Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Meeting of Writing and Art: Altered Books







Writing brings immense pleasure. It has been an important part of my life since high school when I got seriously involved with poetry. Writing a book is both challenging and pleasurable. It is a daily practice and it requires a great deal of energy and discipline. Typically, I try to write early in the morning, for at least a couple of hours, particularly when I am working on a book project or article. Seeing the finished product, all of your words, folded into the beautiful form of a book that is a precious gift. I love vintage books, first editions, antique hardcovers and finding signed copies of old books. As much as I enjoy creating a written book I also love to deconstruct them, in order to make altered book art. I first started working in that medium about 20 years ago; while teaching at the Art Institute, working with an old volume of faded-denim-blue Shakespeare books that I bought from the farmer’s market in New Jersey called Cow Town. The interior art in the altered books was focused around my very young children and other family members, images were layered to give the illusion of movement, using sun prints (cyanotype) negative film, and transparent Xerox copies. To this day, I still enjoy working with transparent Xerox films and some of the work I’ve shown on this blog, like “Dark Angel Noel” and “Angel Nouveau,” utilize that medium. These pieces I am sharing today are untitled works-in-progress, started about three years ago and yet to be finished. Right now they are separated but eventually they will be bound together. I used a lot of walnut ink to create sepia tones found in antiquities. For the watercolor-like effects I used Golden Fluid Acrylics. I incorporated some found objects, like chewing gum foil, antique lace, buttons, chicken wire, denim rags, and Xerox copies of different types of dancers, western and eastern. I also put some semi-transparent Japanese unryu paper over some areas because it lends a rich texture. I saved some of the text from the original book and incorporated that as well. I’m not a very good seamstress but I enjoy sewing into my books—it is very meditative and it creates a sense of cohesion. I use a waxed thread that I get from our local bead shop, similar to sinew and I sew with metallic thread. I wanted the book to feel like a well-lived in home for the dancers, with aging wallpaper walls and bare plaster in areas that are stained by time.

2 comments:

  1. that's great pictures and very interesting text...
    " I enjoy sewing into my books—it is very meditative and it creates a sense of cohesion." quite true...
    I am not a good painter but sometimes enjoy painting in my altered books
    it's a great way of expressing ourselves, unlimited possibilities...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sarah:

    Thanks so much! I agree with you totally. Can I see your art online anywhere?

    ReplyDelete

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