Recently I responded to a photography challenge from
Lens-Artists-a photo a week-Blue .
Of course, the BLUE is what caught my eye but the whole thing inspired me to write up the short version of a wonderful art experience I had a few years back.
My long-time friend invited me to join a yearlong project, along with seven artists. (Please notice I did not say seven other artists, as I am maybe an interesting craft person, at best. But I was honored to be in the company of these true artists!!)
The project was rotating Altered Books.
An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning. Wikipedia
This was our assignment. Choose a color theme. And then find a book to “alter”…. meaning just that…a book to change in any way you want.
We informed each other of our chosen colors (blue, red, green, orange, pink, brown, purple, yellow) and set off on our 12 month journey with each other.
Our procedure was to start our own book, work on it for a month or so, and then mail or take it to the next person on the list. Then they would work on our book, in our color, and we would work on the book we received, using that color. The process is brilliant because you are thinking about all your co-artists throughout the year, watching for. and gathering, ideas and supplies for each of the others’ color themed books. (It was cool that our particular group also knew each other so the ideas we had for each book could have personal meaning, as well as working in that person’s color.)
After a month or so, working with the new color, we would mail or take that book to the next person in our rotation, and so on until we had each worked on every other book.
The thing I loved most was as each new book arrived, it was like opening a birthday gift. Discovering the current month’s color and seeing what the last person had done with it was so exciting. And of course, as we neared the end, we got to see the project almost completed, with many different interpretations of that color and of each person’s style of “altering”.
Sometimes the words on particular pages were used as a focus for the altering.
Other times, it was the actual structure of the book (pages glued together and cut out in shapes).
And there were even some very clever “pop-outs” so when you turned a page, something surprising would happen.
Since BEADS and BUTTONS are my primary craft addiction, I used a lot of those. But because we were emailing like crazy, sharing tips and checking in, we were learning new techniques from each other along the way (photo transferring, different washes, newly discovered glues, cool sticker sources, Exacto knife methods, etc.).
With each book we signed, left a book mark, or in some way identified our contribution.
We didn’t return the last book we worked on to its owner. Instead, we brought it to a gathering on a previously planned weekend. We met at a cabin on Hood Canal, so we could open our own books in front of each other. Every book got hours of attention, each page turned, a new gift! We got to talk about what we had done and why, how we had altered, what each color meant to us, etc.
And of course, this was a celebration, so there was food and wine and music too!!!
All in all, it was a memorable experience, one I would love to do again in my life. What a fun way it would be to get to know other Bloggers!
I just had another great idea! What if we did a rotating altered photo album. I know, I know, it would be easier online but what if we each found an actual photo album or scrap book, each picked a theme, (trees, babies, sunsets, politics, whatever!!) and then rotated our albums, sharing our own photography in that theme.
Think of the great coffee table book we could each end up with!