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(oops, i already posted the hawthorn spirit journal a couple of weeks ago so this title is inaccurate. sorry!)

within the past couple weeks, i’ve completed a couple more spirit journals. i’m kind of obsessed, but anyone that’s known me since i started this blog 7? 8? years ago? …knows that’s i’ve always been book obsessed.

this one is entitled “faery writing and forest runes” (because books need titles, you know). all of the twigs were found on the forest floor in the oregon rain forest and taken with both permission and gratitude.

the front is adorned with western red cedar and douglas fir twigs that were been nibbled by tiny forest creatures whilst the branch was still living and covered in bark. i call these twigs forest runes and like to think of the markings as faery writing because that feels more magical than a bug or a worm in a lot of ways. if you listen carefully, you can hear their messages.

faery writing and forest runes, spirit book by alicia caudle

here is a close-up/more detailed shot of the stunning little twigs. they are just as i found them, except that i oiled them a bit with some organic coconut oil to bring out their gorgeous hues:

detail of faery writing and forest runes twigs, handmade spirit book, alicia caudle

the energies these trees carry and the messages they convey to us are: strength, virility, presence, and knowing (western ted cedar), determination, purpose, achievement, and reaching new heights (fir — i do know that doug fir is not actually a fir). on the spine is a gorgeous curving piece of pacific madrone which teaches us individuality, adaptation, and how to step into our unique, individual greatness.

the covers are made from a thick luscious paper called bird’s nest paper that was handmade in thailand, with some thick natural cotton weave between the layers to add to its rustic and ancient feel. the spine of the book has yet another twig (the madrone as mentioned above) and it love the way they meander as it grow, as well as the stunning reddish hue of their wood (can you read the faery writing on that one?).

madrone-twig-book-spine

the tree of life, or world tree symbol on the back is actually a lined pocket where you can stick your notes or pen. i made this using reclaimed, naturally dyed fabric and natural hemp twine.

world-tree-back-book-pocket
the pages themselves are hand-dyed with organic coffee and the front edges have been tattered a bit to give a deckle edged look, which is one of my favorite things to do.

handmade-deckle-edged-paperthis book is available in my new but not quite fully complete website, here: http://aliciacaudle.com/art/shop/faery-writing-forest-runes-journal-alicia-caudle.php

thanks for allowing me to share another one of my spirit books. xx

i’ve been on a book-making kick lately (and shaman rattles, but that’s another story) and finally completed a new spirit journal last week. it’s been a busy time of adventures, company in town, drum circles and shamanic clients, so i’m only now finding the time to post it. (thanks to my husband picking our son up from school instead of me having to do it!)

due to the lack of finding a more creative alternative, i am simply calling this spirit journal “the hawthorn journal” (though i do affectionately think of it as a faery journal — i’ll explain momentarily).

hawthorn branch journal, faery journal, spirit journal, handmade artist book

the cover was very carefully constructed of fallen hawthorn branches we’d been drying in the garage for the past year or so. hawthorn representing abundance and duality in the celtic tree ogham and is also often referred to as “the faery tree”. if you are unfamiliar with hawthorns, they are in fact quite thorny and potentially brutal. one day, about six years ago, my son literally caught his ear lobe on a branch and half-pierced it. they’re sharp! thankfully i suffered not even a scratch (hawthorn and i are great allies).

hawthorn branch journal, faery journal, spirit journal, handmade artist book

instead of my typical two-strand tie closure, i opted to do a wrap-around closure with a holey stone on a piece of gorgeous silk ribbon that i purchased from lisa jurist’s etsy shop (you can find it here — alert —  you will want to buy a LOT!). holey stones are stones that have natural holes in them from water. they are also often referred to as hag stones or faery stones (yep, another reference to those beautiful fae spirits!), and they are very protective, just like the hawthorn.

