Altered Book Page Ideas ~ As the Earth Turns
Summer ~ Page 1Remember the piece of yellow Tyvec I was going to use a couple of pages ago?Well, I ended up using it in a completely different way on this spread. Previously, I had cut a piece of Tyvec that would cover a double page spread from a USPS priority mail envelope. I crinkled it up really good and then opened it up again and smoothed it down. I used different colors of yellow ink and painted the Tyvec and let it dry.
The first thing I did for “Summer” was to remove the two book pages that I wanted to decorate from the book using an Exacto blade and cutting very close to the gutter. I then used the document repair tape to reconnect the pages in the middle. I had to remove the pages so I could sew onto them with my sewing machine. I cut a window in the Tyvec where I wanted the chapter title to show through, only I measured wrong and the window was off-center. Drats! I fixed this by using some extra scraps of the painted tyvec and gluing then over the opening to fix the size. You can’t really see this faux pas unless you look really closely. But hey, that’s what I meant to do.
I then glued the Tyvec onto the pages, weighted it down, and dried it with a heat tool. I’m terribly impatient about things like that. The rest of the page was just a matter of sewing. I used a double needle and yellow thread in the bobbin. I kept alternating the colors of the threads, and I made sure to leave threads hanging when I cut them at the end of a “seam.”
When all the stitching was done, I trimmed the threads so that there would be a colorful fringe around the edges of the book, and then I used gel medium to glue the whole thing back into the book. As I’m looking at the pages now, I’m noticing that the Tyvec page has not adhered that well to the book page, so I’m going to have to shove a little gel medium in there an weight the book down again.
Summer ~ Page 2
Because the previous page was so neat and orderly, I wanted this one to look a little messy and rough. I’m not sure how I feel about it yet; it’s quite a bit different from most of my other pages. But I really like the look of the strawberries. The green shadowing through the reds and pinks of the berries looks very cool. I wanted the gauze to be reminiscent of a fence across the pasture, but I think it might look too dark. This may have to be one of the pages that just grows on me with time. Or maybe I’ll never learn to really like it very much. That’s just the way it goes, I guess. It is what it is.
In the afternoons Margaret went into the field behind the house and picked strawberries. They grew thick there by the fence and along the ditches, places where it did not break the grass for her to walk; in the corner by the pasture the small, wild plants made a bed as if they had been planted, and she could sit down and pick quietly, holding back the leaves with one hand and snapping off the berries with the other, dropping them into a blue-banded lard pail.
The first thing I did was take a piece of artist’s tape and cover up the text on the page to protect it.
I tore little pieces of Spectra tissue paper in different shades of blue and put them in a pile. I was going to cover the sky portion of the page with them, but after I laid them down with the liquid acrylic medium, I didn’t think it was very interesting. So while the tissue was still damp with medium, I used my handy-dandy tweezers and lifted the tissue paper off. I did it a little roughly so that some of the tissue would tear off and stay on the book. I also used the brush that I was using to apply the medium to the tissue, to pull some of the color off the tissue and spread it on the page. I applied the light blue colors, and then I wanted to add some dark blue dye. But when I tried to get the dark blue to bleed into the light blue, the dye color wouldn’t come off. I think it’s because there was medium on top of the page which formed a barrier which kept the tissue from bleeding into the paper. So I glued some pieces of blue tissue around the sky instead. I repeated the tissue paper process with the green pastures as well.
For the strawberries, I tore different shades of red tissue into rough strawberry shapes. I glued those down on the page. When they dried, I used a speedball pen and the F&W inks to outline the strawberries and draw the vines, caps, and seeds. I then glued some green tissue for the leaves and outlined those with ink as well.
I used some brown ink to dye the gauze brown. After it dried, I used the medium to glue it across the page. I was surprised when some of the brown ink bled off the gauze. Maybe I didn’t let it dry long enough. I used a rag to wipe the brown away. I then took crayons and filled in some of the bare spaces around the edges with other shades of blue. I also used some red crayon to shade the pink strawberries.
- If I paint ink on piece of tissue that doesn’t have medium over it, the ink bleeds like crazy. Duh!!
- If I want the tissue to bleed onto the page, then I have to be careful not to spread the acrylic medium on too freely. The tissue dyes won’t bleed onto the medium.
- I was surprised to discover that the F&W inks will lift/bleed when medium is applied to them. I thought since they were acrylic based that this wouldn’t happen.
Summer ~ Page 3
I went with my husband and two children to my parents’ house for Christmas and took As the Earth Turns and my new board book, Astronomer’s Apothecary, so they could see the latest pages. On my second day there, I found a little collection of art supplies my father had discovered in a box in his garage. There were some ancient looking ChartPak markers, colored pencils, and the “plastic art colors” which looked suspiciously like generic crayons. I had been toying with the idea of including sunflowers in my “Summer “chapter but hadn’t exactly come up with a way to use them. As I looked at these old art supplies left over from my childhood, I suddenly felt inspired.
I grabbed the crayons, found a pair of scissors and a glue stick, got my book, and headed for an unoccupied table. I started coloring and cutting and gluing. My two nieces sat beside me and started coloring too. My sister, mother, and brother-in-law pulled out the Scrabble board and started a game. When I complained about the lack of light on that gloomy gray afternoon, another sister found a floor lamp in back room and plugged it in beside me.
The next day, I went to a little strip mall down the road from my parents’ house. I am embarrassed to say that had never noticed that there was a yarn shop, a bead store, a used bookstore, and a Beverly’s Craft and Fabric store there! I found the yarn that I used at the bottom of the page and some lovely buttons that I ended up not using. So not only did I get to spend the holidays with my whole family, but I got to do art and shop too. It can’t get much better than that!!
I have already marked the pages in this chapter that have words and phrases for potential poetry, so when I needed pages for the sunflower petals, I cut out ones that hadn’t been marked. I used the “plastic art colors” in shades of yellow and orange to color the torn out book pages. Then I cut petals from the pages . . . lots of petals. I changed the way I cut them to create petals with the text going in two different directions.
I colored the background pages with green crayons. I made the borders on the outside edges by doing a rubbing from the top of a huge cookie tin that my dad bought at Costco. Of course, I had to eat a few cookies along the way to fortify the creative process.
I used a glue stick to glue the petals on the pages. I originally made the flower centers by coloring text pages brown, cutting them in strips, and then weaving them together. I cut out circles from this paper weaving and glued them on the center of the flowers. But a couple days later, when I got back home, I found I didn’t like them very much. The page looked too flat. So I tore the centers off the page and tried something else.
I wanted that dark textured center that you see in sunflowers, so I cut some circles from text paper using deckle edged scissors. I mixed up a combination of heavy gel gloss, glass beads medium, and a couple shades of brown, ocher, and black acrylic paints until it was a dark, gloppy pile. I painted this mixture onto the paper circles. I took the flat end of a dowel and kind of “pounced” it in the paint to enhance the texture of the medium. I let these circles dry overnight.
The next morning, I looked at the circles again, and was a bit disappointed. The brown was too . . . brown. The color just didn’t have enough depth, and sad to say, (and hopefully you won’t be offended) but my flower centers looked too much like poop. However, I found a way to make the flower centers look better. I used some yellow and gold shades of oil pastels and rubbed them lightly over the paint. Then I used my finger and smeared the color around so it smooshed into the crevices and created highlights over the brown. I love the way it looks now.
The last thing I did was to couch the furry yarn onto the top and bottom of the pages.
- I should bring an altered book with me when I travel away from home. That way, if I’m feeling inspired and can manage it, I can work on my art while I’m there.
- It might be a good idea to make a little traveling art case with a few art essentials for creative emergencies while I’m away from home, like when I’m lying awake at night and artsy ideas are swimming through my brain.