Altered Book Journal ~ Art of Happiness


Altered Book Journal ~ Art of Happiness

Altered Book Journal ~ The Art of Happiness

I found the book The Art of Happiness by John Cowper Powys (1935) at a barn sale near my father’s home in the summer of 2004. I think I paid $3 for it, which was pretty expensive by my usual standards. In my mind, I pictured a book of bright colors and themes that reflected the cheeriness of the title. I decided it would be a place for me to experiment and play with color. I had a file folder full of interesting color combinations that I had pulled out of magazines, so I decided to use a square punch and select one square of color for each page. I would build my artwork around the designs and colors from that square. That was my intention, and it became the process that I used, for the most part, although the poetry always came first.

Altered Book Journal ~ Art of Happiness

But this book became more to me than just a way to break free of my own color limitations. The text of the book itself lead me down a different path. That’s how it become more of an altered book journal than just an altered book.

In the four years that I intermittently worked on it, I found that the words I chose for the found poetry and the scrap of color I selected for my palette were totally intertwined with my mood and frame of mind on a particular day.

The author, John Powys’ own view of the world and how we achieve happiness did not create a very pretty picture at all. In fact, in the first two chapters, he tends to wallow in the despair that we sometimes feel when happiness appears to be eluding us. I was hoping that he was using contrast as a literary device and would eventually describe a way for us to lift ourselves out of discouragement. Eventually, I became skeptical about his ability to do that. I would say that the way I altered the book  actually provided a much more positive spin on the world than Mr. Powys did.

The Art of Happiness is sometimes a book of sadness, disillusionment, and discontent. Still, it’s important to note that it is also a book with an underlying current of optimism. Over the years it became much more of an altered book journal than I ever intended.


The Art of Happiness

The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness
The Art of Happiness

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