A blog about making art and other things using cloth, paper, paint, colour, stitch, and all sorts of exciting techniques, some of which I'm sure I still have to discover! I hope that the joy all this gives me is visible in what you can see here.

Friday, 15 August 2014

A playful conundrum.

I have a bit of a conundrum around altered books. I'm really not too sure what they're about, but I just love looking at the ones created by others! Because I find them a difficult concept, I find it extremely difficult to make/create my own. I'm never too sure where to start, and once I do make a start, I'm then not sure why I'm doing what I am doing!!!

This is one I started months ago, but soon lost heart because of the quality of the paper. It is a very old book, all about the human body, and I chose it because it had been stitched into the spine, (apparently better for altering than glued spines). I removed about half of the pages, to make room for my additions, and then started to paint over the printed pages with gesso. Well, the paper was so thin and absorbent, it almost dissolved, so I had to rethink my processes.

I decided to stick lots of pages together, and to bind the outside front edges with strips cut from magazines. Once I'd done this, and painted the surfaces with gesso again, I had a more robust surface for decorating.

I think this is where I come unstuck. What to do on these blank pages, and should it relate to the books original subject? When I first started on this project, I think I tried too hard to link everything to what the book was about. I gave up and threw it into a drawer.

Anyway, today I was at a cross roads with where to go next with my textile art, and couldn't seem to focus on anything, so out came this book again, giving me the opportunity to just play around. After all, I have nothing to loose, seeing as I've already given up on it.

I got rid of most of what I'd put into it previously, and then just went through my boxes of leftover papers and generally just enjoyed playing.

I have to admit, I've quite enjoyed feeling free to experiment with ideas, and to put some of my leftovers into the pages, adding more paint or doodles as the fancy takes me.

Certainly not a work of art, but there are a couple of areas that I think I might like to think about and develop further, so all is not lost.

There are still plenty of pages left to add yet more doodles and scraps, but for now, I think I'm going to treat it more as an ideas book, something between a sketchbook, and a scrap book I suppose.

The altered books I've seen created by others, have been more like small works of art, each page a treasure trove of colour, ideas, designs, and lots of interesting bits and pieces. I still can't seem to work out where my starting point would be, whether it would be a theme of my own, or something inspired from the book itself. Maybe I just haven't found the right book to alter yet!

I have a feeling that the best bit about an altered book is in the making of it, the process being the more enjoyable part, well at least for me anyway. On the other hand, I do enjoy browsing altered books created by others, and I also really love looking through artists sketchbooks. Thinking about it, maybe things like sketchbooks and altered books should be displayed in our homes for the enjoyment of others to browse, rather like a magazine.

Mine still has a way to go yet though, and at the moment I think one of the best bits is the cover. Just some paper that I painted and printed with leaves and stamps, but with some interesting textural areas, and subtle colour.

Happy weekend everyone.