Altered Book: The Alchemy of Existence
Those tiny bottles I started working with a few weeks ago have all been filled with things and have at last made their way into an altered book. I raided the spice rack for the bulk of the filler, selecting herbs and spices based on colour and texture. One of the bottles is filled with tiny seeds from Yuuki‘s food. I decided to fill the brown bottles with random inedible items and have something sticking out the top of each because they are too opaque to see inside.
When I first envisioned the bottles in a book I thought I would put them in orderly rows as if they were on shelves, but as I started to create the composition it seemed more interesting to stack them and have the rows overlap. I had to decide exactly how they would be arranged before I could start cutting into the book, and I had to maintain the same arrangement in order to make them fit back in.
The bottles inspired thoughts about alchemy, potion mixing and magic so I used this as the jumping off point as I chose the finishing touches for the composition. The book is lined with sewing pattern paper with lines and symbols that make me think of star charts, and the colour of the paper seems old and yellowed. Every other object I chose is metallic – various coins, a locking mechanism and a key – to tie into the transmutation of metals often associated with the art of alchemy. The copper coil in the center of the book was made by winding wire around a skewer. I added the same copper wire to the seven brown bottles because they looked too plain as they were.
Materials used: book, sewing pattern paper, locking mechanism, coins, rusty key, glass bottles, copper wire, dried flowers, metal chain, pencil crayon, bamboo stick, map fragment, book page fragment, feathers, bird seed, and various herbs and spices.