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you’re invited to “journeys and dreams” — my art opening at radio room

thursday, october 2nd
@ radio room on ne alberta.

in conjunction with my opening, i’ll also be hosting a benefit for children’s healing art project (CHAP), who is quite possibly the BEST (if not THE best) non-profit in the state. i’ll tell you more about them in a moment and how you can help, if you’re so inclined, whether you’re near or far.

alicia caudle art show at radio room on alberta
yesterday i hung all of the pieces for my show, sans a couple that i’ll be getting up in the next few days (long story but part of it includes me knocking a fragile assemblage off a table thus having to fix it — oops!).  my exhibit is comprised of 20 paintings, 2 dolls and 2 assemblages.  i’ll probably have 3 more assemblages and two more paintings by the event.  plus i’ll have a heap of small art prints and tiny framable paintings for those with a smaller art budget (like me).

during this whole process i’ve learned that i’m not very good at hanging, aligning things or making things look straight, even with the assistance of my sister.  but we got it done and i think it looks fantastic, even if there are a couple quirky misalignments and height discrepancies.

art exhibit, alicia caudle, journeys and dreams, radio room pdx, mixed media portraits

i forgot to take photos of the fourth wall, and part of the third, but you get the idea.  lots of art!  and yes, i’ve been bitten by the color bug — i’m loving color play as of late.

this piece, entitled “nothing really bothers her, she just wants to love herself” is my favorite.  if i recall, it’s 15×30″ — collage, acrylic, graphite and ink. i’ll try to get a better/head on photo during my opening.  she’s a great representation of my deep adoration of malformation, disproportion and things that don’t properly match (all my hands are absurdly small, for example, and look like they were drawn by a child — love kid art!).  it makes me happy.

nothing really bothers her she just wants to love herself by alicia caudle, radio room show

despite having just hung, and the opening not being until next week, i’ve already sold two pieces which has me ecstatic.  i am so grateful to be able share my art with people who enjoy it!  it too makes me happy — i’m pretty giddy right now, truth be told.  one gal messaged me on facebook after posting a couple of images and asked if she had to purchase it in person.  nope!

these are the two that have found new homes so far. “one raven girl“…

mixed media portrait, alicia caudle, journeys and dreams

and this piece, entitled “i can’t see the end of me“:

i can't see the end of me, mixed media portrait by alicia caudle

(clearly i’m still working on my photography skills.)

and here are a couple of close-up shots of two more pieces that are now available on the walls at radio room.  this piece is entitled “finding feathers on her medicine walk” and is highly inspired by my new shamanic pursuits. her eyes are my favorite, slightly askew and off kilter, over a slightly-too-small nose.  she’s 12×12″, collage, acrylic, pen/ink, graphite and water soluble wax pastels.

gathering feathers on her medicine walk, mixed media art portrait by alicia caudle

and “describing wisdom” — with a deer and an antler girl.  she’s 6×12″, collage, acrylic, ink, graphite, charcoal and water soluble wax pastels.


(i’m seriously going to beg some of my photography friends to take better photos because these are so embarrassing!)

and this is my 3d wall so far.  i’ll be adding additional pieces before the event.

assemblages and art dolls by alicia caudle

and now for the good stuff!

children's healing art project

children’s healing art project brings the healing power of art to children in crisis through a mobile team of teaching artists working in a partnership with hospitals, community organizations and schools. at CHAP, children are known for their creativity and ingenuity—not by their disease, diagnosis or disability. their innovative healing arts programs reach critically ill, chronically ill and disabled children (and their loved ones) with programs that strengthen, encourage and inspire.  i love all that they stand for and do in our community and as a result decided to host a benefit for them.  i am donating a 5% of all of my art sales during the opening night to them, and radio room is donating 15% of all food and drink sales during the event to them.  in addition, envelopes will be available to make direct cash donations and a big huge box will be out from now until october 30th to collect donated art supplies to CHAP and the children they serve.  they are always in need of sequins, model magic, beads and beading supplies, colored feathers, paints and brushes, non-toxic adhesives, collage papers, colorful pipe cleaners, blank t–shirts (kids sizes) and masking tape.

