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Old 06-16-2005, 08:50 PM   #1  
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Default Altered Books....I just don't get it.

I've been seeing a lot lately about altered books. It looks like an incredible amount of work and many, many, many hours in order to make one. While I do think they're beautiful, I just don't get it. I think of all the hours it would take to make one and all of the other projects I could do instead.

Can someone who loves making altered books tell me why. I'd love to be converted. And what do you do with them when you're finished?
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:07 PM   #2  
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I'm curious to know about these too. I see alot of people doing them on Livejournal and I don't get it either. Good question!
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:09 PM   #3  
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Heidi,
I must admit, I was thinking the same way before a friend of mine got me hooked on them. The one I did for the Dirty Dozen gallery was alot of work and it took me the whole entire month to make it. I made very few "personal" stamped items during this time.

However, I'm hooked. Why? well... because you can use them to tell a story, act as a scrapbook, give as a gift, keep as an expression of yourself and a topic you love...

They are really similar to paper bag books... only you don't have to construct the book yourself because its done for you. Why do people do paper bag books? For the same reasons above, I think.

I can tell you right now, that this month's altered book isn't the last one you'll see from me! I've started another one! I'm hooked!
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:15 PM   #4  
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I feel the same way. They are LOVELY and the one in the DD Gallery this month is FABULOUS but I have a problem defacing a perfectly good book....must go back to my childhood ("don't write in that book", "be careful with the pages", etc). Also, all that work and then what? Most I've see are not really scrapbooks...there aren't any photos in them. They are works of art but my creative time is sparse and precious to me so I'd rather use it to scrapbook or stamps things that I can really use. Just my opinion.......
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:18 PM   #5  
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I think Altered Books are made for the artist who creates just for the sake of creating. To me they are just another "canvas" to work on. I never give a thought to how much time I've spent on one because I'm never really concerned with the finish. I just like to play. They are also great for round-robin creating because there seems to be an endless supply of pages for your friends to add their work to.
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:44 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by JWheeler
I feel the same way. They are LOVELY and the one in the DD Gallery this month is FABULOUS but I have a problem defacing a perfectly good book....must go back to my childhood ("don't write in that book", "be careful with the pages", etc).
I used to think this way... then I was cured. I became a librarian! Its amazing how many books end up at 10 cent sales! Out of date info, etc. old textbooks... why not do something fun with 'em instead of trash 'em!
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:50 PM   #7  
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Omigosh!
I've just picked up several books to shred!
I have been making book boxes (like for keys and valuables) off and on, for ages and can't wait to make a stamped altered book!
I've been stamping for 2 years and I've been so excited I'm only getting to it now because I wanted everything to be perfect !!!!
I've also put off making my Homebirth Scrapbook so now I think I'm going to combine the two ESP. 'cause the 'Shredable' books are all old birth manuals that espouse the MEDICAL MODEL of birth over and above all other Birthing Models and in my personal life, I'm campaigning to offer women more universal information in this arena. So the beautiful scrapbook of our homebirth will be like a phoenix from the ashes of the "old ways" just like my journey !
Even if you think I'm a granola crunchin' zealot you've got to admit it's kinda perfect!!!
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Old 06-16-2005, 09:55 PM   #8  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by charming
Omigosh!
I've just picked up several books to shred!
I have been making book boxes (like for keys and valuables) off and on, for ages and can't wait to make a stamped altered book!
I've been stamping for 2 years and I've been so excited I'm only getting to it now because I wanted everything to be perfect !!!!
I've also put off making my Homebirth Scrapbook so now I think I'm going to combine the two ESP. 'cause the 'Shredable' books are all old birth manuals that espouse the MEDICAL MODEL of birth over and above all other Birthing Models and in my personal life, I'm campaigning to offer women more universal information in this arena. So the beautiful scrapbook of our homebirth will be like a phoenix from the ashes of the "old ways" just like my journey !
Even if you think I'm a granola crunchin' zealot you've got to admit it's kinda perfect!!!
OMG! How absolutely ironic and cool will this be! What a treasure and great story to put forth when your kids get older and see it! This is the perfect book for altering... old out of date useless info that you wouldn't want anyone using! Alter it to contain the info you want... AND you don't have to bind it! It's already bound!
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Old 06-17-2005, 02:07 AM   #9  
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I've never understood them either. If an artist is making one for herself, that's one thing, but most people you might give one to would look at it once and stash it away or toss it. I know I would! LOL (But I don't keep cards, either!) Too much work for me for that kind of outcome!
If I ever did do one, I'd use a child's board book, and I'd include photos. That wouldn't be as much work and would have more meaning for the recipient.
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Old 06-17-2005, 03:45 AM   #10  
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While I do appreciate them for their artistic value, I just haven't been able to get into the idea of doing one myself. I don't really know why, I just can't get jazzed about it, maybe I'll force myself to do one, then see if I change my mind.
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Old 06-17-2005, 03:48 AM   #11  
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I thought the same thing but altered books intrigued me a few years ago. I joined a round robin doing altered books with different themes. Each lady would write in some of their own rules (in their own books) "no nudes, no religion, anything goes, do not alter the covers of the book, etc etc" and we would choose themes for our own books. Mine was women-related. When I got mine back after several months, it was awesome!! It is just another piece of art to look at and appreciate. It sits on my bookshelf to take out and look at every now and then. I started doing another altered book with the theme of the ABC's. It was fun choosing magazine pictures or illustrations or things related to each letter of the alphabet. It's just the progress that is fun for me. I admit I haven't done anything with altered books in forever. Now I have been inspired to go back and look at my creations from long ago.
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Old 06-17-2005, 04:15 AM   #12  
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An altered book can be useful. Use one as a Technique Workbook.

