Altering a Book, Step by Step, I

Test Page: Golden's Fluid Acrylics, Penstix 3013 EEF (0.3mm) Pen

I've taken off the book shelves half a dozen books trying with some desperation to arouse my own inner creative child. It wasn't until I picked up Gabe Cyr's book "New Directions in Altered Books," that the juices started flowing and the seeds ripening.

Now years after a promise to do a step by step process for my friend, Suzanne Cannon, of Quietfire Design, I may have the patience, equipment and space to fulfill that commitment.

Selecting the book may be the cornerstone of altering. It has to be big enough for a single or double spread (across the two facing pages); small enough not to overwhelm and have a binding and paper that will hold up to wet and dry medium. Old books are fine; new books are great, but the binding itself has to have enough elasticity for all medium and for page removal.

Two years ago I selected a hard copy of "The Final Days" and immediately started to prepare several pages with gesso, fluid acrylic medium and ground. To strengthen the pages I will use gel medium to adhere pages to each other, front and back. The insert of photographs in a single folio will carefully be removed and as the book develops it is likely that other pages will be carefully scored out of the binding.

Because I did the preparation while on the road the gesso, in particular, did not set and several of the pages were hard to separate and therefore ripped. Rather than abandoning those pages I intend to use them to stretch my imagination.

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