image copyright children's healing art project (CHAP)

image copyright children’s healing art project (CHAP)

and actually, scratch that.  it had originally been the plan to donate a portion of my sales to them from opening night only, but i’ve just changed my mind (looking at that precious painty face and colorful tiny toes).  i will now be donating a percentage of my art sales from right this minute through opening night.  so if you’re interested in a piece that is available, you can help CHAP to0.

i love them and i’m going to see about being a volunteer artist now that finn is back in public school and i have the time to do so.  ❤

hope to see you at the opening if you’re in the area!


i got some matte photo prints of some of my art which i’m having a sale on.  $5 each, 4×6.  leave a comment or email me at hi at altered bits dot com if you’re interested as i haven’t yet posted them on my site.  i have a very limited amount of all but the first two on left.

art print sale, alicia caudle
i have also donated one of each of these to judah sleep, fellow mixed media artist, for his charlie’s spot etsy shop which i will be mailing out tomorrow, along with some digital collage sheets he’s already listed.  if you are not familiar with judah and charlie’s situation, please read (this is from their shop description):

Why Charlie’s Spot?

During the week of August 16th, Charlie (my partner of 15 years) suffered a debilitating stroke which had been proceeded by two TIAs (smaller strokes) completely out of the blue. This shop will feature a variety of items from a variety of our rather artsy friends! All proceeds (minus Etsy/Paypal/CC fees) will go towards medical bills, the remodeling/renovation of the built-entirely-by-hand (by us!) home to make it accessible for him, and ongoing therapies.Sincere thanks and love,
Judah, Charlie, and extended family and friends!

please go take a look at their shop and buy if you can.  once i have the money, if it’s still there, i’m snatching this up because it needs to live around my neck: anatomical heart necklace

this is what i did today — i bundled each of the prints up individually in little clear self-sealing bags, added pretty paper backing and made labels for each of the pieces.  i hope they sell fast for these guys ’cause every dollar helps.

art for a cause, donated art

i am getting soooo very close to completing the tallest handmade book in the world!  once it’s done, i will be emailing all participants so we can all shout out to anyone and everyone who may be interested in seeing it completed, and bidding on it silent-auction style.  i am so excited!  hopefully you are too.  i had things on hold because there were about nine people who kept promising to send pages but life is buy and i don’t hold that against anyone, of course.  just was hopeful that some of the late pages would come in.  one of those people was my husband, who is a musician and not a visual artist, but he wanted to do a page.  did he?  nope.  i still love him anyway.

i have to be honest.  i had no idea so many gorgeous pages would come in and i’ve had about 78 panic attacks thinking i would ruin the book that so many people put so much love and creativity into.  i’m dumb sometimes and have to tell that self-doubt to shut the hell up, of course, but sometimes it still creeps in.  so, to ensure i haven’t forgotten how to bind, i created three new books in practice.  it’d been a year or longer since i’d made one, after all.  wanna see?  if so, scroll down.

first, i created a little apothecary book.

handmade apothecary art book, alicia caudle

from left to right, the tiny bottles contain echinacea petals from flowers from my yard, a poppy pod and third, some dried english lavender flowers.  the pages are created out of cold pressed water color paper which is great for painting, collaging or whatever as they are sturdy and tough.  the paper on the front is more like fibrous fabric.  it’s really, really cool and i think it was hand-made in thailand but i could be wrong.  it’s covering black hand-made paper and i kind of like the effect.

apthecary book, hand made book, art book, alicia caudle

i have recently gotten quite a huge amount of these insanely cool middle eastern tribal coin charms — they are authentic vintage coins with metal loops soldered on.  i have been using them like crazy in my books and assemblages.  (i have some new ones up for sale here — they sell pretty fast though ’cause they are gorgeous:  i really need to retake some of the photos, but that’s a side note to self.  anyway, the book has a tie closure like most of my books to help keep secrets safe inside (not that others can’t untie a ribbon and get hella nosy, but you get my point).