hawthorn branch journal, faery journal, spirit journal, handmade artist book

detail of some of the twigs, which have been attached to my very favorite paper in the world called bird’s nest paper. see the thorns? i think this would deter people from looking at your private writings.

book binding, binding style

the binding is just one of my typical “i don’t really know how to properly bind so i just make up my own methods” types that incorporates more of that gorgeous brown silk ribbon. it’s a bit rough and primitive, just the way i like it. i see that i accidentally shot this photo before the cover was actually affixed to the book, but you get the idea. that gap? it doesn’t exist anymore. oh, and that stunning burlap type paper is actually 1940s wallpaper. i love the rough but natural feel and the tight weave of it.

hawthorn branch journal, faery journal, spirit journal, handmade artist book, hand-dyed pages

each of the pages were hand-dyed using organic coffees and teas, and then i deckled each of the edges myself. (it is called “deckle”, right? spell check always hates that word for some reason.) i always love the look and feel of things that appear old and handed down through the generations. i pretend one of my old witchy german great grandmothers or scottish shaman great grandmothers made this to be handed down to me. well, not really to me, but to you… since i just listed it in my etsy shop. you can take a look at it here. the description is much more thorough and informative, especially if you’re interested in learning more about trees and rocks and their metaphysical/magical/other uses and characteristics. you can peek at it here >>

(sold, thank you)

it’s been so long since i’ve blogged that it took a few to even remember how to create a new post. that’s pretty sad (i say whilst giggling at myself). after this long i don’t expect many people to even realize this blog even exists anymore.

though i’ve been quiet in wordpress land, i’ve been quite busy with art and shamanic work. i had started my learning in the native american/lakota traditions but veered onto the path of celtic and nordic shamanism once i received the call to start working with my ancestors. what a magical and wildly beautiful ride it’s been! a life balanced between family, art and healing couldn’t be more perfect for me. i’ve been blessed with an amazing teacher and mentor and am now offering services in soul retrieval, deposession, destiny tracking, green energy healing, illumination healing, curse unraveling, and a host of other things… but i digress. i’m also starting quarterly handmade book and spirit journal workshops which is partially how this came to fruition.

nature spirit journal
after months of the pieces sitting in my studio, i finally completed it. while taking photos of it i realized how much i miss blogging and reading everyone’s posts and viewing their photos so i’m jumping back in again.

nat2
this is newest nature spirit journal is made from fig twigs, a natural piece of coral i found on the beach in hawaii, hemp twine, bird’s nest and other natural handmade papers, recycled brown paper pages and recycled sari silk.

nat3

also, a small celtic knotwork piece on the front.

nat4

complete with classic tie closure like i always do.

nat5

the binding colors were inspired by the colors of the seasonal cycle of an oak, which is one of my favorite trees. (all of these recycled silk ribbons came from mudhound studio on etsy — lisa’s shop is amazing!)

nat6

the inside covers and flaps have some gorgeous handmade paper with natural leaves and other nature bits. it’s so yummy and delicate.

nat7

the inside pages are a recycled earthy brown color… and of course there is a gorgeous drilled stone at on the bottom of the attached silk bookmark.

i’ve just listed it up for sale in my etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/listing/258914663/handmade-nature-spirit-journal-art

 

i have had such a blast working on little handmade books with some of my favorite arty kids over the past month and a half or so, and finally, they are pretty much done!

during our first book get-together, the kids covered some bookboard with masking tape and then sculpted their covers with paper clay.  i had some photos of this but i seem to have lost them, so you’ll just have to see the final phase photos instead.  during our second get-together, they collaged the inside covers of their books and prepared the pages (this was a sunny day and the kids were distracted by playing so we didn’t get much done on the books, but it was such a fun day none the less!).  finally, this past weekend, we painted our covers and started binding.  here are some fantastic photos of elie, jack and finn working on their creations:

autism spectrum art group
one of our favorite places to meet is the st. john’s mcmenamins.  love the huge table upstairs with all of the natural light AND the fact that they don’t mind us getting messy.  🙂

elie is the master sculptor of the group and made a precious snail, flower and mushroom on her cover:

aspergers art group

jack is more focused than finn.  🙂  notice finn hasn’t even started painting his cover (we’ll be finishing his oringial book this week)…

aspie art group

elie’s gorgeous front cover is now complete!  snail in the snow.  i love it!

