{A} My adventures with altered books

Those of you who have been here before know that I’m a regular old bookworm. I love reading, I’m passionate about books, and my biggest pet peeve is a badly-edited book. But, what does that have to do with altered books? And, some of you might be wondering, what are altered books anyway?

Well, an altered book is a piece of art created from an existing book that has been transformed by painting, collage, tearing, cutting, or any creative means. Some artists use a theme for their books others don’t bother with themes and some use old books to create art journals. The possibilities are endless.

altered_books_found_poetry

Watercolors and found poetry

For those of you gasping at this “defacement” of a book – consider this: Is it better to use old, unloved books to create art or to send them to the garbage dump or recycle center? While I would never cut up books like Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved (one of my all-time favorites), I wouldn’t hesitate to cut up How About A Sin Tonight.  See what I mean?

Anyway…I started making altered art books about 8 years ago. I was hooked – not only to altered books, but to art in general. Creating these spreads gave me joy…kept me sane…made me feel alive. Then, somewhere along the way, I started thinking that I wasn’t good enough. I started comparing my art with other people’s art – and not just any people, with the work of popular artists in this space. And I was a complete art novice, so this was a downright silly thing to do. Eventually, I just gave up.

Watercolors, acralyics and found poetry

I did try to get back to the art room on numerous occasions. But I couldn’t. Then, last year, I took some online classes with Melody Ross and slowly, I started coming unstuck. It started, strangely enough, with stitchery. Then I started doodling and lettering. I hated my initial attempts, but with a lot of encouragement from the other girls who were taking the class with me, I stuck with it. I bought some books and started some boards on Pinterest. And – surprise, surprise – I got better at it! Then in February, I got back to making altered books. I’ve done three spreads so far (along with other arty stuff) and I’m really and truly loving it!

Acralyics, water colour and found poetry

I still make mistakes, but instead of beating myself up, I learn from them and move on. And I still don’t think my art is as good as some of the awesome work I see online, but I’m ok with that. Because this is my art, it has meaning to me, and I know that as I continue down this road, I will only improve.

So, be it art or anything else you love doing but think you aren’t too great at it – stick with it, I say! If you love it, practice it. Be gentle and kind with yourself and you will get better and better at it.

Posted in Art Journaling and tagged , , , .

20 Comments

  1. Hi just started doing art journaling and mixed media and I love it your pieces are beautiful. Like someone said to me on a board just do it. Youtube is great for learning new techniques and for more advice their are google+ communities that are really encouraging thanks for sharing your art really lovely

  2. This is the first time I’ve come across this concept. Sounds interesting. And I really liked the last pic goes well with the words!!!

  3. Pingback: {G} I’m grateful for… | Modern Gypsy

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