We're all mad here.
Sewing would be the obvious pastime for me, but alas! I am woefully short on fabric, notions and ephemera to work on a project and there is no place to get what I need as everything is shut. This caused me a great amount of grief the first few weeks of sheltering-in-place and I really need (and I mean REALLY NEED) a project or my mental health suffers.
I dug around in my craft room and stumbled up a project idea that I had started but abandoned before we moved to Wales. For nearly six years this project has languished in a box with a folder full of scrappy notes and scribbles. I had done extensive prep on the project and then had abandoned the preparatory work three-quarters of the way through because we were moving to Wales. The notes at the beginning were detailed and became not much more than a furiously scribbled word or two by the end. There was much work to do on this project...but also much work that had already been done.
Normally I rely on coming up with my best ideas during the Dreamtime. Every novel or short story or art project I have ever done has come to me in a lucid dream which I dutifully transcribe the next day. Right now, my lucid dreams are nightmares about our bathroom flooding and an alligator swimming in to try to eat me or worse, dreams about people I love dying. Right now, I need a project where a great deal of the thinking is done for me.
So what am I doing? I am illustrating a book of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Anyone who knows me, knows I collect Oz memorabilia. Whole swathes of our house are dedicated to my collection of Oz books (they have their own bookshelf), Oz artwork (we own several drawings from Skottie Young's brilliantly illustrated version of Oz done by Marvel Comics as well as a fabulous painting of poppies by Kevin Chunisingh) and my Oz Barbie Dolls. Yes I have Oz Barbie Dolls. You mean you don't??
I am making an Altered Book. According to Wikipedia:
An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book from its original form into a different form, altering its appearance and/or meaning.
Some people might think this is blasphemy, but I prefer to think of it as creativity and upcycling.
Some people let their text show through and paint and collage directly on the page, but I decided that I wanted to make the pages a white canvas with just a hint of lettering showing through . Some of this was because the book I chose was a charity shop cookbook so didn't want the food stuff to get in the way of my ideas.
If you google Altered Book, you get loads of ideas. The prep work I did was:
1. Choose a book that the pages were sewn in and not glued.
2. Remove every other page carefully with an exacto knife.
3. Glue pages back to back to strengthen your canvas.
4. Cover each page with a layer of acrylic gesso or other white medium.
5. Start painting and collaging each page.
Here is me finishing painting gesso on the last few pages of the book. Thankfully, Steps 1-3 were already done, so i just had to finish covering the last 8 pages with gesso then dry each page well with a hair dryer.
|Look closely and you can see an Oz tattoo on my right wrist|
I will be posting pictures of my page by page progress as i illustrate one of my favourite books of all times. If you only know the 1939 film, hold onto your silver slippers (not ruby!) as this will introduce you to the most amazing, inventive stories and characters that you have ever seen.