A few months ago my friend Siobhan gave me eleven blank books to work with and turn into altered books. I’ve been pondering what to do with them and finally decided to take the plunge and actually explore ideas instead of just thinking about them. Each book is about an inch and a half thick with a plain white cover and pages, and began life as a stand-in dummy for Harry Potter books. I’ve never had so many of the same kind of book at my disposal so I’m hoping to use their uniformity to turn them into a series.
Because these books have spines that are glued together to attach the pages it limits what I can do because they aren’t as flexible as a stitched binding. I decided to cut through the cover and create a niche inside the pages and used the shape of the door frame as my guide. When I started cutting I wasn’t sure what I would be putting into the book but I wanted to do something with birds. I cut about half way through the book then glued and painted the pages together. The three birds were chosen, cut out and inserted between the pages with two layers of different tissue paper as a background inside the niche.
The image covering the outside of the book is a black & white double-exposure photograph taken with my Holga a few years ago. At first I attempted a gel medium transfer of this on the cover using an inkjet print, but the paper on paper transfer didn’t work so well. I settled on attaching the print itself to the cover and coating it with gel medium to create texture and a protective coating. The door frame is a transparency and I painted the back side of it white so it would stand out more strongly from the background of the tree branches.
As I was about to attach the branch along the left side of the cover I decided to add three leaf-shaped glass beads to give it a bit of colour. The leaf pattern along the sides of the book were added using a rubber stamp and ink and also add life to an otherwise blank space.
Materials used: blank book, print of double-exposed holga photo, paper birds, blue tissue paper, acrylic paint, rubber stamp and ink, gel medium, driftwood branch, and three leaf-shaped beads.