handmade art book, artist book, art journal, foremother

next, i was so inspired by this gorgeous carte de viste photograph which is one of many i received from my sweet friend emma in the uk, that i had to create this book with her image on the front.  i want to do a series of them because i think it would be fun.  i call this a “foremother” book because i’ve been hugely into genealogy lately and i always wonder what all these wonderful ladies and gentleman look like from my ancestry.  (another side note: i am a princess.  well, not really, but i should be — i am a decedent of a king in scotland.)  here i have used one of the more rusty and old coin charms along with some tribal metal beads and some tribal chain.  i am so in love with these new finds!  and i’m so not in love with how crap-tastic the above photo looks.  i’m not good at photography when the sun isn’t out, sadly.

handmade art book, artist book, art journal, foremother
this book ties shut too, of course, and to give credit where credit is due, all of my ribbons come from the gorgeous and talented lisa jurist of mudhound studio.

detail of pages from handmade artist book or art journal

each of the pages are dyed and i have tattered the edges because i really wanted it to look as old as possible to give that feel of something handmade that had been passed down through the generations.  kind of like an old relic or family heirloom.

handmade artist book, handmade book, moth book, bug art

finally, this one, which is called the moth book.  if you know me, you know how damn creative i can be with my naming!  (that’s a joke — “the moth book” is not a creative name at all.)  but the book is pretty darn cool if i do say so myself.  there is a silken bookmark with one of those gorgeous coins again, another tie-closure from lisa jurist’s amazingly beautiful ribbon, and on the spine, some of the lovely tribal metal buttons (again).

book spine, metal tribal buttons

detail of the moth book cover

this little moth died on my front porch and he was so pretty that i decided to immortalize him (or her??) in this book forever, under a piece of mica.  the wings are so pretty!  i love bugs (well, dead ones, sorry to say — some live ones scare the crap out of me), and am going to do a whole series of entomology books.  i have some crazy horned beetles and other such things to use.  the frame is a product of the first mold i ever made, and created with aves apoxie resin clay — i’ve just painted it to look a bit like metal.

hand made bookpages detail
each of the 130 pages of this book have been hand-dyed with coffee, tea and handmade dye, most with the imprint of leaves and other bits of nature.  i have never put that much work into actual book pages before — it was so fun seeing all of the pages hanging around my kitchen to dry, like little tattered paper flags.  i’m definitely going to be creating more of these soon!

hand made bookpages detail

i am so in love with the way the pages look together in the book.  i intentionally offset some of them so it gave and older tattered look.  oh, and some of the pages were originally white and some brown paper bag paper (not actual bags, but the nice reams i used to be able to buy from paper zone before they went out of existence).  i’m secretly going to miss this book — it has sold and will be flying off to virginia.  (the other two are available and have just been listed in my shop — trying to stock up for the holidays this year.)

speaking of books, i have been trying to get two new book tutorials done.  one being a waxen two-story book and the other being a specimen book with a test-tube as part of the binding.  i’m going to get the tallest handmade book in the world project done first, of course, and then jump on it.  here is a peek of those two books (click to enlarge if you want a better view):

handmade artist book and art journal tutorial

please stay tuned, book lovers — my favorite art kiddos will be done with their handmade books soon and i soooo can’t wait to share photos.  you will be so impressed!  all we have left to do is bind and paint.  the covers are clay-covered book board with embedded objects and sculpted bits.  they totally rock already but they will be even more magical once they are completed.  with any luck, i will have four to share within the next week or three.

also, stay tuned for more peeks at the tallest handmade book in the world because it’s getting so much closer to being done.  the drawers are complete, the binding sort-of started, the covers almost done (back done, front is going through a bit of an identity crisis).  i also still need to take photos of all of the pages.


first and foremost, i wanted to share that the amazing and generous seth apter is hosting a charity auction on the altered page for those effected by the wrath of hurricane sandy.  the offerings are simply amazing, and the benefit so very great!  click the image below to read his post.

go bid!  i can’t afford the first one but i think i shall donate $50 in seth’s name because he’s such a good and generous man and no matter how rough things may be for me right now, i know they are so much worse for those in the mid-atlantic region.

