Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Great Altered Book Idea

I have to write my idea down before I forget it.

I have for about a year now wanted to make an altered book based on Ocean Life. All manner of sea creatures and the world beneath the water. I have bought and hoarded many things from stickers to papers to little gems and shells. I even have a book that's rather large in size, if not in great thickness, that I thought I would use. But I have run up against a problem or two.

Problem One: I think in my excitement I've hoarded TOO much stuff. I know people say you can't have enough stuff, but when I get too much stuff my vision becomes muddied. I get confused. Should I use this or that? My theme gets lost among all the glitter and bling and "oh, that would be perfect". As well, I end up using far too much "stuff" that seems commercial. I want to get away from using other people's stuff...designer stickers and patterned papers. I want to play with inks and stamps! I just know when I pull out my stash for this project, I'm going to feel overwhelmed and lose focus of how I want this to look.

Problem Two: I just had a wonderfully I-don't-even-know-if-I-can-do-this idea for it. In trying to figure out how to make this themed book in time to submit it to an art show, I came up with a quick way to do the book. As I pondered it, it looks really good in my head! The book I have, however, won't doesn't have the thickness I need. At least, I don't think it does. I haven't done measurements yet. My idea is not what I generally do for an altered book. But I like the idea. My idea is to carve out the inside of the book to make like a box, like a cigar box. The front cover is the lid. In the bottom of the "box" I glue all sorts of clear stones and pebbles, like you see in the floral aisle of the craft store. That becomes my ocean bottom. Then, using acetate I layer images between the pages of the book so when you look down, it's sort of 3-D. The very top piece of acetate will be stained blue/green with some wavy type texture to it. Ooooh, wait...I just had another idea!

Original Idea: I would (at this point) seal the sides of the book so that all the pages stuck together and formed a solid box. The acetate would be sealed in with it. When you lift the lid of the book/box, you can peer down into the depth.

Revised Idea: I thought later, "what if I could incorporate a light in there?". Somehow take a little string of Christmas lights and hide the battery pack within the pages of the book (that will be clumped up on a "wall" of the book/box). Like carve out a little space off to the side or even underneath it all, if I get a thick enough book, to contain the battery pack. Then, through a small slit run the lights along the bottom with the clear pebbles. I could even cut a space in the side of the pages/compartment on the outside so you can flip the switch on and off. Problem is that it would have to be removeable so when the batteries need to be replaced, you could access them. Maybe a little drawer to hold the battery compartment? You'd just pull it out from the book and flip the switch? Hmmm...this is sounding rather complicated.

New Idea: Rather than making the book an actual box, I could stick the pages together in bunches. Each section would begin with the acetate piece that contributes to the 3-D effect. But if the page bundles aren't attached to one another, you could flip through the layers of the book; essentially diving down into the water. With this, I could effectively "hide" certain images under others and then there would be some surprises as you flipped through the book. And with a lot of images layered one on the other, there would be ample space for plenty of surprises. You might not even see straight to the bottom until you peeled back a few layers. Problem is that I'm not sure how well the pages will turn if the bundles are glued together. jackbear did something like this, and I think his pages turn okay, it's just that there is no give in them. I'd have to make sure they are secured well into the binding.

All these ideas are tempting. I like the first one since it's making the book into something else. The book essentially becomes a diorama. I like the second one because you add a touch of light into it and the pebbles would reflect it so well up onto the acetate layers. I like the third one because it's more interactive. You get the whole picture like in the Original Idea but then you get to dissect it and find new things in it. And I love to put in such hidden things with altered books.

I'm really leaning toward the New Idea. Remember.

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