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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!

UPDATE:

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:

alicia
altered bits
PO Box 83928
Portland, OR  97283
USA

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i actually finished lisa sarsfield’s book labyrinth last sunday, but since she had just posted i felt i should let her contributions to kim’s book stew a bit before i posted my contributions to her book.  i think now enough time has passed that i don’t feel as if i’m stepping on toes or anything…

part one of this post is on our pulp blog: http://pulpredux.blogspot.com.

so, if you want to see see the first pages first,
pop on over there FIRST then come back here to see the rest.
the book is called labyrinth so i’m creating a maze for you to go through if you want to see all of the pics.  i’m mean.

detail/side shot of the back page of the pieces i created for lucky dip lisa’s book.  i like making random boxes and compartments from scratch so i created one here.  had no idea what i was going to use it for initially, but i figured it out later.  😉

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

detail of the top of the boxy page, with a nice old “labyrinth” of pretty brass knotwork.

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

a little abacus of old beads, rusty wire and rusty brads (remember, my camera is evil and makes rust disappear — it’s way better in person).  lisa likes things that move, ya know…

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

close up of the mica covered, twine tied box:

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

untitled and uncovered box… a wee little nest i made with 5 1940s vintage beads nestled inside and a secret scroll note to lisa.

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

the nest in my cute hand.  the cute nest in my hand, rather.  my camera actually shows the rust this time if you enlarge.  ‘about time!

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

side view from the spine side…

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

side view from the page side.  love the threads atop the whole thing!  (that’s my pretty chocolate colored new couch it’s on, by the way).

pulp redux, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media book

all done!  that is my contribution to lisa’s book.  i will be sending it off to lisa jurist tomorrow (if i can find a large enough box!).  woohoooo!

as some of you may know, i was blessed last week or so with not one, but TWO books from the pulp redux collaboration in the same day.  i received lisa jurist’s book from kim palmer in austrailia, and i received lisa sarsfield’s book from debbie price-ewen in new zealand.  since i’m the last to work on lisa jurist’s book, i decided that i should start out with lisa sarsfield’s book entitled “labyrinth”.

i haven’t done much yet, but this is what i accomplished this weekend, or the part i’m willing to share so far.  i won’t give away my plans for the book, of course, but within my pages there will be a removable inner book.  here are some peeks at that…

first, the first two inner pages.  here i have hand stitched a classical 7 circuit labyrinth.  i did the stitching rough on purpose as i liked the little loops and tangles that came from the “imperfection”.  on the right, a small booklet within the book (that will go within the main book) explains the history of the classical 7 circuit labyrinth.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

here is a detail of the hand stitched labyrinth.  my fingers got a bit grumpy after awhile — i’m not the best or most patient stitcher in the world and after about 3 or 5 hours they stung a bit.  but it was well worth it!  four strings for every stitch — that was part of the time (and i did say i’m a slow sewer, right?).

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

on the right of this page, i attached seven vintage beads and buttons to reinforce the seven aspect of this particular labyrinth.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

this is an utterly crap and shadowy photo of the second page spread.  this is a variation of the roman labyrinth which the left hand side explains.  i’m a little embarrassed.  the stitching on this was initially perfect.  as in no lines were askew.  i sewed it onto birds nest paper and after the fact thought that it needed a quick dunk in coffee.  did it, wrung it out and poof, it dried all lame.  should i redo it?  be honest now.  the lower right was the most effected area… and bottom.  grr.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

and this is the back cover of the book — a reflection of the roman labyrinth.  i’m a horrible evening photographer — everything is shadowy and askew, but you get the general idea.  i’ll post better photos when i’m done.

altered book, handmade book, labyrinth, mixed media art

i will save the cover for later… mostly ’cause it’s not yet done.  this is just a small portion of what is to come in lisa’s book so stay tuned!

update: a few hours later

okay, just got some WAY better photos and finished and photographed the cover.  will post it all on wednesday or thursday, time permitting… just in case you want to peek back.

time, and the whole world, stops when our little ones are unwell, doesn’t it!?!!  i had my wee man in the hospital yesterday after several days of a horrible virus.  the world was already running on quarter time with him home for the summer holiday and me unable to do 75% of what i intended each day, but this week, nothin’.  i didn’t eat or sleep for the most part let alone art.  until today.  finally did the last 20ish minutes of work i had to do on deb’s book and photographed it.  omg, this thing is HUGE.  i am on an enormous box hunt.  but we’ll go there in a sec.  the bug-boy, as i call him, is now fine — much, much better.  his 103.5 fever has dropped to 99 and after plumping him up on some bags of IV fluid, he’s looking pink and precious once again.  no more of that pale faced and sunken eye crap for my boy.