on a totally separate note, an odd warning…

paper wasp nest

if you’re like me, you love nature bits: sticks, stones, bird and paper wasp nests, etc.  all of my closest friends and family often collect things things for me, along with bones and other good bits.  a few weeks ago i commissioned my dad to make me some AMAZING art boxes (i’ll share that later — new motorized/light-up series in the works) and in the parcel he included two gorgeous and pristine wasp nests.  i was so thrilled!!  i was going to pull one out two days ago for an assemblage i’m working on but got side-tracked (what else is new?), and then went for them last night.  it looked like someone had poked their finger into the center of one as there was a wee hole where no hole had previous been.  i asked my son if he squished it in a fit?  nopes.  then i spy something moving inside the baggy it was in.  a WASP!  a big, fat, pokey-arsed wasp!  somehow it had managed to hatch super early in my house because it’s so cozy and warm.  who ever would have imagined!?  so, if you find a seemingly evacuated wasp’s nest, you may want to keep it in something tightly closed for… like a year… before you fiddle with it.  i’m quite allergic to those feisty little beasts.

one of the two looks like this with the white bits.  think a bunch more will hatch?  (this isn’t my actual nest — i was scared to open the box in case 13 more hatched and ate through the plastic bag they’re in).

paper wasp nest

oooh, what a magnificent week!  2012 is turning out to be quite a special year indeed!  my prediction: the best ever!  what do you think?

the week started out by me registering “little bug studio” as an official domestic non-profit corporation.  after many, many minutes on hold with the IRS (57 of them, to be precise), i discovered that filing my  501(c)(3) for official tax exempt status costs roughly $5-700.  that wasn’t part of “the good part”.  however, with my EIN (which i’m getting next week) i can accept tax-deductible donations AND there is a 27 month grace period for having to file the paperwork for 501(c)(3) status.  woots!  buying time is my kind of process indeed!

little bug studio

i recently purchased both and and will soon (depending upon your definition of the word “soon”) have websites up for each.  then back to creating more art with the kiddos for fun and fund raising to finish their brand spankin’ new studio.  even if we have to keep arting it up at our 1960s diner restaurant booth though, i’ll be happy because having 2-3 kids over every week is WAY better than zero.  my dear and wonderful friend katie cahill did a blog post about little bug studio which you should check out here: Call to All My Handy, Arty, and Bighearted Friends!  katie and i have been friends for almost 20 years (practically fresh from the womb — we are very, very young!)  😉 she gives a little peek into my life as the mama of an aspie boy, my plans for the kids’ art studio, and even posted the most precious shot of my little man’s bug-fingers from the last time we were out to breakfast.

neighborhood center for the arts

copyright neighborhood center for the arts

from her post, wonderful things have happened… the best being my introduction to my new friend, mixed media artist susan lobb-porter. check out susan’s website, oo la la! living the arty life.  susan is a wildly creative lady with an enormous heart.  she works at a non-profit art center called neighborhood center for the arts (in grass valley, california) where she teaches art to adults with developmental disabilities.  every day, up to 50 artists between the ages of 21 and 75 attend their studio and create paintings, weavings, ceramics, drawings, woodwork and computer arts.  many of the artists have had their works exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including european galleries.  i’ve seen photos of the amazing work they are doing (you can too — check out the above-linked website) and you must check it out now too!  i am in love!

neighborhood center for the arts

copyright neighborhood center for the arts

while perusing susan’s blog, i read the most magnificent post and implore you to read it (actually two posts).  please go read them both, then come back and finish mine as it will make sense.  PLEASE MAKE SURE TO WATCH THE VIDEO. i cried.  but in a good way.  soooo very touching!

artside out:

yellow bird:

lalalalala.  <— this depicts a jaunty tune, like “hold music” but actually good.

neighborhood center for the arts

copyright neighborhood center for the arts

okay, so as you read, susan is trying to raise funds for an iPad for her students, such as the one she wrote of.  what an amazing gift!  i’m going to help because that is just the kind of girl i am.  some time in the next week or so, i’m going to list a new digital collage sheet and 100% of the sales of that sheet will go towards her cause.  i have lots of ideas for her but because today has been a day chock full of utter insanity, errands and unexpected fiascoes, i haven’t gotten to tell her yet (and this post was supposed to be up yesterday which proves that i’m miss slow motion this week).  (this is where my ADD kicks in and says “even though you’ve been typing this post for 36 hours, you should stop and email susan your ideas)…

i am super-crossing my fingers that they will be able to raise the funds for a new iPad so these amazing moments of transformation, expression and creativity will continue.  no, they WILL raise the funds.  this is 2012.  people are good.  art saves lives and those of us who are smart know it.

