A Book with a Different Look

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This article is written by Kim Kelley

About a year ago I made my very first altered book, I had just found out my uncle Rocky was dying of cancer; was given just a few months to live, and I wanted to make something that might give him and the family a bit of hope. So I started playing around with a book I happened to have had two of and viola… a masterpiece was created…

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyFirst try at an altered book

After that, I was hooked.  Since I enjoy going to antique stores anyway, going through bins and shelves of; well wonderful pieces of junk, I started searching around for books.  Looking for the heavy, hard cover monstrosities that will make fantastic art!

There are a few ways you can alter a book…altering page by page, making a shadow box of sorts, fanning pages, even cutting shapes out of the pages, but I chose to create a stand up, 2 opening frame display.

For this project I used Jacquard Lumiere paints in …. , harlequin chipboard pieces, some other chipboard pieces, bead texture, flake texture, texture gel, and a digital image from Rebecca Sinz named Wither purchased at www.sweetpeastamps.com. Oh and of course a book!

So to start, I find the middle of the book and pretty much break the spine by bending and wringing the book back and forth. If you could see my hands you would tell what to do. Ha-ha. Then I start to glue the pages together. This takes a little time because even though you are not gluing each and every page you do not want to skip too many, maybe every five pages or so. I used mod podge and made sure I got it right up to the spine of the book as well as right to the edges of the page. If there seems to be too many without glue you can always go back and add more.

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyBending of book, start of gluing

Depending on the size of your book is going to depend on the size of your opening that you cut out. I usually go in about an inch from the edges, draw my lines where I want to cut and then cut down about halfway through the pages. You want to leave the showing page to have some writing.

Now bring out your gesso! I like to put at least two coats of gesso on both the cover and the inside, making sure you get all the cracks and crevices.

Altered Book Art by Kim Kelley

I usually decorate the cover side first. Even if the cover side may not be seen at all times you know someone will pick it up and look at it! I started with my palette knife and several texture mediums; spreading anywhere and everywhere, getting them spread around so that you can see and feel each texture style.

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyOutside

You want to continue doing the same on the inside, trying to keep it away from the cut out portion. If some drips onto the cut out edge, that’s fine, but keeping the bottom pretty clean is good, so that when you add your image and/or saying it will adhere the way it needs to. I initially added drips and splotches of string gel and then had to cut out the bottom page. Live and learn! Ended up just using some mists instead to give some color to the inside page.

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyInside

Once you get the texture the way you want it, you can start to add your chip board pieces. I added mine while the texture was still a bit wet, makes for adhering it a lot easier. I used both the outline of the harlequin chipboard and the little pieces that you take out. At this stage I also used my glue gun on the pages, giving both texture and strength to the book.

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyChipboard

For some reason purple colors jumped off the shelf and onto my craft table, so I figured purples it shall be. I used Burgundy, Grape and Halo Violet Gold; alternating colors and brushes. After the purples dried, I also added black, misting with water and sponging some color off.  The chipboard pieces I colored with black and silver.

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyPainting it up

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyPainting it up 2

Altered Book Art by Kim KelleyPainted chipboard

I chose to use an angel for this altered book, I mean who couldn’t use an extra angel around their house. I printed my image twice so that I could make her wings pop out, colored her with Copics and then added glitter to her wings. I will add a scripture or poem once I know who this belongs too, just to make it more personal for them.

Altered Book Art by Kim Kelley Close up of Angel

Altered Book Art by Kim Kelley Finished Project!

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Kim Kelley is borderline obsessive about her crafting and her art. She loves mixed media art because you are free to go beyond your comfort zone, using your imagination and exploring an anything goes mind set. Kim loves to learn and explore new techniques and hopes that any art she creates leads someone to find their inner creative artist!

Sites: itsallaboutcrafting.blogspot.com and www.facebook.com/kimscraftyconcepts

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Vintage Vacations Altered Book Layout

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This article is written by Michelle Brown

This month’s mixed media art ephemera sheet is all about Vintage Vacations – I just LOVE these cute vacation brochures that were part of my Great Aunt’s H-U-G-E collection of paper ephemera that I inherited. How cool is that font?!? You can get your own copy of this ephemera sheet here ~ Mixed Media Art Ephemera Sheet – Vintage Vacations. We had lots of fun putting this sheet together for you

To ignite your creative spark, I have created this combined altered book layout.

mixed media art ephemera images

For the first page I decided to highlight a road trip my family took a few years ago – we travelled from Victoria and across to southern South Australia for 4 weeks and over 5,700 km. We only got as far as the outskirts of the Australian Outback but it gave me a glimpse of that part of Australia.

This altered book layout already had a layer of gesso and blue wash – prefect for the endless skies we saw on our vacation. First I printed out the ephemera sheet and tore out the brown brochure; just the shade of the endless dried grassy plains. This was glued in with Paper Mod Podge – Matte.

Then I stencilled in some birds (Black Crested Cockatoos) and gumtree trunks with greys.
[You can make your own Gum Tree Trunk stencil using the photos from the Mixed Media Art Technique Sheet]

Then I added some leaves in two shades of green (forgot to take photo of that step!). After printing out a selection of photos (there  were quite a few photos after 4 weeks of vacation!), I edged them in StazOn Stone Gray ink and arranged them onto the layout with double sided tape. The photos were edged with charcoal pencil.

