Book Review - Altered Books Workshop
By Bev Brazelton
2004, North Light Books
Altered Books Workshop: 18 Creative Techniques for Self-Expression by artist Bev Brazelton shows you how to turn old, discarded books into personalized works of art. It’s a wonderful introduction to the art and craft of altered books, as the author first explains what an altered book is, how to choose a book to alter, what tools and supplies you’ll need, how to develop a theme for your altered book, and the general process of altering a book.
She then walks you through 18 different techniques that range from basic to intermediate to creative. These techniques include collaging, stitching, folding, cutting doors and windows, creating shadow boxes, and adding tags and inserts. You’ll also learn how to use glazes, add texture with ink or paint, incorporate the words in the book into your design, transfer images from a photocopy, add a pop-up, and spiff up your work with embellishments like fiber, beads, eyelets and buttons. A fun lesson shows you how to add drawers to your book to hold treasures like notes or tiny found objects. Techniques on how to alter the book covers are also explained, such as how to effectively collage a cover and how to cut an opening through it.
That’s not all. The author also provides variations for each of the techniques, and shows how you can apply the same principles to different pieces of art. The techniques are explained clearly and are amply illustrated with color photos, while the variations are shown as finished products with brief descriptions explaining how they were made.
Little tip boxes are sprinkled throughout the book, and give helpful advice on how to get the best results for the technique being discussed.
There’s also a one-pager at the end of the book that talks about swapping your art. It offers a list of online resources that you can check out if you want to meet up with other altered book artists to swap artwork, trade supplies, or participate in collaborative projects.
To sum up, this book does what it sets out to do – to teach readers how to alter a book using methods that beginners can easily learn and advanced users can further develop to reflect their personal style. It’s definitely worth reading.
Note: This book was purchased with my own funds and is part of my personal library. I was not compensated for this review in any way.
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