Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Openings & Closings

I do not sew.  So I can't explain why, when it came to working in this book (themed Openings & Closings), my mind immediately thought of zippers.  I did like the idea of zippers being able to open and close.  Then I decided that I wanted to be able to attach, detach and even re-attach the pages with zippers.  Okay, but what to do with the rest of the book pages?

Enter the idea of found poetry.  (Found poetry also happens to be a topic in this month's lessons in Lisa Vollrath's A Year of Altered Books class.  Coincidence?  I think not).  I decided to go through the words of the book pages and circle the words that related to "open" and "close."  Since this was a book on gardening, there were not many literal references.  I was forced to expand my definition of open and close in order to find enough words to make this piece work.  For open, I chose words like grow, bloom, window, illuminating, etc.  For close, there was dormancy, blind, cornered, nonblossoming.  You get the picture.

If you google found poetry or look on Pinterest, you will see a lot of doodling in and around the found poetry words.  This inspired me to take out my barely-used Micron pens and to try my hand at doodling for the very first time.  Don't laugh.  A friend recently gave me a Zenspirations book which gives step-by-step instructions on how to doodle which I found extremely helpful.

As you can see, the found poetry words got lost in the busy-ness of the doodles and other text on the page.  I felt that highlighting them would make them stand out more.  I used green highlighter for the "open" words and pink highlighter for the "close" words.

My spread begins with a two-page spread in the book itself.  I then took two loose pages and attached them to the pages in the book with separating zippers creating a four-page spread.  I then folded the two outer pages in toward the gutter of the book and attached a third zipper.  This is how the spread looks zipped closed:

This is how the spread looks when the center zipper is unzipped open to reveal the four-page spread inside:

This photo shows the two loose pages removed and re-attached to each other by zipper:

The loose pages really are interchangeable!  Right side, left side, front or back, you decide!



Close ups of the found poetry, doodling and highlighting:

Monday, May 26, 2014

Inchies Chunky Pages

After a quick trip to the hardware store, I had the idea for my inchie-themed chunkies.  I know it looks like I raided the paint chip section of Home Depot, but I managed to get what I needed without making a dent in their supply.

There is a total of 60 inchies for each of my pages.  It was about all I could fit on the 4" x 4" page.  Needless to say, I was so happy that I had a 1" square punch for this project!  As I started punching each of the inchies, I feared that I would get the pieces mixed up if I didn't label them.  So, I actually took the time to label each of these pieces on the back so I could be sure they were in the proper sequence before I glued them down.  I also made sure to work on just one page at a time, punching as I went.  It was extremely time consuming, but well worth the time.  Otherwise, all it would take was a huge gust of wind to clear off my work table and I would not know where to begin! 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Another AB RR comes to an end...


This is the culmination of nearly two years' worth of creativity, inspiration and pure love!  18 books, 18 different themes, 19 talented artists, 1 awesome hostess (thank you, Debbie!), spanning 6 states and beyond...RIP Lori.

I absolutely LOVE how my book (Alchemy) came out.  I am happy that people were inspired by my theme and it really showed through in their work!

I already have my theme picked out for my next book.  The AB RR doesn't start up again until August, so I have a few months to prepare my book.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Visual Incongruities and Conundrums

Believe it or not, I had nearly two years to think about what I would do in this book.  Yet when my turn finally came (and of course, I was the very last person to work in the book), I had absolutely no idea what to do.

Visual Incongruities...things that don't appear to go together...My initial idea was to take a very recognizable work of art and to insert images of people from different centuries into the same scene.  You know, Da Vinci's "Last Supper" where Marilyn Monroe was dining with Jesus and Abraham Lincoln, etc.  Or, look around Edward Hopper's "Nighthawks" diner and see Elvis, William Shakespeare and Aristotle seated at the same counter.

To my dismay, this idea of mine was not new.  Just Google these paintings and you will be surprised how many different parodies are out there.  The gang from Sesame Street, the Warner Brothers cartoon characters--even a dozen Ronald McDonalds have been in the Last Supper.  The Simpsons, the Star Trek characters, the Star Wars cast and countless others have all been to the "Nighthawks" diner.  Back to the drawing board...

I then thought about placing well-known landmarks in the most unlikely of places:  The Eiffel Tower, Big Ben and the Hollywood sign at the foot of the Pyramids in Egypt.  The Empire State Building and the Taj Mahal at the Grand Canyon.  Unfortunately, this idea proved to be too great of a composition challenge for me and I soon abandoned it.

Eventually, after culling through several famous works of art, I decided I would combine elements from different paintings and create a new one of my own.  Edvard Munch's iconic "The Scream" was the perfect starting point.  I asked myself, why is he screaming?  What is he reacting to?

Enter Frida Kahlo.  Racked by excruciating pain, she painted several self-portraits that depicted the tremendous pain she endured toward the end of her life.  I was particularly drawn to the self-portrait titled "The Broken Column" in which she sees herself encased in a cage-like body brace that exposes her broken ionic [spinal] "column."  That can be a rather frightening image.  Of course, I had to include snippets of Dali's "The Persistence of Memory"--better known as the melting clocks.

I think the colors in each of these paintings became a unifying force.  I played with all of these elements to form a new composition.  When I was happy with the layout, I made a color copy and then created a gel transfer which gave it almost a canvas-like texture.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the finished product appeared rather seamless and not so pieced together--almost as if it was an original work of art!