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Altered Books

Here’s a confession – I have mixed feelings about this.  I love the concept of repurposing and reusing but find it difficult to paint over or tear up an old book.  I try to find ones that are in bad shape or maybe a topic I don’t care for, but part of it seems like sacrilege!  I try to create my altered books from useless, throw-away items: an old ledger book, a desktop calendar.   

I covered this ledger book with used teabags embellished with paint using a variety of mark-making techniques.  This as my “scribble” journal where I just let go and let the pen do what it wants.  The portraits use a one-line technique where the pen never leaves the paper and the portrait is drawn in one line.  An entire art form exists in Native American history using ledger books.  You can read more here: 

https://americanhistory.si.edu/documentsgallery/exhibitions/ledger_drawing_1.html

Repurposed Books

Front and back cover and one-line “scribble” portrait

I altered the desktop calendar using gesso, epherma consisting of used teabags, resin leftovers, gelli-print papers, and leftover Cricut letters and shapes.  On the inside, gesso and leftover paint were used to prepare the pages before journaling or mark-making.  The cover of the book started as a stylized owl but now looks more like a cat.  Similar calendars like these can be found (in the U.S.) for $1.00 at the local Dollar Store. This is a cheap way to play with altered books.

Altered Desktop Calendar

I purchased this book on angels and was attracted to the art. For a different approach, I applied black gesso on the cover and paint the pages primarily in neutral colors.  I even tore pages out and taped them together to create a fold out spread.  I added color using colored pencils in the margins.   

Altered book on angels and altered pages to create a fould out page

Altering an Old Schoolbook

This book was the most difficult to alter.  It is an old school reader and has a history as such.  I’ve tried to keep the pages with illustrations but have torn pages out and has folded pages to create pockets where I can insert memorabilia.   

School primer
Inner page altered to create a pocket
Another altered page with a pocket
Mark-making practice with a paint dauber

Use your imagination for altered books. Repurpose what you already have. You will be surprised what you can create!

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