Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Altered Books and Summer Breaks
By: Annie Chamovitz
So I’ve been spending a lot of time with the boys this summer, which is a good thing, mostly, but sometimes I just really need a break. I go to the crops every Saturday night to be with my friends and get some scrapbooking done, but I like to be by myself, as well. So when I saw that the library was having a free altered book workshop on Saturday, I signed up—knowing Mike would be home with the boys. Altered books are old books that people make other things from—scrapbooks, journals, boxes, and so on.
When I arrived at the library, there was already a crowd and people were intent on what they were doing. I felt late, even though I wasn’t. It turned out that the person who actually knew about altered books and was going to teach the class had been called out of town, so we were really just sort of plunging in with a teacher-leader who was a lot of fun, but didn’t know a lot about altered books.
The women on both sides of me were some kind of creative genius. One was drawing a cat on the title page to cut out and the other had made a delightful little box out of her book. She was so patient. I’d have chucked that thing across the room. She carved out all the pages in that book. But her finished product was worth it.
As they were finishing up, I was still missing with the “mod podge” and figuring out what I wanted to do. The first hurdle I surprisingly had to overcome was the feeling that I had that I was “destroying” a book. A perfectly fine book. But then I heard someone say they would just pitch these books anyway—so we were "upcycling" them and making them into something useful. Well, that’s a stretch—let’s say something maybe bordering on the artistic—for the rest of the crowd anyway, certainly not me. I kept thinking that scrapbooking has a purpose and this didn’t seem to. But I guess that art doesn’t need to have a purpose, does it?
So, my little book is definitely a work in progress. I’m going to keep practicing the techniques. But in the mean time, if you’d like to see some really cool altered books, check this out.