art group with kids
here is a picture of the precious little mushroom — i am so in love with the way she painted it:

mushroom detail
and her easy binding was started with some of her favorite fabric and embroidery thread (we’ll probably get to finish this next weekend else she finishes with her mama):

asperger's art group
here is some detail of one of the other books (i probably did more work on this than finn did, at least with the paint, and of course it’s not done, but you can peek at it anyway).  we will be painting some more on it, filling the holes with black and adding some crackle:

art group, kids, aspergers
i think finn’s favorite part was embedding objects into the clay while it was still wet.  not sure what happened or why i didn’t get more photos of the other two books, darn it.  i’m easily distracted sometimes.

of course there was plenty of time to play on the cozy couch once we washed up (here you can see one of the more calm moments — should have gotten some shots of the pig-pile they made on top of each other).

play time at kid's art group

and last but not least, their almost completed books — love them!!

kiddo art group -- completed books
thank you audrey for some of these fantastic photos!!  (she took all of the good ones)

during our next art group, we’re going to be making holiday trees.  the boys are making minecraft inspired trees once we can figure out what to do for the blocks and i don’t think elie has decided what she wants to do yet, but i think mine will be created from fabric-wrapped wire and will be in a wooden base.  then of course we’ll have to make some ornaments to decorate them.  we always have so much fun together!  with our other group of kids that we get together with from our neighborhood, we will probably just make some ornaments for their parents.  last year we did special boxes, some with drawers, with treasures inside like handmade books and ornaments.  whatever we do, we’ll be sure to have heaps of fun.  i’ll share more photos, of course.

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: http://alteredbits.com/metal-glass-objects.php)  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.

heart

as promised, here is a peek at the drawers in the “tallest handmade book in the world {project}” book.  i have much more paint to add, things to bind, a cover to finish, etc., but it’s moving right along — i should share more completed photos but this is an in progress shot.  i will keep posting updates and peeks as the project progresses so everyone will know when i am ready to start the auction and participants can start spreading the word.

book-drawers

just to give you a frame of reference, this is the back cover/bottom of the book.  i have to decide if i should hide some secret items in the drawers.  probably just a thing or three.  but for now, back to painting cover bits — the back cover needs to have more continuity (promise i’m not leaving it like this).  my time was too busy trying to figure out how the heck to get drawers in and be able to “easily” bind it all while having a big ribbon closure as well.  (i’m a freak — i just envisioned feet on the bottom of the book!)… now my brain-gears-are-a-turnin’.  i could do it.  but…?

can’t wait to show you all more.  this has been such an awesome collaboration!  i wish i could clone myself into three people though ’cause it’s taking wayWAY longer than anticipated.  sorry folks.

tallest handmade book in the world project

i have truly and sincerely not meant to take so long on this project and feel like an ass.  i could make excuses about it, but i won’t, however since today is the last day of school i am back in action on this!  (i spend a good 7 hours a day homeschooling in addition to everything else, so summertime is the time to get stuff done around here!).  i’m very excited!

currently, all pages are ordered and the intro page is written out with all names, locations and either urls or email addresses except two people who did not provide contact information.  (this is part of my delay — trying to track them down.)  so, here i will list the participants and if you know either of the two and can provide me with their email address or blog/site url, i will send you a virtual kiss.  i want to get this up fast so not adding urls right now, but don’t fret — i will of course include them in the book and the pdf version so everyone is properly credited as they should be.

