Project: Altered Book

I’ve taken on another job (unofficially) for the fall, so with teaching at three separate institutions, I’m allowing myself some real time this summer to explore my creative side. I’ve wanted to do an altered book for awhile now, but have been daunted by a number of different things.  First, I’m a bibliophile, and the idea of “altering” a book, kinda weirds me out, to be honest.  But, I picked up this 1953 historical romance Seed of Mischief (now THERE’s a title) in a box marked “FREE” on the street, so it isn’t as though I’m playing around with a first edition of War and Peace.  This was going to be an inspiration journal a la Donna Downey, but it has since morphed into something else.



What you see here is a combo of paper piecing and cutting (see detail shot below), and the flower was punched into the paper, I put paper on the back, and then put a distressed double layer flower on top with an indian bead center. “R” is my first initial (for those of you who thought my name is really Lyra). I backed the paper cutting and did the piecing with scraps.

detail of monogram

detail of monogram

I think I’ve decided that I’m going to work with the book itself–the narrative and, in these preliminary pages, the biographical material of the writer (that’s her on the left: Willa Gibbs). The book came with the original jacket, complete with the art that screams “1950s historical romance” so I’ve incorporated it here on page (ii). That, my friends, is “Jeanne of France, ”  the “lovely, tragic heroine.”  The slipcover talked a little bit about our author’s process, so I included that here as well.

CIMG8565Papers are all Marrakech (BasicGrey) scraps, and the brown ribbon is from Paper Source.

3 Responses to “Project: Altered Book”

  1. 1 Melanie July 1, 2009 at 4:07 am

    Ive never altered a book before, I have used pages on my layouts but never a book. It looks amazing Lyra.

  2. 2 Miss Sniz July 1, 2009 at 10:08 am

    That book is really neat! You did a great job with the monogram. When you talk about punching the paper, how did you do that? And did you use a stencil to cut out the “R” pieces? The author pages you did were awesome. Are you going to leave the actual novel the way it is, or are you going to alter that too? The whole thing is fascinating to me!

    • 3 craftylyra July 1, 2009 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Miss Sniz,
      I hope if I reply here that you’ll get notification? Punching the paper? I just used a mini flower punch and well, you know, punched it. LOL. So I would have had a hole the shape of a flower, but I put paper on the back so it would show through and then layered two punch-outs over it.

      I used a stencil to draw the R and the little ornamental leaves and such. But because the stencil wasn’t metal, I didn’t want to risk damaging it, so I hand cut everything else. It was difficult because the paper is extremely brittle and liked to bunch (especially when I went against the grain). Cardstock is much more forgiving.

      My plan is to alter the entire thing…I’ll probably leave some pages virtually untouched (there are, after all, 248 pages!!), but I plan to truly “alter” the book, but in homage to the original. So these prelim pages are about the author–an unknown to me–and the rest will deal with the book. I’ll try to artistically represent the narrative, basically–illustrating within the text.

      Goodness. That was a long response. Sorry about that! Thanks for your interest! I probably won’t post every single page up here on my blog, but I do have a separate gallery for it over at Hope this link works:

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June 2009

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