part one

i posted several of these photos on the pulp blog a couple/few weeks ago, but some are “fresh” and unseen as i haven’t had the time to post as i had promised/planned:

here is the first page i created for deb’s book… the top cream part and the bottom multi-colored parts are both doors to compartments within the pages.

debs loves tiny details so i tried to add as many as possible.

close up of the cameo lady through the crackled glass.

this round glassy piece is a petri dish.  of course it opens — and of course there is something inside (something much prettier than you’d typically find in a petri dish, i suspect).

this little piece is removable.  see how crackled the petri dish is?  i’m nto sure why it has a pink tone in this photo ’cause it’s most certainly not pink.

close up of the cameo piece.  if you enlarge, you can see all of the crackle behind the lace.

cameo-girl’s head thingy opens, and behind it is a heart.

flip that piece over and you see a little pocket, complete with tiny details and a note from the gentleman in deb’s story.  i practiced “victorian era man writing” for days and hours and days and hours.  this is my “i give up” version.

around the edges of this piece is aged ribbon and little pin heads.  i guess i didn’t do a very good job taking this shot, but you get the idea.

open the creamy petri dish “door” page and this is what you see.

close up: proof of their travels.  debs had asked me when i got the book where i would be taking the couple in her story.  here are some of the places.

detail of tickets… and the tag from a little prezzie damian gave maude.

detail of the cover of the 22 inch scroll, which is her diary.

the diary scroll.

writing… every single item on the next page (er, in the next compartment) is passively mentioned in this diary, as are the things from the back of the book which will be shows in part two.

here is a collection of things maude saved throughout their travels.  deb asked me to please, please sneak a little brass frog i had into her book and here it is.  that button is actually from the late 1800s, when the book takes place.

this locket is rustier than it appears in real life.

open it to see damian (same photo lisa used) and the top of the eiffel tower.

hinges — i made these myself out of metal bits, pin heads and lace.  yummy, if i do say so myself.

the other photo didn’t capture the rust and patina, so here is a close-up.


****************************************************************************


part two

i took all of these next photos within the past couple of hours, of the “missing parts” from before and the ones that looked pinkish — the book isn’t pink, promise, but these may be a tiny bit off too.  but, you get the picture:

slightly more color accurate photo of the front.

mmm, detail.  love the glassy crackles (i’m doing this in two more pieces i’ve started in the past couple of weeks).

better coloration of the cameo piece.

the heart again.  i think the other shot was fine so now i’m probably just boring you.

here is the door on the bottom.  what is in it?  i hadn’t mentioned anything about it last time.

oh?  what’s that?  an owl?  deb loves owls, so i had to creatively incorporate one into her book somehow.  i had purchased this pendant last december or january for a birthday present for her and took 4 months to properly age it.  it was a stubborn owl.  the top ringy thing ended up breaking off due to corrosion but the brilliant and majestic kerin said something to the effect of “duh, just fix it with epoxy clay” so that is just what i did.  thank you keriny!  could not have fixed this crazy owl without you.

i love all of the greens and rust on the owl.  i crackled him too, but you can’t really tell, then put a thick layer of something i’m hugely allergic to over it to preserve the rust and patina.  hah.  that’s a funny concept to me.

okay.  i am NOT a jewelry maker.  i’m jewelry retarded.  but i liked the owl in his reborn state with this horribly rusted and green-patinaed chain so i just faked a necklace out of it.

the chain is attached to recycled green sari silk with french knots every few links, lace that i dyed on the top, and little glass and crystal beads.  maybe it was once an ornate and beautiful necklace?  or maybe it always looked a bit funky.  definitely has a bit of personality either way, even if it isn’t the best personality.

and finally, here is the back page, or the back of the treasure box book.  a pocket that holds more memorabilia that they collected throughout their travels.

close up of the pocket.  i had purchased five of these Xs from seth apter, choosing to incorporate one into each and every of our pulp books.  they are so cool!  most of this is hand-stitched though i didn’t do some machine stitching.

within the pocket is a collection of stuff.  when deb and i first “met” and became friends, we were both, quite ironically, looking at the book urgent second class at the very same minute in time.  because of this, i wanted to incorporate at least one fun altered postcard similar in concept as a friendly little happy thought between two friends.  i wasn’t intending to rip of nick bantock’s style or ideas.  i had also printed a wonderful photo onto textbook paper but it looked too much like his wonderful work so i didn’t opt to include it in the book.  the rest of the pieces are just photos and a map and such.

the backs of the two things that have backs interesting enough to share.

close up — i made this wax seal with an asian coin, wax and copper paint.  fun stuff.

i also added a little tie closure to the treasure box, just in case.

other side view with those pretty little hinges again.  and why does the lace look pink?  hmmph.