alicia caudle (that’s me)
mum and finn (that’s my son and me)
marni smith-gentry, usa
jill zaheer, usa
marit barentsen, the netherlands
patty szymkowicz, usa
hermine koster, the netherlands
jo murray, austrailia
bonia rose, usa
dave hayes, usa
bernie williams, usa
maggie mannwieler, usa
erin perry, usa
darline campbell, usa
janette gregson, uk
isabelle favre, france
sarah harris, uk
amanda kuykendall, usa

update: have tracked everyone down and gotten all info.  woohoo!  (and proper spelling)

tallest handmade book in the world project

for those who don’t know, the tallest handmade book in the world (which is really only about 4 inches thick) is a book made from donated pages that will be auctioned off to benefit my art group for children on the autism spectrum — click the link to the left in my side-bar to read more (but please note that i no longer have that PO box address).  for the summer we are bumping up art groups from one or two a month to one or two a week.  many of these kids’ families can’t afford contributing to the art supply fund and i can only buy so much.  currently i’m working with four kids on the spectrum on a regular basis, and a small handful of others here and there.  i cannot tell you how amazing it is to see their work!  i will seek parental permission and post some things soon.

what’s left to do?

make covers for both front and back.
finish my last spread (i did the rest of the pages in the intro spread and helped the little man with his four pages at least!).
take photos for PDF upload.
bind the whole thing up.
post it up for auction.

not sure if i should do a silent auction here on my blog, or if i should do it on ebay.  what do you think?  there are pros and cons to each option.

what can you do?

once it’s all complete, i will spread the word for a week or so and you can help.  tell anyone you know who may be interested.  i’m so excited to see how many people are interested in this book.  i cannot even begin to tell you how gorgeous it’s going to be!  the work in it is amazing and a half, squared!

i will try not to sleep much for the next couple of weeks so i can get this done, however i’m not stating a date of completion because i don’t know how long it will take.  i do hope you understand.  just stay tuned.  🙂  you can sign up for email alerts somewhere on my blog if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything.

check back soon for peeks!  i’m revving up my camera to get shots of all pages (wish my scanner was accessible, but i kind of lost it during some remolding projects — totally dumb!).  also, i’m going to have a give-away associated with the book but not sure how i’m going to do it just yet.

wabi-sabi-workshop-serena-barton

i am thrilled to share that i am part of serena barton’s blog hop for her new FANTASTIC book, Wabi-Sabi Art Workshop: Mixed Media Techniques for Embracing Imperfections and Celebrating Happy Accidents.  first, here is a list to the other participants in the blog hop with links to their blogs where you can read additional reviews and interviews (since i’m towards the end of the hop, you get to do yourself a bit of time-traveling to read the other posts, if you haven’t done so already):

6/1: Sara Naumann
6/3: Jill Berry
6/4: Carol Sloan
6/5: Liz Kettle
6/6: Joanne Sharpe
6/8: Seth Apter
6/9: Alicia Caudle —> (that’s me) you are here now
6/10: Pam Carriker

wabi-sabi art by serena barton

i received my copy of wabi-sabi art workshop a few weeks ago and immediately i did what i always do: i flipped through each of the pages, one by one, to absorb all of the gorgeous imagery.  then, unlike usual, i went through and looked at all of the art and imagery a second and third time.  this book is gorgeous and definitely among my top small handful of favorites!  on my fourth pass, i read it through from cover to cover.  i definitely highly recommend this book and highly suggest you pick up a copy for yourself.  i know you will love it too!

one of my favorite things about this book, aside from serena’s beautiful art, is the fact that i really enjoy her encouragement to her readers to allow our inventiveness to take lead when creating artwork.  i also really like that each of the pieces presented in this book have a list of products and techniques used.

