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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.

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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.

it's still life -- seth apter -- the altered page -- the pulse

last saturday seth apter of the altered page emailed me to let me know that i was going to be part of the pulse on sunday, revealing my answer to his task: “Photograph a still life that you create using an array of objects”.  i did not realized this until just now because oregon has decided to play arizona and as a result, it’s too hot here to move or breath… or get on my computer.  so sorry, seth, for being so slow!

for those who do not know, this is the last post in this series, so hop on over there now!  i’m going to too! (this isn’t the photo on seth’s site, but i thought it would be nice to jazz up the post with a photo)

a collection of goodness

i’ve been quite bad at blogging lately and will soon be posting updates on “the tallest handmade book in the world” project and other fun stuff.  stay tuned.

my oh my, i’ve been itching to share!  my dang camera broke though and i was unable to fix it until today.  it almost feels like the world stops when the camera breaks.  silly, i know, but i’m so very dependent upon it as i’m sure most of us are as blogging artists.

so, our “tallest handmade book in the world” project is still going strong.  sir finn, my eight year old fireball has requested that the end date be april 27th, 2012.  that is his ninth birthday.  i said sure thing!  so, let’s see how tall we can get this — it’s not currently very tall but it’s gorgeous! click the tallest handmade book image on the left to read the full post and requirements if you’d like to play.

here are some peeks of less than half of the unbound pages.  i’m a tease ’cause i want you to be surprised with the whole thing at the end.  🙂

tallest handmade book in the world project peek

(i just realized i forgot to put a peek of my page in there.  ha!  at least finn’s is there… can you guess which are his?)

so, i have officially purchased a domain for the website of our wee non-profit asperger art group.  did i even tell you that i have finally started it!?  i’m so excited!  i’ve got four boys so far but couldn’t possibly take any more until we get the studio done for them (have 7 more interested kids, two volunteers lined up both with backgrounds in asperger’s syndrome and autism).  right now we’re kitchen tabling it… tight squeezes but heaps of fun!  it’s called little bug’s studio.  or bug’s art shack.  i bought both domains ’cause i couldn’t decide… and my bug isn’t going to be “little” for much longer.  next step: set up the 501c3 non-profit status stuff through the state.

it’s so amazing how much these kiddos can fight and argue while trying to play soccer or wii games or legos but you put an art project in front of them and they are so very calm and sweet.  and quiet!  my son is always one of the most audible children on earth but while doing art, it’s a different story.  ahhhh!  blissful silence.  🙂  my camera broke just two weeks before solstice so i didn’t get pics of most of our projects, but here are a couple for now.  each of the kids made a “special box” for themselves and one for a holiday gift for mamas or aunties or friends.  here are two progress photos of the 8 year old created “special boxes”:

mixed media art box, altered box

this bird part was black and white paper he colored in/painted.  his aunty said her favorite colors were “purple, red and sparkle” so the box is covered with so much glitter my house looked like a faerie had exploded in it.  it was fun to see their faces light up with their finished projects.

mixed media art box, altered box

here are the two completed boxes finn made for his aunties for solstice/christmas (the left one was a memorial box for my sister who’s dog recently passed away — he’s such a tender and thoughtful boy!):

mixed media art boxes

i wish i had shots of the rest of the boxes from the other kiddos.  there was a space box, an einstein box, another footed bird box and a pirate box.  apparently i didn’t even take cell phone pics of those!  another fun thing we did was posters of ourselves (i traced them on five foot wide paper pieces and they painted/collaged/embellished/etc. with their favorite things).  that was a hit — they all loved it and expressed so much through their art about what they like, love and appreciate in the world.  art with kids is so much fun!  especially seeing their eyes light up — such a gift!

but i must get back to adult-hood soon and finish some of my own projects.  xx

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.

IMPORTANT BOOK INFORMATION:

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):

alicia
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.)

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