AND, please read her latest blog post (she so graciously wrote about my bug and me, and our wonderful art group):


another magnificent and magically kind and big-hearted event that has transpired is that TWO gorgeous and lovely friends have contacted me wishing to provide donations for the mum and finn etsy shop (100% of all proceeds go to little bug studio).  what a wonderful and kind gift!  jo archer has donated several of her wonderful wooden brooches.  these are $5 each and she has even offered free shipping!  go snatch them up — we are the proud owners of two ourselves and these rock!  (i have a doll head and finn has a robot)  all five of the bucks go to our art group charity.

joanne archer brooches for asperger's charity

you can also check out jo’s etsy shop here, with more wooden brooches and gorgeous art.


and now for the winner of my drawing for vintage foreign book pages…

(random number generator picked #22)

AJ’s Art Journaling:

congrats!  email me your mailing address and i shall have this out to you this week.

have a fantastic week, my friends, and check back soon for more books and giveaways.

some of you know that i recently had the idea of starting a non-profit art group for kiddos with aspergers syndrome and autism… and it’s finally happening!  i’m super excited.  we’re getting bids to remodel the garage and make it our little group’s “art shack” and touching young lives with art and expression.  right now we’ve just been having tiny groups of two to four kids at a time at the dining table but soon we will expand (in the spring) to being an open group with up to eight or ten kids at least twice a week.  it will be donation driven for supplies and things, like “pay if you can” sort of thing, but no one will be turned away if they can’t afford it.  one thing i’ve noticed is that the kids feel so comfortable with teach other and can totally relate to one another.  one little guy told me that he liked that he wasn’t picked on at our house for being “different”.  happy tears for me!

in preparation of trying to file the non-profit paperwork, getting the garage remodeled into the kid’s studio, and setting up website hosting (shameful admission: i can’t afford to do it all myself money-wise), i’ve created a few pieces of art with the kids to make a little start-up money, in a joint etsy shop with the boy called mum and finn (our monsters will be going there soon, too, but i thought it would be a good fit for this stuff as well).  100% of profits go to the kid’s art group, of course.  the first three pieces below were based upon the kid’s talking about feelings and some of their favorite things to do.  they picked the colors and things and i painted the pieces as best as i could based upon their descriptions (according to six to nine year olds, i’m “really good” at painting their words — they are so sweet!).

piece one: i love skipping rope in the rain
4×6″ canvas
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

i love skipping rope in the rain

piece two: kicking a ball while wearing a funny hat
4×6″ on canvas
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media portrait

piece three: watching orion (in bunny ears)
5×5″ canvas
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media portrait

stuffed monster (based upon my son’s drawing): eunice traded her right art for george’s intestines. she survived… but he did not.
(not intended to be a child’s toy — small parts — removable intestines)
available here:
sold. thank you. 🙂

salvaged textile stuffed monster

and last but not least, a special playful but weirdo mixed media book/journal.
available here:
this one is special in that it’s a “two story” book™ (© alicia caudle, 2011, all rights reserved) which is one of my recent creations (i will be posting my other two story book creations soon and will be hosting a small workshop on how to make them but more on that at a later date):  THIS PIC MAY TAKE A BIT TO LOAD.
sold. thank you. 🙂

mixed media art book, journal

all of these pieces have been added to our new etsy shop (with LOTS of new monsters coming soon): mum and finn on etsy

note: both the girl and the boy above that are listed as 4×6″ canvases are the same brand of canvas but for some reason the size is a tiny bit different.  what’s up, winsor newton!?  the girl is about 1/4″ taller… and i didn’t notice until i finished each of them.  hmmmph.

i have some ideas and questions about the tallest book in the world project that i wanted to run by all of you lovely participants… but first i have some thank yous!

first, thank you immensely to all of you that have emailed me and/or commented and wish to participate in this project.  i’m hugely behind in emails (this is nothing new) but wish to get back to you all by the end of the week if i haven’t done so already.  thank you so much for participating in this project!  it warms my heart to know that there are so many like-minded and charitable people artists out there!  (okay, yes, artists are people too, but we’re a special kind of people.)

thank you also to miss maggie mannwieler for sending me a spool of binding thread.  you rock, lady, and i thank you so much!