each section of wabi-sabi art workshop is laid out beautifully and eloquently, some of them being: looking for wabi-sabi, creating effects, creating layers of texture, working with the unexpected (this is one of my favorite chapters), and additional sections on wax and 3d objects.  i will admit that i am not the type of person to read an art book and try an exercise in it (i’ve actually never done that previously) but right now i feel extremely inspired to try some of the wonderful techniques laid out in this book.  today, i’m doing a wabi-sabi style piece because it feels like something i would immensely enjoy.  i also love that most of the products used in this book are things i already have on-hand, so it will make for such a fun day to use these familiar art ingredients in a new way.

wabi-sabi art by serena barton

another one of my favorite things about this book is that serena shares many mediums and techniques for creating wab-sabi style art (such as using acrylics, encaustics, cold wax, 3d objects, collage, ink, etc.) rather than just a single technique to achieve the effects.

serena’s blog for the book can be found here
and the book can be purchased from amazon here
or you can purchase a signed copy directly from serena here
companion chapters to her book, once you’ve purchased it, can be found here: http://www.createmixedmedia.com/wabi-sabi

and here is a secret: serena is the featured artist in the next issue of the altered bits art zine, which i am extremely/grossly behind in publishing — i love serena and have for a great many years!  she is a fellow portlander too so i’ve had the immense pleasure of meeting her and spending a lovely sunday afternoon at the flea market with her.  after reading her book, i really want to get together for an art date!  (hint, hint, serena!)

wabi-sabi art by serena barton

and now for the give-away!

leave a comment on serena’s wabi-sabi blog HERE and tell her what you’re working on now for a chance to win an original piece of her stunning art.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS A NEW LINK TO A NEW GIVE-AWAY so if you entered before, enter again.  🙂

have a happy and creative day!

please note: all three art pieces in this post are copyrighted pieces by serena barton.

since i have to work cyclically lately between different mediums, sometimes i can’t decide if i want to create an assemblage or a book.  they are, after all, the two things i’m most passionate about creating (though i’m still overly obsessed with the idea of creating a portrait i don’t hate).  so this time i decided to create both in unison… a book inside an assemblage.  it’s funny how i say that as if i’ve never done that before.  i’m totally laughing right now.  this is probably my forty-third assemblage with a book in it.

meet the second gal in my doll box series (the first, “exhibition of self” can be found in seth apter’s book “the pulse of mixed media” where i was one of the featured artists).  i fell instantly in love with that little face of hers and had to create something special.  at least i feel she’s special.  ❤

mixed media assemblage, doll parts, taxidermy, alicia caudle, doll box, shrine, frozen charlotte, doll parts, bones

like most people, she has her secrets; some are kept in the little drawer just above her heart, and others can be kept in the book within her belly.  the drawer is actually not empty.  can you guess what’s inside?

victorian doll parts, assemblage, handmade book, alicia caudle, bones, taxidermy, secrets, mixed media art

the book is made with bones upon the spine and a metal and shark tooth closure i fashioned out of miscellaneous found objects.

alicia-caudle-bone-book

you can see several more detail photos on my site, here, if interested >>

what did you create today?

the pulse of mixed media by seth apter

first and foremost, i want to congratulate seth apter on his AMAZING, wonderful, absolutely stunning new book.  at the time of typing this post, i have not yet held it in my hands, but i run to my mailbox several times daily with the great anticipation of its arrival.  soon it will be here and i cannot wait!

thinking back to when seth initially invited me to be a part of his now-released book “the pulse of mixed media: secrets and passions of 100 artists revealed” i was awe stricken, dumfounded, proud, humbled and blissfully elated all in one.  i couldn’t for the life of me understand why he would invite “little ol’ me,” the weird girl in mis-matched striped knee highs and uneven pigtails who still, in her adulthood, played with doll parts and was fascinated with bones and other such things but i was so honored that he did.  i was so excited!!  (and still am!)

before i get into that though, i have asked seth a couple of questions that i was quite sure people would be interested in knowing the answers to.  after all, he did ask us many fantastic thought-provoking things of the participating artists so i felt it only fair… not that these are thought-provoking or deep, but i was curious.  🙂

dyad, copyright seth apter

dyad, copyright seth apter

alicia: when you initially started “the pulse” 4 years ago, did you ever imagine it would grow into something so large with such a huge following?  at what point did you envision taking it to the next level and publishing a book?

