Altered book collage
I’m not sure about other artists, but I always seem to have a bunch of ideas in the back of my mind that resurface every once in awhile, but never quite make it to reality. I think some of these ideas aren’t meant to be, while a very few seem to be biding their time waiting until I eventually have the right knowledge and skills to make them happen.
I’ve wanted to create art from old books ever since I came across Tim Karpinski’s illustrations painted in a book in a Portland art show two years ago. I made a few attempts at using heat transfer paper to print my photos in books, but the paper was too delicate to take the high temperatures needed for the process and I wasn’t satisfied with the results. Since then I’ve taken up collage which has involved figuring out techniques and exploring an art form that is an alternative to taking photos. It is also more hands-on than photography tends to be these days. I think it was a direction I needed to take in order to learn how to work with the books in the way I wanted.
On the weekend I went to the grand reopening of RubyDog’s Art House and bought (among other things) “New Directions in Altered Books” by Gabe Cyr. It’s full of ideas for turning old books into interesting pieces of art and has inspired me to finally explore my thoughts on creating things from old books.
Today I experimented with my first one, which is featured in the photo at the top of this blog post. It’s pretty basic, and is really more of an experiment than anything, but it was oh-so-satisfying to make, and I want to do more more MORE! (Colour me excited.) The collage contains sewing pattern paper, a silver coin, locking mechanism parts, a metal bird, and a watch face. The red spiral pattern was created with a rubber stamp and ink. I also used gel medium to glue the edges of the pages, and wash of gesso along the edges.