the tower of deb’s pulpness.  all of our pages together (well, deb’s start to her book, lisa’s pages and mine).  how will this be bound?♠

better shot, without the cover on top.  still not sure now she’s going to do this, but i bet it will be a wonderfully fun project indeed!

and now, i must find a new box.  i was packing everything up carefully to send this off today, but alas, i must go on a box hunt.

the moment i find a box large enough, i’m shipping this off to the lovely and ever talented kim in austrailia.  i think i’ll use the box she sent her book to me in as it was huge and may still be around here.  i hope!  i’m not recalling whose book i get next but i’m stoked!  it’s either lisa j’s or lisa s’s and i have big plans for both.

keep peeking back here often for book goodness as not only am i working on those two books soon, but kerin and i are doing a small book collaboration (i’m excited to be her first book collab partner — this is fantastically cool!!) and i’m working on an alicia book, all for myself to contain all of the little bits and stories that may be too dark or weird or ill-mannered for others.

sheesh, i haven’t posted in forever and a half. this time of year is always utterly insane with thanksgiving, no school days, mum’s birthday (have to attempt make her something sweet every year!), school parties and stuff, winter solstice and gift making, more no school days, christmas and more present making. and baking (i invented the BEST gluten free apple berry pie and gluten free pumpkin tarts though). plus the two businesses go through bouts of time-consuming insanity which i attribute to holiday shopping and “let’s make sure we get this done on this year’s taxes” — last-minute website update stuff.  i’m so glad i postponed the zine — i hardly have time to breathe!

child art collaboration, two birds, abstract, kid altered art
this is what i am most excited about and proud of this week. i have to say that i get giddy with pride and arty-bliss every time i look at this. it’s called (if i can remember correctly) “two birds pondering each other while sitting on a crooked fence under a crazy moon at the edge of a city”. it was a collaborative piece i did with my amazingly talented son (who, by the way, picked the name of the piece). he’s six. and since he came out of my body, i’m allowed to say he’s “amazingly talented” and get away with it (he thinks he’s non-artistic, hmmph!). i love his birds and i’m having him make me several of them to get tattooed around my leg, maybe wing in wing.  their beaks are so fantastically geometric and… just perfect.  🙂  he’s so cute — he wants to make art cards out of them and try to sell them on etsy (so he can buy more legos!).

long post this weekend with super good news and 6+ new pieces of art IF i can find the time to photograph them.

i spent a bit of time working on my book for the pulp redux collaboration today, and took better photos.  you can read more about it there and see larger photos, but here are a few peeks.

the title of my book is “the museum of forgotten things”.  some of these things are obvious, some are not… to anyone other than me.

page one: the frozen charlotte page.  the pearly moony piece is from my sweet friend debs, as is the lacy background.  much of the other fabric is from my sweet friend lisa.  i loved that i could include things from both of them, particularly because they are two of the amazing ladies i’m doing this international altered book collaboration with.

frozen charlotte altered book page, pulp redux

the little frame piece is painted, covered in beeswax, then painted again, and the backing that the charlotte is on is a mica sheet.  that part is double-hinged so you can see/read the charlotte poem beneath.

frozen charlotte altered book page, hinged handmade book

page two is about a lady… you can read about her in a previous post here.  the photo of the man is not the one that is supposed to be there — i lost him and replace him when i get the book back late next year.  i guess it doesn’t really matter what guy is in there though since he’s dead anyway, but i liked the other dude’s creepy mustache. the stripey burned fabric is a piece of his shirt and blah, blah — you’ll get it when you read everything as it all pertains.

obituary, diary pages, altered book, handmade book

sparing you page three for now.

page four is annoying me because the top opens, then the middle opens and that means four times more work BUT it’s fun and i like it.  it tells a story without words… that’s kind of dark but very personal for me as well.  i’m already sharing too much.  (she is from one of my collage sheets — i cheated)

anatomical imagery, altered book, handmade book, female, cervis, uterus

opened peek:

altered book, handmade book, anatomical imagery, altered bits collage sheet, book within a book

this is an old side view of the book.  i need to take a new one.  between every paper-page for everyone will be a foam core page for extra play room.  all pages will have the little loops and sticks (7 total) and i’ll, of course, stitch everything together once i get home.  i think it will be a foot thick by then (30.something centimeters for those of you who don’t know what a foot is).  ((that is an ongoing semi-inside joke — i’m not being a bitch, promise.))

stick binding, piano binding, handmade book, altered book collaboration, mixed media art

more peeks coming soon: pages five and six, and the cover.  i will be shipping this off to debrina next, in a day or three.  in the meantime go look at everyone else’s books on the pulp redux blog.