seth: The size and impact of The Pulse has really taken me by surprise. I remember very clearly that I had 35 artists sign up for the first edition of The Pulse back in January 2008, just 5 months after I started my blog. At that point, my expectations were already exceeded but I had a sense that I had tapped into something special. The 5th edition of The Pulse is now running, with 150 artists participating. That number boggles my mind. I had turned the 3rd online edition into a print zine and had often thought that this project had the bones to become a book. But it wasn’t until I was approached by Tonia Davenport, my editor from North Light Books, that I realized I could make this dream a reality. That was 2 years ago, almost to the day of the book’s release, and I couldn’t be more happy with how it has turned out.

alicia: based upon the gorgeous amazon preview i’ve looked it, it appears that you have a vast array of different styles of beautiful art.  what inspired you to invite the artists you’ve featured in your book?   

seth: There are 2 groups of artists included in the book: 31 spotlight artists that I personally invited to contribute and 102 additional artists that responded to an open call. All of the contributors moved me with their art and their words. I selected the spotlight artists in particular based on a number of different criteria. They were all artists I respected, with a body of artwork that spoke to me. In all cases, at one time or another, their creations had taken my breath away. Although I was already in contact with many of the artists, there were a number of contributors I asked having never connected with them before the book project began. I sought out a very eclectic group of international artists so that many distinct art mediums would be represented and the entire range of the mixed media community would be included.

billboard, copyright seth apter

billboard, copyright seth apter

when i think of seth, i think of an amazing artist, a grand collaborator, a pioneer, and a friend i have yet to meet (soon though!).  he is a thought provoker, someone who makes you really think.  i spent a huge amount of self reflection time when reading through the many questions he’d asked for the book.  several of these were not easy questions by any means, and i think just the process of answering them made me feel like i understood a tiny bit more why i am the way i am and why i create the things i do.  that may sound weird, but it’s true.  so thank you for that, seth!

i have been a huge admirer of seth’s artwork since the moment i laid eyes on it and [so far] am the proud owner of one of his pieces (not shown here).

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the thing that intimidated me most, initially, when being invited to be in the book was that all featured artists were supposed to create a self portrait.  it was actually the only thing that intimidated me.  this was pre-alicia-attempts-to-paint people days.  i tried to paint myself.  i tried to collage myself.  and then i emailed seth and said “wait, can my self-portrait be an assemblage??”  his answer was the best ever: “i wouldn’t expect anything else from you, alicia” (or something to that effect).  at that point i felt totally free and confident, and created my “self portrait” with both passion and ease.  the following is a peek of my piece entitled “exhibition of self”. (you’ll have to get the book to see the piece in its entirety, or wait until i share more about it at a later date).

alicia caudle, exhibition of self, assemblage, doll head, altered bits, bird, nest

the second piece that i created for the book was in response to a question seth asked me: “how do you express anger in your artwork?”  this too was a difficult question for me but after sitting on it awhile and getting good and pissed off (for a non-related reason), i created “feigning death”.  again, this is only a peek:

alicia caudle, art, assemblage, skull, bones, doll hand, antique vial, wood, anger

since creating these two pieces, i’ve started two series of similar works but have been keeping them under wraps.  check back as i’ll be posting about nine of them over the next several weeks as time permits.

thank you so very much, seth!  i feel so honored to be a part of your first book.  you are the best, sir!

if you didn’t start on seth’s blog today, please head over there now.  he’s featuring each of the 31 spotlight artists during this 31 day month and today is my day.  the altered page >>  also, for every comment you leave on his blog or the others in the tour, you’ll be entered to win signed copies of the book.  check out the details on seth’s blog.  exciting stuff indeed!!

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