Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Altered Book; Moving Right Along

Six Colleges and Four Girls, my first attempt at making my own altered book, continues--page by page and insight by exciting insight.  So far the biggest thing I've learned (besides how to completely dye my hands with wet blue tissue paper--not my favorite lesson) is why I like this kind of work so much.  It's the puzzle solving that intrigues me and keeps me wanting to learn more. 

Finding solutions to filling the blank page, hovering here and there, brush in hand searching for "just the right place" to add a photograph or a scrap of color, is just so--well, gratifying.  I think it's the same thing I like about writing, too:  teasing out the various words and phrases of my manuscripts to find exactly what they're trying to say, or how to get my characters out of all the terrible jams they insist upon jumping into head first.

As I've been working on this current collage project, puzzle solving has been uppermost in my mind, especially my concerns over how I was going to approach writing the text.  I couldn't decide if I should just write a story in the usual way, i.e. from beginning to end, and then paste it into the book somewhere, or should I be more cryptic and have little bits of text stuck in envelopes and other unexpected places throughout the pages?

Last night I was thinking about all this, as well as about how April is National Poetry Month, and then it hit me:  I could use found poetry.  Of course!  How could I have missed something so obvious?  I already have some very comprehensive "word pools" from which to draw my material, as well as dozens of magazines I can cut up as soon as I'm ready to tackle this part of the project.  I think it's going to be a good solution to the "puzzle" and one that will fit me just right.

Here's where I am in the book so far and as you can see there is a lot of space for me to add text.  The writing that is included here, as well as in the photo at the top of the post, is part of an old letter I wrote and never sent.  I tore it into strips, painted it with various watercolor washes, and then just glued it onto the pages:

From a "blue and red" theme, I moved onto yellow:

If you look closely, you can just see the title of Six Colleges peeking through the paint.  I'm not sure if I will be leaving this, or covering it up some more.

Yes, I'm having a good time. 

Besides sharing my latest pages, I thought for today's post I would list some of the materials I'm using.  So far this includes:
  • Watercolors and acrylic paint.
  • Gesso, both black and white.
  • Glue sticks, Mod Podge, acrylic gel medium (soft gloss).
  • Collage sheets provided in old issues of Somerset Studio magazine.
  • Magazine cut-outs from my files of "People, Places, Things."
  • Mulberry, tissue, watercolor, calligraphy, amate papers.  (I've also got a great piece of papyrus I'm waiting to use.)
  • Scraps of printed, flocked, and embossed papers from India I purchased as a big "grab bag" from Michael's.
  • Printed scrapbook papers sold as individual sheets.
  • Stickers, die-cut doodads, adhesive borders, "vintage" postcards all purchased from craft stores.
  • Junk mail.
  • Old watercolors, drawings, and handwritten manuscripts all from various exercises and journal entries that I kept for sentimental reasons.  Now I'm shredding, painting, and recycling them in all kinds of new ways.
So that's where I am right now--gluing, and solving, and taking my time to be as playful as I can with the whole process.  More pages next week, stay tuned.

Tip of the Day:  Having trouble puzzle solving your latest WIP?  Collaging any story or work in progress is a great way to free up the imagination and let your "right brain" (versus the "wrong brain..."  Okay, altered books make me very silly) help you to find the perfect answer.

No comments: