Thursday, August 16, 2007

Altered Books - some thoughts

In the process of gathering materials for my next altered book, it occured to me that there are many types of altered books. There are those who rely on techniques such as structural changes (tearing, cutting, niches, shapes, etc.) , those who make eye candy (using images and colors to create an object of beauty - a feast for the eyes), those who use altered books for journaling or for scrapbooks, or found text, or those who work more like I do, as an artist/anthologist. I have given myself that title now and may just add that to my business cards.

My next book (food poisoning) will be an anthology. The research and gathering process is so seductive and enriching (reminds me of working in the library) that sometimes that's as far as I get with a project. It will have two common threads weaving it together. Odd food experiences, and Shakespeare's voice. I'm never happy with just one thread. I usually like to aim for three and by the time this altered book is developed, it may have that many. I self impose a limit of three, feeling that more is not better, it is simply distracting and confusing. Although if I were to do a book on improvisational jazz, it would have many voices or threads.

After this food book, I plan on doing an Anthologie of Anthology definitions. I have exactly the right book to use. I'm also currently working on a found text altered book, in a small book about gambling. How bizarre is that! I am finding poetry in it!

After that I have some interesting titles to pursue - Altered States (to be about mental health issues such as phobias or about morphing art images), Small Vices (which might be about smoking, chocolate and an unnamed third surprise vice), and The Gossamer Cord ( which might be about relationships) - to name just a few. I have yet to do the book on Aging that I have been researching.

For years before I retired from the library, I told everyone I was going to work on an anthology of chickens - in art, poetry, advertising, music, cartoons, etc. I have yet to do this, although I am collecting materials and someday, it will hatch when it passes the incubation period.

Whatever type of altered book you choose to work on - it will become your own creation, and may be a mix of the styles. Or, you may develop a new style all your own. I wish you happiness in creating. Janene

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