See a new technique you'd like to try but don't want to use your CS? Use one of the pages in the book.

If it doesn't work or meet your satisfaction, rip it out. Not sure how to use a new gizmo? Try it in the Altered Book.

Found a moth-eaten sweater to unravel for fiber? See the effect on a book page instead of a nearly finished card.

New stamp? Instead of trying it out on scrap paper, use the book.

New layout? Try it in the book.

This would also give you a record of what works and what doesnt'.

And if it doesn't work, you can always cover it with a 'patch' and tell folks you meant for it to look that way.

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Old 06-17-2005, 06:18 AM   #13  
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Default I *love* to do altered books!

Yes, they are a great deal of work. And yes, there are *many* steps involved. However, I found that to get the most enjoyment out of doing them, I had to take a step back and exclude my "production line" mentality. Once I did that, I was fine.

See: for me, I don't do cards, I do scrapbook pages. (That's not to say that I *don't* make cards...I just prefer to scrap because it's very difficult for me to conceptualize cards.) And when I do, I tend to get out one particular stamp set and use it *ad nauseum* on several projects at a time. If I'm going to do a layout, why not make a few elements either for cards or future embellishments with the same set, the same colors, and a few small changes? Well, with ABs, it's a completely different mentality for me. See, I have tremendous amounts of *creative* talent, lots of *artistic vision*, and even a good sense of *conceptual balance* too. But I have no *artistic talent*...that is, I am unable to draw even a good circle without a template! The idea of me ever being able to sit down and draw a picture of a person, horse, or even a simple flower is just laughable! But the interest point for me is to find a good book with good art or photographic content and just embellish the heck out of it! I take the supplies that I have and turn a basically great book into a piece of art...not be overtaking the manufactured artistic elements, but using my skills and stamps and embellishments to complement them.

It's all about where we like to spend our time. And for me, it helps me work out *creativity issues* that teachers tried to poison me with as a child. I do them for a sense of accomplishment and to just get some of these crazy concepts and ideas out of my head. Then: I give them away because they're just too beautiful and too time consuming to risk one of my boys finding and disassembling them.... ~ K
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:37 AM   #14  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rainsong
An altered book can be useful. Use one as a Technique Workbook.

See a new technique you'd like to try but don't want to use your CS? Use one of the pages in the book.

If it doesn't work or meet your satisfaction, rip it out. Not sure how to use a new gizmo? Try it in the Altered Book.

Found a moth-eaten sweater to unravel for fiber? See the effect on a book page instead of a nearly finished card.

New stamp? Instead of trying it out on scrap paper, use the book.

New layout? Try it in the book.

This would also give you a record of what works and what doesnt'.

And if it doesn't work, you can always cover it with a 'patch' and tell folks you meant for it to look that way.

Rainsong

Rainsong, what an awesome idea! Gives a record of what works and what doesn't! Yes! You bet! This idea ROCKS! Off to the basement to find an old textbook to use as my technique book asap! Cool idea!
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Old 06-17-2005, 10:43 AM   #15  
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I've never done an altered book but it kills me to go in the local library and see all these books on the free table just waiting to be used.

So are some pages removed if youre adding to the book? Because I'm picturing a book that won't close once everyone has added to it with pictures etc.

Another question is do you ever cut the centers of the pages out and use it for a storage box? I figured that was what they were all about. I've never researched the idea behind them but I like the idea of a keepsake box as a gift.

Rox

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Old 06-17-2005, 11:12 AM   #16  
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Yes you do take out pages, and yes you can cut out areas. I don't think there is anything that hasn't been done yet to an altered book. Do a Google search on them and you will be amazed!
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Old 06-17-2005, 11:25 AM   #17  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rox71
I've never done an altered book but it kills me to go in the local library and see all these books on the free table just waiting to be used.

So are some pages removed if youre adding to the book? Because I'm picturing a book that won't close once everyone has added to it with pictures etc.

Another question is do you ever cut the centers of the pages out and use it for a storage box? I figured that was what they were all about. I've never researched the idea behind them but I like the idea of a keepsake box as a gift.

