Friday, January 23, 2009

Altered Book 2009: A Gift of Life

I just finished preparing my first altered book of 2009, A Gift of Life. I will be swapping the book with my AB group on Sunday. here are some pics of my pages. The book i chose is an illustrated poem book from Hallmark circa 1971. I purchased the book at an estate sale. I decided to use the book's images as the theme - all things nature. Like trees and flowers and birds and bugs and forest animals. The book is quite small, so by the time my AB group is done each creating their own pages, it will be jam packed with the essence of life.
For the cover i used a flocked paper (yes like old wallpaper) with a brown floral pattern on a green background. I decided NOT to add the book's title to the cover - since it is so simple and pretty as is.
Inside the cover was a giant butterfly. I wanted to add another large butterfly and make it pop. But i ended up using a page with dozens of butterflies instead. The ones in the middle pop up and the ones on the right are "loose".
Every altered book that you plan to swap should have an intro. This explains your theme and highlights any do's and dont's for your friends. Next is my title page. It is facing a page of vellum printed with silkweed pods. I used a strand of eyelash yarn to accentuate the feathery-ness of the seed filaments.
The right hand side of this page has the original illustration. A deer (buck?) behind a tree. To compliment the picture i went to my folder of "nature" clippings and papers. I found this magazine pic of a collection of leaves. Without over thinking it, i just cut it to size and glued it into the book. I started doing this kind of collage when i participated in a calendar swap. You had to encorporate the images in the calendar into your collage and journaling. I just worked fast and intuitively, with whatever i had close at hand. After i glued in the leaves i had a space at the bottom that was a perfect fit for a piece of green hand made paper, that i happened to have punched out some leaf shapes for another project. I filled them in with golf glitter dust. I did not know what to "say" on this page, so i added the french dictionary entry for a buck or CERF. Then when looking for something else i found the pewter buck sticker. Well he just finishes this off nicely.
The next page had an illustration of a snowy egret. (at least that's what i think it is!) I had just purchased a pack of scrapbook paper from costco that i split with a friend. it has a similar water fowl sketch on linen-like paper. I like how the grey tones match. I found a audubon event postcard in my stash with another white bird, so i added it too. I made it into a tag with a cluster of fibres. on the back is a poem i found about a blue heron. Embroidery seems to be popping up everywhere, so i added a scrap of fabric and some buttons, choosing ones with thread still attached for that needle work look. When i frayed the edges of the linen, i thought, why not use the threads to accent the reeds?
This spread grew organically. The vellum had weeds on one side and a frog on the other. I added the sepia toned floral and the stones along the bottom. The frog could be seen through the vellum. But it just wasn't strong enough. So i added a BIG frog which actually glides along the ribbon as if to leap off the page. The short poem is about a toad. the eggs were in my "nature" file - no idea what they are or where it came from - but i love how it all looks together.

On the next page you can see the original frog. I added the underside of the large frog and a clipping from a french dictionary - la grenouille. Opposite that a vintage botanical cut from wrapping paper.
Next spread was inspired by a large hand woven bee hive i found in my files. It need a background - something green. I found an old book dust jacket entitled one thousand beautiful things. well my beehive was indeed beautiful, but i was mostly struck by the arch of trees and how it echoed the cone shape of the hive. One small problem - it was too small to fit the page. Back the nature file where i found another arch of trees - perfect! Some vintagey scrapbook paper about the meaning of flowers completes the background. I added some rafia to the edges of the hive to give it some tactile effect. a little tin bumblebee is the only other embellishment.
Then i found ANOTHER cool bee paper - a painting of pears swarming with bees. Well darn, i want to use that too. as luck would have it the very next page in the book had a simple illustration of a fruit tree. I added some sequins to make the flowers pop. The final touch to tie these two spreads together is a poem by Kahlil Gibran called give and take.This spread had green and gold leaves printed on them with a portion of the poem "and summer turns her riches to autumn's gold. I simple covered the whole spread with some leaf printed cellaphane that came wrapped on a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store. To finish off the page i went fibre crazy along one edge.
For the sign in page i decided to capture the book's original poem, since so much will be lost with all the collage. yes - i typed up the whole darn thing. After i cut it out, i needed to keep the sections in order, so i stamped 1-2-3-4. I used these as envelopes for the sign in tags. Each artist will decorate her tag and sign her name. hopefully they will replace the simple string with some more fun fibers!

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