Saturday, September 6, 2014

Transforming Lovers and Tyrants: An Altered Book Project

When I look for a good book to alter, I'm usually taken by the title. In this case, Lovers and Tyrants was too good to pass up, especially for a quarter.

When I joined the "Anything Goes" journal swap, I realized that my partner might not be keen on Lovers and Tyrants, so I completely overhauled the cover. I began by adhering chipboard shapes to the cover. Usually, I use E600. However, I was out. I used PVA glue. I placed a weight on top of the chipboard shapes and let dry overnight in order to ensure they had adhered.

Next, I applied a generous coat of white gesso to the spine and the front cover.  When the gesso was dry, I began applying Gelatos to each chipboard shape and also in-between those shapes. I applied it in quite a thick coat and then used my finger to smudge. I tried to use colors that worked well together if they came in contact with one another. 

Finally, I wanted a sgraffito effect. What is that, you say? Sgraffito involves using a tool of some sort to take away part of the surface you've just created. It's popular in pottery/ceramics, painting, and drawing. And some of you might be more familiar with it than you know, if you've done any playing around with scratch board. Some even make their own scratch board by using crayon to color heavily on a surface. They then paint over the crayon (usually in black in order to achieve high contrast). Finally, they scrape the paint away to reveal the colorful crayon beneath.

To achieve the sgraffito effect on my book cover, I simply took a pair of sharp scissors and used the point of one of the blades to scratch designs into the thickly applied Gelato. You can see that I created a number of patterns: crosshatching, stripes, scallops, even words.

I love the effect, don't you? It's a little bit grungy...a little bit shabby chic, a little bit "doodle-y"--I keep imagining how that spine will really pop when my partner puts it on a shelf with other books.

Finally, because I've invested hours in decorating the pages within, I thought I'd share with you a selection of my favorite pages:

This layout is an experiment in image transfer. And don't you love the fish scale look of that Gelli print?

 Here we have a lady I found on a piece of Stampington  paper. I loved that Lynn Perella collection of papers. I hoard them!
 The round bit on the left side is actually a mark made by a potato masher. I have a collection of potato mashers featuring different designs. Lovely, don't you think? Oh, and the layers on the right side act as cubbies--spaces to place tags or other bits and pieces.
 These are more Gelli print bits. I've begun to draw on them with stencils--that resulted in the scallop-y thing you see on the right side.

 It's fun to use up little bits and pieces in this project. When I get out my sewing machine, I go crazy and sew loads, but then I wonder what to do with those bits. Here you see a half circle, which fit the color scheme that emerged.
 I like for an altered book to be a tactile experience. Thus, I tend to use things like corrugated cardboard and little tags and such that beg to be touched!
 Here is some more stencil work I've done atop a Gelli print. It's actually a flap that lifts up for "secret" writings.
 I'm pretty proud of the project. I love the bright color scheme and would be happy if I received it in a swap. Yeah?
And I couldn't resist taking one last shot of her before I took her to the post office. I felt a little teary sending her off.

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