i wanted some input from all participants on the charity in which this book will benefit.  my suggestions seemed well received by so many and no one has (as of yet) made any other suggestions but i welcome all thoughts and ideas.  as a recap, my ideas were something having to do with any or all of the following as they are daily aspects of my life as a mother and an artist: kids, art, aspergers/autism.  along the vein, i have researched a few non-profit organizations but have some more work to do and contacts to make before i list them out.

in the meantime, i’m working away on my pages.  here is a start that pretty much shows you nothing but a door on the front of my “page one”:

tallest book in the world project

i promise to share more later and snap-shots of other’s pages as they come in.  i know it currently looks like a cover but i’m mystery girl — it will have a photo and other bits on top, and lots of secrets inside once i share it.


as of yet, there is no specific deadline.  i’m loosely thinking the end of the year.  i want this to be TALL so don’t want to put a firm date on it until i know how many pages we end up having, etc.

pretty please request: when you mail your page(s) in, please include: name, location in the world, URL to website or blog.  please also send a photo via email with a shot of your page(s) to hi (at) altered bits (dot) com so i can keep it all straight.  it doesn’t have to be a good photo — this will just be for my visual reference so i don’t mess anything up when it comes to giving proper credits.

you are welcome to put your name and url on your page(s) — i have had a lot of questions about this.  but you don’t have to — the last page will have a pocket and i will list the page number, artist, location and url so you will be credited no matter what.

pages will be put into the book in the order received unless there will be a binding issue of some weird sort, though i can’t imagine that will be the case.

just as a reminder (because i was asked again), please use thick paper or whatever you’re using as your base/substrate, like watercolor paper or something else that’s sturdy so that it doesn’t rip when bound with needle and binding thread (see size, folding and other specifics in this post).  fabric is fine as is anything else that won’t tear or break when bound.  🙂

here is the mailing address again (unless you have my physical address — that is fine too, of course):

altered bits
PO Box 83928
Portland, OR  97283

on another charitable note, i was recently commissioned to do a piece for the cover of a book produced by a local meditation center.  it was to be a collage with buddha on it (thangka buddha, to be precise) and be colorful.  they wanted me to sell the piece when i was done so i could make some extra dollars as they only needed the digital art for the book, but i’ve donated it to them for an auction they are having to benefit an upcoming retreat (actually, both the original and a print).  it was different from my typical style in that it’s so vibrant and colorful but i greatly enjoyed the challenge and they couldn’t have been happier.  here is a shot of it on my shelf:

thangka budda collage
each flower and little piece is hand cut — it was fun!  ingredients: collage, acrylic, water color pencil, ink, crackle.

i hope you’re all having a fab start to autumn (on this half of the planet) or start to spring (the other side).  i’ve been working away on some serieses (that’s not a word, i know), some commissions and some collaborations and will be sharing those here soon.  happy book page making to all!  i’m off to work on mine right this second.

(oh, and i may be quiet again for the next week as the in-laws are coming in a couple day’s time and i’ve been a busy bee cleaning, organizing and cleaning more for their arrival.)

i had an idea about six months ago but being the ever-so-busy girl that i am, coupled with my proclivity to procrastinate, and sprinkling a little bit of “frequently side-tracked” on top, i’m only just now sharing.  i kinda blame our dear friend seth apter for the inadvertent nudge — i have stacks on the brain as of late and this could be a HUGE stack…  introducing: the tallest handmade book in the world {project}.

the tallest handmade book in the world project, art journal
i really have no idea what the tallest handmade book in the world measures in at, but know it’s more than a foot.  probably more than even three feet but i’ll just pretend it’s not that tall ’cause i want ours to be the tallest.

overview: if you want to play, create one or more page and send it to me (see address below).  i will bind the whole thing together as the pages come in.  once it’s completed, i will arrange an exhibition under all of our names.  how fun that will be!  i will also create a little zine-type publication in case anyone wants to see all of the amazing work that went into it with all artist names and contact information (this will be desperate from the altered bits zine).  my goal is 2 to 3 feet tall, but i’d LOVE for it to be as tall as me (i’m short — only 5’2″ or a tad less, shhh!).

