Friday, January 30, 2015

What Lies Beneath?

I am starting a Dark-themed AB RR next month (one of three I am participating in presently).  After a lot of back and forth, I finally decided on my theme:  "What Lies Beneath?"  I like the many meanings this theme has.  Things are not always as they seem.  

To get the players thinking about this, I created this list of prompts to encourage them to dig deep and explore things that lie below the surface.   Is it a mask or facade that hides something dark and sinister?  Is it an illusion that tricks you into seeing something that you're not?  Is there a secret that you keep?  Do you struggle to keep your true emotions in check?  Do you hold back because of a fear you have?  Ask yourself:  What lies beneath?

The other week, I was watching a movie called "an Unfinished Life."  In this movie, Jennifer Lopez plays a battered woman who finally gets up the courage to leave her abusive relationship.  She tells a friend "You wanna know the ugly little truth?  You stay because you think you don't deserve any better, 'cause you think it's the best you can do."  I created this set of pages around those words.

I printed the image onto deli paper which is translucent enough to reveal the text of my book.  I really like this effect.

I blended the torn edges of the deli paper with black acrylic paint to make a cohesive two-page spread.  I then used cut out words--ransom note style--to symbolize how the battered partner in a toxic relationship is a hostage, a prisoner to their abuser.

Friday, January 23, 2015


I am beginning a new AB round robin today.  After completing Lisa Vollrath's "Year of Altered Books" class last year, she invited a few of the class members to join her in a round robin.  I am excited to work with a group of artists I have never played with before!

The theme I chose for my book is "Portals."  I created a sort of tunnel book for my introduction and wrote a series of prompts around the different sized openings.  For my initial spread, I wanted to try this pop-up design I had made once before in another AB.  I just love the look of it when you first open the book.  For some reason, it always reminds me of the Twilight Zone:  "You are traveling through another dimension..."  It will be fun to see how the other artists in this new RR will interpret my theme.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Boiled Books

I spent Martin Luther King Day making more boiled books with friends.  Look at the gorgeous patterns, textures and colors Mother Nature gifted me with!

I used to prefer working with the smaller sized books made from a 9 x 12 sheet of 140 lb watercolor paper (accordion fold).  This time, I took a 22 x 30 sheet of 140 lb watercolor paper and folded it down to 5 1/2 x 7 1/2.  This larger size page allowed me to use larger leaves that I would not have been able to experiment with in the smaller books.  I am really loving this larger size page!

I finished my covers with these beautiful handmade papers my sister-in-law brought back for me from her recent trip to Thailand.  The texture and colors of these papers complimented the organic feel of my boiled books just perfectly!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

From the Mundane to the Sublime

 Have you heard the story of a man who started with a single red paperclip and through a series of trades, ended up with a house?  Well, it's a true story.  The lucky guy's name is Kyle MacDonald and his story is the inspiration behind the spread I created this month in Su's "From the Mundane to the Sublime" book.

Kyle wrote about each of his trades on his blog.  As I read the stories behind each transaction, I decided the best way to tell his story was using a meandering book.  Each trade could be revealed as the meandering book unfolded.

I selected the key images from Kyle's blog to tell a visual story.  Su's book is not that big, so the images had to be sized down.  I then had to select which style meandering book would best compliment this story and how it unfolded.  I chose a simple meandering (accordion style) book that had 16 panels.  

Logistically, it was a bit of a challenge to figure out where the story would start and end.  In order for the book to unfold in the least complicated way, this story begins in the upper right hand corner.  From there, the book unfolds one panel at a time to reveal the next trade.  I added text to the images to help tell the story, but the blog contains many more details that are worth reading.   You can read more here: