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altered books-what are they?


From: San D (kprs_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Dec 04 2004 - 07:53:50 PST

Simply put:

You take a book (preferably one that you don't want to read any more), and
look at it as the vehicle for a work of art. It has a cover and pages that
you can use as the 'parts'. The pages, the covers, and the end sheets are
essentially become 'blank' (even though you have words on the already). As
the artist you take those pages, and by either gessoing over them, or
painting over them, or collaging over them, embellishing, adding, popping
stuff off,etc, you make art on them. (Keep in mind you CAN keep the words
and images in your work that already exist on the pages too)

The final finished product (pages, cover and endsheets) becomes the piece of

Now, when I do it with my students, I have them start with a "big idea" for
the book, (i.e. a thesis statement). They are then challenged to make the
cover to represent that idea, as well as each 'double page' spread in the
book. When I do it in the class, we 'round robin' the books through the
entire class over the semester between the other projects (as a 'I'm
finished' filler). We all do the covers FIRST, and have a set deadline. They
also have to do the endsheets as well, along with the cover, and provide a
signing page on one of the endsheets so that as each of the other students
do their double page spread (in response to the theme established on the
cover by the FIRST and OWNER artist of the book), they sign in on the
signing page.

Round robin simply means the book gets passed from artist to artist each
doing a double page spread on the THEME established. So when the book is
done it has all students work in each book in response to the variety of
themes the covers represent.

My students are high school students, and this is a great art student
bonding experience. They each take their and other kid's books with them to
portfolio reviews and interviews, showing the pages they did as well as
their colleagues. It's been a hit with all recruiters.

Hope this all helps. If not email me privately and I'll try again.

San D