the point: once the book is complete and it has been exhibited, i would like to auction it off somehow and have all proceeds go to a non-profit group of our choosing.  i’m all about “art for a cause”!  my personal thoughts on this are something having to do with children, art, aspergers/autism as these are things i live with on a daily basis in my life as a artist mama to a super cool boy… but i’m open to ALL suggestions and we can vote on it.  in my dreamiest dream of all, i would like to start a FREE or donation only, non-profit, weekly art group for children with special needs who could express themselves via the arts.  all i would need is a free or cheap space (which i may have found this week) and kid-friendly arty supplies.

specs: size-wise, the book pages will be 4×6″.  this means you’ll take a piece of 8″ x 6″ paper or fabric or whatever (preferably thick enough to be sturdy and not floppy but something that can be bound with needle and binding thread easily) and fold it in half to be four sides measuring 4×6″.  like this:

handmade book page setup guidelines
this may be the difficult part of many of us, but pages should be fairly unthick, at least at the binding seam.  some embellishments and things are okay but it shouldn’t have an super thick or heavy parts to make the binding easier.  you can paint, collage, stamp, do anything you want out of fabric or paper or unsharp metal or or whatever you wish as long as i can get binding holes in it.  this can be in any style or topic you desire — treat it like an art journal, draw or paint a portrait, doodle, print out some of your photography on thick paper, do a collage, write a poem on a colorful background, make a miniature quilt — this is totally your thing and all submissions will be accepted as long as they are not cruel or inappropriate.

this is how the binding holes will likely be placed:

where i will put the binding holes
if you would like to play, please just make sure all four sides are used on your paper (i’m using watercolor paper) so that there aren’t blank spots.  you can team up with someone if you think four sides is too much for you, or you can send more pages if you desire.  let’s see how tall we can get this baby!

i will take donations of binding thread, too.  i only have black but maybe it would be cool to use multiple colors?  if you have a spare foot or a couple yards of your favorite color(s) and want to pop it into your envelope, i would be SOOO very grateful!

if you want to play, let me know either by leaving a comment here or emailing me (hi at altered bits dot com).  feel free to share this with any of your friends that you think may be interested in giving something back to an organization through doing the art that we all love… or trying to achieve a guiness world record height of a handmade book (doubt that really exists).  feel free to use the image above (if interested, remind me to make a smaller side-bar iteration for your blog/website).  children submissions welcome too if you have arty kiddos who want to play.  my little dude wants to draw four monsters.  here is some of his art (i’ve posted this before — it was actually a mum and finn collaboration we did when he was 6 that he calls “two birds”):

two birds by mum and finn, children's art, collaboration
as for the covers, i can do those or if anyone is interested, let me know and we can see what we can work out.

i hope you’ll like to play!  and if you like this idea, pass it on!


here is a small sidebar image if you want to use it to link to this post.  i’ll update with my PO Box address tomorrow (just reserved and paid for it):

the tallest handmade book in the world collaboration project

right-mouse click to save and upload to your blog if you’d like to use this.

also, to clarify (regarding a few emails i’ve received) it doesn’t have to be totally flat, just not super bumpy/chunky.  the page i started today, for example, is on super thick watercolor paper and the front side has a vintage book cover on it.  i only have to sew through the watercolor paper to bind it.  i think the other side will have glass on it and be a door.  so it doesn’t have to be just flat work the paper/fabric/page if you want to add to it — i just need to be able to bind it.  🙂  i’ll post photos one of these days once i’m done so you can see.

mailing address:

altered bits
PO Box 83928
Portland, OR  97283

i’m book obsessed.  i think i’ve made about 30 in the past two months, but this one i made for my shop since it’s been so barren over there that i could practically hear crickets.  the others were for art fairs and gifts, but this one is for you.  😉  my camera is weird and tries to make things look more pristine than they are.

anatomical heart journal, art journal blank book, handmade book

i like to fool around with different weird binding techniques that i dream up but this time i was going to just cover the spine with fabric.  however, when i was done, i liked the rough and rustic look of it so i altered my original plan.

anatomical heart journal, art journal blank book, handmade book

oooh, alicia-style crackle!  you can click to enlarge, if you’re interested.

