Have you visited a library lately? Are you familar with the area where old, discarded books are kept, usually sold for a dollar or less? A lot of us these days do our reading on our computers or Kindles, so while these old books might seem like useless objects to some, to an artist they can easily be altered into glorious and fantastic works of art. They might become the starting point for a wonderful album or maybe the start of an exciting art journal . . . the possibilities are endless! When you look at an old book and you're told "be creative", what comes to your mind? What would you create? Where would you start? That was the Challenge given at our "ATC Workshop & Swap Challenge" Group last November. If you take a just minute and "think outside the box", each old book is actually just blank pages begging for all sorts of artistic touches. Take a look at some of the amazing and creative results from our extremely talented group of artists . . .
This month's Challenger, Jeanette Lee, who just happens to work at the library, couldn't stop with just one ~ book that is! To go along with the season, Jeanette created her first altered book in the shape of an Halloween "jack-o-latern" after carving its shape from an old discarded library book. To continue with the illusion, she pulled all the book pages together to meet and adhered them, forming a circular shape, then inked the page edges in bright orange. As a finishing touch, she inserted a twisted floral stem into the center of the pages, and viola . . . it's a pumpkin!
Her second book was again created from another discarded library book into a beautiful art journal where she practices her many artistic talents & techniques. To camouflage the original covers, she wrapped front & back with a favorite paper, then added fabric to the spine where she wove in coordinating beads & ribbons.
approached the Challenge in a little different direction. She created deep texture & depth on the outside surfaces of her book using texture paste, then pressed a woodgrain embossing folder into the paste. The embossing folder was removed while the paste was wet, leaving a wonderful moon crater-type surface. When the texture paste was dry, a coating of rust was first applied, then highlighted with various metallic acrylic paints. The book pages were adhered together along the edges, as well as to each cover, then painted in several shades of gold & copper metallic acrylic paints to give the illusion of an old book. Nuts from the hardware store & pearls to mimic rivets were added as embellishments before painting, with a vintage style jewelry piece placed as the center focal point.
Deb Schinzel was another to play with layers & textures when creating her gorgeous altered book. After collaging & layering torn book pages to the front & back covers, she then applied texture pastes using some of her favorite stenciling techniques. Her choice of cool green & blue, along with warm cream, paints & accents set the color pallette both for the cover & throughout the pages of her book. Wood & metal embellishments were added to the front cover, as well a dramatic "fly", which she first stamped on Clearly for Art plastic with archival ink, then heated to shape to create a 3-D effect. Interior pages were first gesso'd, then stenciled & painted to continue with the overall feel & theme of the book. To give the book that old & well-worn feel, Deb distressed the page edges before painting & inking in golds & browns to coordinate with the overall color scheme. For those interested in seeing Deb's book in person, visit the store where it is proudly displayed.
Lylia Hagerty took the title of her discarded book, "Blue City", to heart. First painting the exterior hard covers of her book in shades of blue, she torn out the title & cover art from the paper sleeve & applied each as embellishments. Pages that were removed from the book were torn in random pieces & collaged on the back cover, allowing the embossed publishers mark to show through. Everything was then painted in the same blue shade as the front cover. Inside pages were glued together, then carved out to form a shadow box effect, where Lylia added embellishments to emphasis the idea of a "blue city". Each piece, if not originally blue, was first painted before being placed in the cut-out area. Beautiful background paper was added for additional interest, as well as Lylia's hand drawn cityscape. To camouflage the existence of the cut-out, Lylia left the first few pages of the book in place, including the coversheet, but painted them to coordinate with the entire blue city theme.
Jean Hamrick is an artist who loves to draw, paint, & so much more . . . all of which she shared in the pages of her altered book. To hide the lettering on the front cover, Jean painted a canvas board to match the color of the book , then adhered it to create a flat surface. Once secure, she hand drew, then painted, her beautiful Phoenix rising design in oranges & yellows to signify her art as always developing in new & exciting directions. A second Phoenix was drawn & painted on the back cover in beautiful shades of blues & creams. Leaving the original pages of the book as they were, she emphasized words & phrases with markings in pens & inks. She also added more of her hand drawn art, as well as collage pieces & everyday stamps & stickers to add to the feel of this book as a work-in-progress journal. Jean has appropriately named her altered book "create" & says that she continues to do just that when a new thought comes to her or she learns of a new technique. Just goes to prove that even an old book can make the perfect canvas for displaying your artistic thoughts & talents!
Shiela Rose was another artisit who ran with the Challenge by creating two books. Her first has been created in an art journal style, the perfect place to keep many of her favorite techniques & designs. With pages overflowing with collage, Zen Doodle designs, & the use of stencils & stamps, as well as beautiful colors of inks & sprays, Shiela has created the perfect "go-to" techniques reference book. Prior to the addition of any technique, gesso was applied to each page to give her a clean slate for her designs. Front & back covers were also decorated after a coat of gesso using her favorite paints, then stamped & stenciled with many of her favorite designs. Shiela is a firm believer that it's not a true work of art without a stamp or two, and she's definitely proven that with this book!
Her second "altered book" didn't begin its life as a book, but actually as a plastic case to hold one of her grandchildren's DVR movies! After first covering the case with plain white paper to create the shape of book covers, Shiela then added some bright & springy patterned paper for her covers. To camouflage the spine of the case, she added glittery coordinating paper in pink, tying in the whole color scheme. When finished, she's created a clever hiding spot for small items in a "book" that can easily be stored in any bookcase.
Any member of the group can "Challenge" the others with creating something special and unique. Anyone who takes part creates one Challenge Item for "Show & Tell" using everyday mixed media materials . . . embellishments, paints, papers, stencils . . . whatever strikes their fancy! Without any themes or other guidelines, the ultimate goal is to showcase each artist's personality through the type(s) of embellishments, decorations, or techniques used.
Please join us in congratulating & thanking each artist for a job well done! We'd love to hear what you think, so please leave us a comment . . . or two! . . . and share your thoughts. And if you'd like to take part in our monthly "ATC Workshop & Swap" or Challenges, join us the second Thursday evening of each month from 6:00pm-8:00pm and you too can begin to think big in a small way! No membership required and it's FREE! Hope to see you there!
Watch for our next Challenge Results ~ Altered Hearts ~
2986 No. Alma School Rd. #4 ~ Chandler, AZ 85224
s/w corner of Alma School & Elliot Roads behind Bank of America
(located next to Catherine's & King's Buffet)
Tuesday - Saturday 10:00am-6:00pm ~ Closed Sunday & Monday