There were no words at her command
When first she opened up the book
She saw a world before her
Were just as she imagined
She came to understand then
She'd be the draftsman of her life--
At a library book sale, I found two
board books which are fourteen inches long when open. I snatched them
up, drawn to the unusual length. I wanted to use the whole breadth of
the open page with a continuous image for this altered book.
I scanned the pictures and resized them using
Photoshop. I had to make sure that the scale of the houses matched
each other. I copy and pasted the houses side by side and printed
them out on some 11" X 16" paper so that they came out in a single
strip. It probably would have been much easier to just print them on
8 1/2" X 11" paper and glue them close together, but I liked the
challenge of making the 14" image.
I carefully trimmed my house print-outs and
covered both sides with Golden fluid gloss acrylic medium. I found a
lot of images of children from another Dover book called Children:
A Pictorial Archive. I tried to find images of children that were
drawn in a similar style. Again, I scanned and resized these images
so that they would be in a similar scale and would appear to dwarf
the houses. I repeated the process with the various fish, bird, and
butterfly images. I wanted those to be very large in comparison to
everything else on the page. All of the images were printed out and
covered on both sides with the medium. I also covered the backgrounds
I did have some problems at the gutter of each page. Despite my desire for a continus string of houses across each spread, I feel that it would have been better to cut the image in two at the gutter so the page could open and close more smoothly. I would also have avoided having crucial elements, such as the girl's face or a fish's tail, lying across the gutter; opening and closing this altered book puts too much stress on those images.
On the outside of the book, I first cut off the
cardboard spine. The book had swollen so much that it was now
impossible to close. I covered the spine with a piece of Tyvec. I
then covered the gessoed front and back covers with tissue paper
which had been printed with architectural drawings. After that I
mixed up a paste of acrylic gel medium and Liquitex's glass beads
medium. Then I used a palette knife to smooth the mixture onto the
front cover. It took a long time to dry, but when it did, I flipped
the book over and put some on the back. After that was dry, I sponged
shades of green, blue, and then gold on top, letting each color dry
before applying the next.
This altered book was originally eight pages long, but
I was turning it into a book with three double page spreads. I always
glue the pages together last, just in case I want to add something. I
was glad I did that this time because I got the idea to add some
colored wire embellishment along the top. This is Artistic Wire which
is soft and easy to bend and comes in beautiful colors. I used pliers
and a dowel to create the shapes and then I taped them to the back of
the page until I was sure it looked just right. The next-to-last
thing I did was use acrylic gel to glue all the remaining altered book pages
together. I used clothespins to hold the pages together while the
On the evening that I finished the artwork, but
before everything had been assembled, I was just staring at the
piece, thinking. And then all at once, the words for the poem flowed
into my brain and out through my pencil. I looked at the poem, fully formed
on the page, and found that I only had to tweak one or two things to
get it to flow. I almost feel that I didn't write the poem; it came
too easily. I think that it wrote itself. I had spent so much
time creating this altered book in my brain before actually finding the time
make it real. Divine inspiration.
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© 2013 :: Karen J. Hatzigeorgiou
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