anatomical heart journal, art journal blank book, handmade book

and… a classic back pocket.  gotta have a place for those secrets, i always say!

anatomical heart journal, art journal blank book, handmade book

i also spent some time working on my butterfly for the butterfly project.  if you haven’t heard of it, here is the short version: the holocaust museum in houston, texas, which is dedicated to educating people about the holocaust, remembering the 6 million jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors’ legacy.  fast forward to their project, the butterfly project is  to remember the 1,500,000 innocent children who perished as a result of the holocaust  by collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies.  i’ve started mine and will be finishing it this weekend with my family.  both the husby and the son wish to make one because we think this is such a beautiful tribute to a horribly tragic historical event.  many of the husb’s ancestors were lithuanian jews.  two dresses studio has graciously offered to forward the butterflies to the museum and we’ll be sending ours off soon.

this is the start to mine (lace, embroidery, recycled sari silk, salvaged fabric from a once-gorgeous dress from the 50s, etc… and i think i will cover the black stitching ’cause i may now hate it):

butterfly effect, butterfly

now, i have to plug my sweet friend lisa jurist because i adore her and her gorgeous products have facilitated my whole book-making extravaganza lately.  without her, my binding would be ever so bland!  if you do not know her, you must visit her blog and etsy shop and i assure you, you will adore her too.  i have a mudhound shopping fetish so a couple of weeks ago when i realized i was low on her amazing recycled silks, i popped over to get more.  see how amazingly lovely this silk is!!

mudhound studio goodies

and in the package, that super sweet, ever-so-generous girl sent me this amazing miniature vintage printer’s drawer (she sells these in her etsy shop too!).  i’m in love and can’t wait to get some of my wonderful little victorian babies and poison bottles into it.  thanks so much, lisa!!

mudhound studio goodies


back in the day when i had a kinder heart… or um, at least more time, i would create pieces or series to sell to raise money for causes i was passionate about.  things like cervical cancer, schools for chiapas dot org, general art groups for under privileged youth, etc.  i also often donated a piece or three per year to various auctions for good causes (mostly art teaching, autism/aspergers, school or child related).  other than a few things on the altered bits site where 50% of the sale went to this or that, i haven’t done this much in the past couple of years and feel mean.  i by no means have a lot, but we’re not quite starving just yet so i wish to help where i can in this lovely world of ours.

huge digital collage paper pack, vintage paper, grungy paper, postcards, letters

to feel like a better contributor to the world, i have just created and added a new big huge super high resolution digital collage pack of 10 pages (over 40 images), of all old papers, grungy book pages, postcards, letters and text of various sorts to altered bits’ collage sheets page.  50% of the proceeds will go to ethiopia reads, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing books to children who may not otherwise be able to experience reading them.  a couple of months ago i had purchased some gorgeous  handmade brass beads from an amazing ethiopian man who came to the west coast, US to sell his beads and charms, and i sold some  on my site — 50% going to ethiopia reads as reading and literacy for children is a huge passion of mine, second only to art.  or maybe they are tied.  anyway, altered bits was able to provide several storybooks to young ethiopian children.  the organization is amazing and they have a donkey with a mobile library on her back, traveling from village to village to pass out books (some to keep, some to borrow).  check out their site to read about it.

ethiopia reads was recently featured on CNN, which i did not know until after i had donated to them.  upon donating to them i learned that the feature helped them to receive a huge amount of donated books — around 60k.  this is two HUGE freight containers of books, and it costs about $13,800 to ship each container.  now they are struggling to raise enough to GET the books to these children, and that is why i created this lovely little (er, HUGE) digital collage pack.  i want to help, if even only a little teeny bit.

the digital collage pack is HUGE — super high resolution print quality images (300 dpi) as transparent PNGs.  the zip is 120MB+ large and is housed on a file sharing site that i would have to send an invitation link to for you to download.  a bit of a hassle but VERY much worth it for the gorgeous imagery and great cause.  print out to use in collages or art pieces or use in digital art as you please.  or make me print them and mail them to you.

i have a few other good cause reading and literacy things in the works so check back soon if you’re interested.  or check back even if you aren’t ’cause that’s not all i’m about.  😉  will have pulpy stuff to post soon as i have two books, for example.

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the tallest handmade book in the world {project}
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