimensional paint and some wooden boards for the train tracks - and we're done.
For the second spread, i found a cute illustration of a circus dog show. This was even more hard work that the train! I wanted to make some of the elements move, so i printed out two copies of the picture and cut out three of the dogs and the ball. I figured the best way to make it all work was to do a pop up. it took a while to figure out where to make the folds so that everything would be visible and still allow the mechanisms to move. The ball and the dog on it have brads to allow them to rotate. Two other dogs have red gingham pull-tabs that allow the dogs to either "jump" through the hoop, or "jump" over the barrel.
I made good use of another one of those "realistic" papers - i cut all the edges of the hay to make it look fluffy. Or spikey, whatever real hay looks like. A couple of pieces of eyelash yarn glued to the bottom of the pages reinforces the three dimensional qualities.
The background is done with strips of red and blue stars and dots, with a strand of gold stars like garland across the tent.
This was a really fun altered book to work in. And it was great meeting with the group today. We'll start up again in January. Anyone want to join us?

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