The second page was thrown together along with a page from an old atlas and a few Aussie stickers – this page isn’t finished yet as I want to add a photo of my Great Uncle, who was a Coach Driver with Hannaford’s Coaches. I’m sure many of these brochures came through him to my Aunt. I love the romantic images these brochures bring to my mind, back in the day when travel around our vast continent by coach and ship.

Happy creating!

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Michelle G. Brown is passionate about mixed media art and enjoys sharing her knowledge and techniques with you to allow you to express your own creativity. Michelle understands that many of us have an inner need to create. By learning a few basic techniques the amazing world of mixed media art is accessible to everyone!

Michelle lives with her husband and two boys in Melbourne, Australia.

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Creating an Altered Book Layout

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Laura Thykeson shares her process for creating a layout in an altered book in this 25 minute video.

 

Laura brings us her techniques for adding borders, highlighting words and adding colour into a layout of an altered book. It’s part of her “Alter me Silly” class starting on March 1, 2013 which will have video, pdf’s and more class material. (You will need to join up with Ning to view the workshop.) There is something about watching the process of a mixed media artist creating her pages that just clicks with us!

mixed media altered book

To create a similar altered book, you need a sturdy book or old diary or calendar. For the best results, make sure you begin with a stitched book. For more details on choosing a book, and how you can check for stitched sections, you can read more on Altered Books for Mixed Media Art.

mixed media altered book

The other materials and tools you will need to create an altered book layout include permanent markers, Sharpie pens and Gouache Paint. Once you have these as a starting off point, the wide world of altered books and art journals will open up to you. You can then combine a range of techniques and mediums to personalise your pages and let your creativity flow!

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Laura Thykeson has been totally immersed in mixed media art for many years. If it will “take paint”, she has probably painted on it!
Laura discovered altered books and art journals about a year ago and have been hooked ever since! She has always loved mixed media art because of the variety and the “no rules” aspect! Starting out a fine art oil artist, she soon transitioned into her own line of wearable art, purses and jewelry, along with decorative items for the home.
Laura lives in Granbury, Texas USA.

You can see more of Laura’s work at Mixed Media Uniques

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Reading Between The Lines with Altered Books

This article is written by Laura Thykeson from Taz’s Corner

Many people have asked me to explain how I pick out and put together the “Altered Text” on the pages of the altered books I create. I am hoping that I can explain a few things and make it a little less confusing for the person new to “altered text” and found poetry. In essence, “Altered text” is made when certain words or phrases are chosen, highlighted and connected by “rivers” in the order they are printed on the page. Then the rest of the words are marked out or painted over, making it where you can only read the selected text. “Rivers” are dark lines connecting the words on the page in the order you want them read for added effect. This is a different technique than “Found Poetry” which is when words and phrases are cut out of a page or pages of separate text, then rearranged and attached to a new substrate such as an altered book page, cardboard, a collage or an ATC (Artist Trading Card) or other artwork.

artwork by Laura Thykeson  artwork by Laura Thykeson

When you are ready to start a new altered book page, before you do anything else, let your eyes skip over the text on the page lightly a few times and see if any words or phrases catch your attention. If so, write them down on a scrap piece of paper (I use separate “altered text workbooks”, made from composition notebooks, for each altered book I create). Keep rereading the page, picking out other words or phrases to go with what you have and write them down, until you have made a sentence or until the wording suits you and “says something” to you. For instance,  the altered text I have chosen in the first picture I have included reads – “I ostentatiously pirouette, seeking the complexities of sequences, one and the other, above and below, when there he is, the stillness of death”. I really like the way this page reads. It “speaks” to me in a way, with a larger meaning than just how the text reads. It makes me think of how short life is, and how we often go through life so quickly, distracted by the things life throws at us, then suddenly – the end of our life looms near and we wonder where the time went so quickly!

Once I have picked out my “altered text”, I then draw black boxes in permanent ink around each word(Sharpies work well for this), then use a colored highlighter to really set them off where they will show well up on the page. Now I am ready to start creating my layers of artwork, beginning with watercolors,  then layering acrylics, collage elements, permanent inks, markers, colored pencil, etc., making sure to not cover up the words I have chosen with my artwork as I go. One other tip – I also glue together 3 pages, then leave a two-page spread, then glue 3 more pages together and so on, to give myself a sturdy base for my artwork.  I am including a couple more pictures of my pages I have finished, so you can see some examples. Hopefully, this has helped you to add another dimension to your mixed media and altered book art! Once you get the hang of it, it can become quite addicting to see what “Altered Text” sentences you can come up with on each page. After you have gotten the hang of finding your words on the pages, you can also create your art to match or compliment your “altered text” and add a whole new aspect of additional meaning to your altered book art! You can create a whole new “story within the story” with the sentences and phrases you discover when you “read between the lines”!

artwork by Laura Thykeson

artwork by Laura Thykeson  artwork by Laura Thykeson

 

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Laura Thykeson has been totally immersed in mixed media art for many years. If it will “take paint”, she has probably painted on it!

Laura discovered altered books and art journals about a year ago and have been hooked ever since! She has always loved mixed media art because of the variety and the “no rules” aspect! Starting out a fine art oil artist, she soon transitioned into her own line of wearable art, purses and jewelry, along with decorative items for the home.

Laura lives in Granbury, Texas USA.

You can see more of Laura’s work at at her blog Taz’s corner

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