Hello everyone! We're kicking off a new Get Altered challenge over at eclectic Paperie today. It's hosted by Tracy, and she's chosen Altered Books as her challenge theme. Come and play... there's a prize on offer generously sponsored by Kim at the eclectic Paperie store.
I was a solitary child, a reader, and books have always been hugely important to me. A book is a route into an enchanted place - an escape to other times, countries or even worlds; a place to discover, learn and explore to the edges of your imagination and beyond. And, yes, a place where even if there isn't quite a "happily ever after", there is at least a sense of resolution and completion. Though a "happily ever after" is obviously the best option...
When I first found out about altered books, I have to say my spine crunched slightly... surely this was a desecration of my holy places? Books are for reading not altering!
But as we've ploughed through the thousands of volumes my mother and I have collected over the years, I've come full circle.
I've been holding on to books that are now unwanted as books and using their pages to craft with and, on occasion, taking whole books and changing how they live in the world. Turns out that if it's a choice between the scrapheap and being altered, I'll do anything to save a book from oblivion!
So here's a book which was being (reluctantly) offloaded, and it's now got its very own "happily ever after"!
Sadly, I forgot to take a before photo - too slap happy with the gesso! - but it was just an old hardback book - in fact, a version of Hamlet with the original on one side and a German translation on the facing page, so it's got my "other life" built into it too!
I started with the outside covers with, as I said, a coat of gesso all over, including the page edges. I then started playing with my new - and first ever - Dylusions sprays.
I picked the London Blue and Vibrant Turquoise as part of my shopping after my lucky draw at SSSaS the other week. (And I've got a couple of the new colours on order - I'll leave you to guess which!) I seem to be on an incredible roll with lucky dip draws at the moment - sorry, everyone!
I used the Crafter's Workshop Chicken Wire stencil, spritzing through it, and then turning it over to use up the ink left on the surface.
Since I only have the two colours at the moment, I also added some spritzes of Luminarte's Radiant Rain shimmer mist in Fern to add both some greener colour and some fairytale sparkle to the look.
Next step, of course, was stamping. And it was inevitable that the Donna Downey Delicate Flowers stamp would get in on the act.
Anyone who read my Hedgerow Tag post will know that I've become slightly obsessed with these Unity stamps - there's a whole line of projects inspired by them waiting to be blogged!
I also used one of the stamps from my trusty Stampology Silhouette Blossoms set. These were all stamped in Archival inks - Olive and Sepia mainly - incase I wanted to do some more spritzing later.
I love that you can still see the debossed panels from the original book cover, as well as - if you look closely - the original decoration.
Those sepia coloured simple flourishes in the central rectangle are from the book itself, not me.
And I also love the distressed look of the aged book underneath, lending its character to what I've created (though of course it has had some additional assistance from some Gathered Twigs DI).
I let the book choose where to fall open... most of them will have a natural place, and it's no use trying to force them to do things they'd rather not do.
I then gave the internal pages a coat of ground - yes, ground - a new medium I've been playing with, considerably thicker than gesso, and it gives really good coverage and a great surface to work on.
I used the ground (feels like it should be "ground") on the long edges of the pages too, where it had the happy effect of "gluing" them together into a fairly solid block.
Then I let rip with the stamping once more... the Delicate Flowers again and the rose branch, in Olive, Sepia, Coffee and some Memento Teal.
I also tried out spritzing the stamp with the Fern mist which gave me a much more watercoloury look, though most of those ended up getting covered up by the quote I'm afraid.
I was delighted to find that I could also stamp quite nicely onto the ground (grounded?) edges... this has ended up being one of my favourite elements of the finished piece!
And on the narrow edges, I added some music stamping (music - another escape, another way to journey into someone else's imagination) in Teal, using my lovely Hero Arts music background.
(These Hero Arts background stamps are on sale at eclectic Paperie at the moment, at real bargain prices - I'm afraid the music may already have sold out though!)
The quote had been hovering at the back of my mind from quite early in the project (hence the plant stamping on the covers)...
A garden is another enchanted place to escape into, though perhaps Cicero meant it more practically in terms of growing one's food?
It's written on some leftover packaging using the Inkssentials white gel pen.
In fact, it's the card peeled away from the corrugated side of a cardboard box, so it's got some internal stripy texture which I've highlighted with Gathered Twigs DI.
I used a Pitt pen in sepia to doodle some ivy onto the quote panels - I'm finally starting to allow some freehand onto my projects!
I wanted some more texture and dimension, and I also wanted to reintroduce some book text, so I cut some book pages from another rescued book using the TH Tattered Leaves die.
I doodled on them with both the white and the sepia pens, crumpled them up and arranged them into messy leaf mulch to rest the sentiment panels onto.
Having covered up all the book text with ground (hmmm - still sounds weird), it seemed the least I could do to add some back in - plus I just love the look of book pages!
Obviously, the book wouldn't stay upright without some support, which is where the garden twine came in.
It seemed the perfect ingredient, such a simple solution, and also added some great rustic texture to the piece.
The filigree corners give some extra sturdiness. I embossed them with the Ranger Weathered White powder, so that they aren't too smooth and shiny but have a bit of a roughened texture, which will also hold some Gathered Twigs DI for a bit of gentle distressing.
There were several stages of this where it really wasn't working for me, and I was tempted to start all over again, but I kept on going, altering, adding, covering and changing things and, in the end, I've got a piece which really enchants me. I'd like to "get inside it", if that makes any sense...
It makes me happy looking at it and that, I hope, will make the book happy too, even if it can't be read any longer.
Another long post, I'm afraid, but thank you for sticking with it. If you've made it this far, then hopefully you'll be inspired to alter your own unwanted books and join in with our eclectic Paperie Get Altered challenge.
All the details are here. You have two weeks, so there's plenty of time to read the book first too!
A room without books is like a body without a soul.
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.
I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge Ever After
Papertake Weekly are playing Anything Goes
Just click on the image to go straight to the goodies!