Guest Author - Carol Taller
Altered Books Workshop by Bev Brazelton is a wonderful collage of techniques and ideas that can be used for altering books. The book is a beautiful collection of work, with each page looking like a work of art. It is an easy book to read that is lots of fun to look at. The techniques are explained in simple format with photos to lead you through each step.
The book is divided into four chapters: Getting Started, Basic Techniques, Intermediate Techniques, and Creative Techniques.
Getting Started covers the topics of What is an Altered Book, Tools and Materials, Choosing a Book, Developing a Theme, and The General Process. I liked the photo of each tool so that you could recognize it when shopping. Several tools, mostly adhesives, were unfamiliar to me and I plan to try them soon.
The basic techniques section covers collaging, stitching, cutting doors, cutting windows, adding tags, folding pages, and adding inserts. Rubber stamping on tags is one of the many wonderful samples used in this section. These are so much fun and add so much character to the page! Pages are filled with variations and tips, and the art work on each page deserves the time to be studied.
The intermediate techniques include cutting shadowboxes, glazing, adding texture, collaging covers, and cutting covers. Cutting shadowboxes and covers was fascinating to learn. The easy to follow directions with photos makes the procedure sound easy enough for anyone to succeed doing, but the final results look like an experienced artist was involved. Brazelton suggests gluing your pages together before you begin cutting out the shadowbox. When the glue dries, you use a craft knife and change blades often to achieve the cut out that you are looking for. She recommends that you cut the whole area and not worry about how clean your edges are until you are done. Then you can go back and clean up the pages. You can then fill your cut out area with little trinkets to create 3-D collaged art.
If you are the type of person that likes to read a book from the front to the back, without sneaking a peek at the end, you may find it hard with this book. The last chapter is creative techniques. This chapter covers designing with words, adding drawers, hanging embellishments, adding fiber and beads, transferring images, and adding pop ups. I was most excited by adding drawers. A cut out can be made (similar to the shadowbox cut out) on the edge of the papers, and a small matchbox can be inserted in the cut out with a little button to pull the box out with. Inside the box you can put a short message or a small trinket. It is amazing to see, and what a surprise for the viewer!
This book achieved its goal. Not only did I enjoy reading and looking over each page, but it made me want to alter a book immediately.