Rox
Yep, yep. Take out as many as you'd like, but try to space them so the book is balanced. The lumpier you plan to make it, the more pages you should remove.

Yes, storage box or you can simply make a niche in which you can place a 'surprise,' perhaps behind acetate, or sheer fabric, maybe MagicMesh. You can turn the niche into a window with curtains, shutters, etc.

I saw one the other day on Carol Duvall where the demonstrator cut a hole in the cover and inserted a dollhouse door. Thought the idea was neat so I looked up dollhouse doors on the internet. Son-of-a-guns are 'spensive! I think six bucks was the cheapest, but they were also the cutest--swing saloon doors!

My favorite altered book is one I covered the outside with silver, crinkled tissue paper. Really gives it a lovely old patina.

Oh, you can cut holes in the pages and have someone peeking out, fold down pages to make pockets, fold them like an accordian book, make pop-ups (great way to practice) and punch or as we used to say, bend fold and mutilate! And it still ends up interesting.

You can use them to journal and some folks do use them with family photos, but I'd suggest photo copies rather than the originals.

Tons of ideas to instrument and way cheaper than trying stuff on your good CS. I use a lot of scrap stuff in mine to work things out.

Edited to add--you can make 'drawers' using tiny match boxes too. Kust thought of something...glue several pages together, just a few. Then cut the pages immediately behind them, leaving a border all around and the first section could act as a lift up lid to the storage niche. Maybe a small bead as the knob?

Anyway, you get the idea. Anything goes.

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Old 06-17-2005, 11:31 AM   #18  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rox71
I've never done an altered book but it kills me to go in the local library and see all these books on the free table just waiting to be used.
]Rox
One other thing, Rox--I love books, always have. I not only love them, I respect the work an author puts into them and the illustrator/photographer, not to mention the editors, proofreaders and layout folks. So, to deface a book was really difficult for me, but then I figured, the people who owned the books originally didn't want them any longer. So, rather than toss them, they donated them to Goodwill/Salvation Army. By purchasing from organizations such as these, we contribute to a good cause, reduce the amount of garbage going to a landfill and reincarnate the book along the way. A 'second chance,' if you will.

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Old 06-17-2005, 12:13 PM   #19  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Rainsong
So, rather than toss them, they donated them to Goodwill/Salvation Army. By purchasing from organizations such as these, we contribute to a good cause, reduce the amount of garbage going to a landfill and reincarnate the book along the way. A 'second chance,' if you will.
Rainsong
Very well stated. Thanks Rainsong!
But I can still get them for free!!! And if it's free it's for me!!! You watch, as soon as I go looking for them on that free table, they'll all be gone. Just my luck!
Rox
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Old 06-18-2005, 04:24 PM   #20  
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I'm always looking for a whole set of encyclopedias with leather-look covers and gold edges, I'm obsessed really !
I'm not sure why exactly but I just know it'll come to me once they are here!
goin' garage sailin' all summer....if I don't find some, then I'll prob just go to value village!
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Old 06-18-2005, 04:38 PM   #21  
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Ok. Now I've got to try it. And I'm the kind that would start with a set of encyclopedias.
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Old 06-18-2005, 05:31 PM   #22  
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Default Poo! If I'd known that....

Quote:

Originally Posted by charming
I'm always looking for a whole set of encyclopedias with leather-look covers and gold edges, I'm obsessed really !
I'm not sure why exactly but I just know it'll come to me once they are here!
goin' garage sailin' all summer....if I don't find some, then I'll prob just go to value village!
I wish I'd known that yesterday, darn it! There was an entire set at a garage sale in *MINT* condition, about 40 years old. Probably 22 volumes total...they wanted $10 for all of them! It would have cost you lots more in shipping than that though...but still! Ugh!!! ~ K
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Old 06-18-2005, 09:37 PM   #23  
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Another idea from Carol Duvall last week was to cut a page and glue on a zipper which opens to a cut out behind.
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Old 06-18-2005, 09:41 PM   #24  
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Quote:

Originally Posted by KaylynConover
I wish I'd known that yesterday, darn it! There was an entire set at a garage sale in *MINT* condition, about 40 years old. Probably 22 volumes total...they wanted $10 for all of them! It would have cost you lots more in shipping than that though...but still! Ugh!!! ~ K
Check out the local thrift shops - the veteran's ones seem to have the most vintage stuff & best prices. I see deals like that all the time at the ones by me - sometimes it's a whole set, sometimes missing a volume or two.
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Old 06-19-2005, 04:11 AM   #25  
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I just love you guys!! Thanks for answering my question. I was never inspired by altered books, and frankly thought they were kind of stupid. But....that encyclopedia thing has me thinking. I'm going to have my Dad (a thrift store junkie) look for a set for me. I think that would be fun when I'm bored or find a good stamp set for a certain topic page, I'll just have to play. What a great thing for kids to look through.

Woo-hoo! One more thing I can stamp!
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