on a completely irrelevant note, except that it’s a book, lemony snicket’s first in the series of unfortunate events (the bad beginning) is now free online, here.  my little guy and i read all 13 books and althought dark and depressing at times, really enjoyed them.  actually i lie.  we read 12.5 of the books together and i finished the 13th on my own.  short version: daniel handler, er, i mean lemony snicket, was doing a book signing at a local book store.  i surprised little guy by taking him there.  he now hates lemony because he is an “asshole who doesn’t know how to appropriately joke with children” (a direct quote from my son after asking if he could get a “bad word free pass”).  anyway, good book so if you have kids or whatever, it’s free now.

most of the other gals have already posted about this on their blogs so i’m slacking and behind… and you may very well have already checked out our joint blog: pulp redux (i really have to update my thread!).  for those of you who don’t know, i am ever so happy to share that i’m doing a fantastically fun international altered book collaboration with five amazingly talented ladies.  er, four now, actually.  one had to step out of the picture, sadly, due to a family emergency.  i have the amazing privilege of playing with debrina (if you know me, you know her!), kim, lisa j. and lisa s. (in alphabetical order — you know me!)  our sixth pages will be completed by a guest artist who will not be part of the big collaboration.

some of the girls are starting with pre-existing books or albums of various sorts (which was very cool and smart!) but i opted to make my book from scratch (i seem to like to over-commit myself and get in a bit deeper than necessary sometimes).

my cover is not done as i’m waiting for a parcel of black patina, but here are some sneaky peeks.  for now, i’m leaving the book unbound so that i can accommodate it’s anticipated girth upon its return to me late next year.

i have opted to bind the pages with fig twigs and fabric.  each of the sticks contain two sets of pages that open up as a book typically does, but fold down on the inside to make for additional arty playground space.


i will do two rows of stitching on the pages between the fabric (which will later be stained, of course), then sew/embroider the sticks a little more steadily into place, then wrapping the sticks with whatever i feel like wrapping them with when the time comes.

the cover is covered with handmade black banana leaf paper, and a 3d piece will sit atop it that’s made of two layers of foam core, the top layer covered in copper sheeting, etc.  the hole in the middle will be filled with little mysterious curiosities, such as bugs, bones and mini wax-topped bottles.  big surprise, eh?  photos of that will come later because currently, the copper is super bright teal and green due to the two day vinegar bath it received and i’d like it to be way more dark (hopefully dick blick sends my black pantina soon!).


i have lined the inside of the covers with red velvet because that felt only right with the title/theme.  oh, which i forgot to tell you.  whoops.  it’s:

The Museum of Forgotten Things

in the back of the book will be a pocket (will sew it on in the end) that will contain a note from each of the participating artists, and perhaps (hopefully!) some sort of trinket or embellishment sewn onto the pocket.


for my second page (first page will be shared later), i have concocted a crazy story about a lady who, in her old age, seemed to have been forgotten as had pieces of her past.  i’m not going to give all of that away right now, but this little bundle will fit within a pocket i fashioned like a secret stash of peronal belongings.


i wrote her obituary (which was no small task as i researched geography, fonts used in that era, surnames and origins, first names and origins, modes of transport, professions of the era, etc. and created a whole story.  i’m not a writer so it bit me in the arse part way through.  this is the back view of the bundle though:


i even wrote two diary pages from this lady, essentially confessing to something she did several years previous that no one had known she had done.  yes, the peacock feather ties into the story.


luckily, i had TWO photos of the same mystery lady so was able to include a second photo of her in the bundle to further tell her story.


all of this will be tied together, as displayed above, and will fit into this pocket i’ve started:


the pocket front, of course, will be embellished with more “bits” from her story, but i didn’t finish it yesterday as i had hoped to.

instead, i created a piece of art for a friend.  i sure hope he likes it!


now i should go clean house so i can later finish my pocket and post it all on the pulp redux blog!

Seth Apter of The Altered Page recently started The Disintegration Collaboration which he was inspired to do by the natural evolution of time.  You can read about it here and here — and check out his site for several photos of other people’s contributions to his wonderful project.

I was very excited to participate in his project and even more exiting (to me) was the fact that my five-year-old son was very interested as well. Being the good mama that I am, I let him take charge and this is what he created with very little help from me:

finn's disintigration scroll

finn's disintegration scroll

Right away he said he wanted to to an Asian scroll so we hunted for things that he felt would be a good fit and he told me how he wanted the pieces assembled.  We hung it on a particularly windy day from the Asian Pear tree in the back corner of our yard which seemed the most perfect place about a week and a half ago.  It’s already looking fabulously worn by nature but I will wait to post “after” photos at a later date.  I’ll be working on my piece in the next couple of days and will post photos of it here.

You can also see Kerin’s amazingly beautiful contribution on her blog post: Designing for Decay.

blog archives: find past posts here

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the tallest handmade book in the world {project}
Pulp Redux: International Altered Book Collaboration
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