Martha's Blog

the beauty of the book

Lately I have been captivated by the book. As you may have seen in my last blog post, as part of my “play” I took an old hard bound book and noodled around with it and turned it into something else entirely. Still a book, but altered in such a way as to make it very personal and fun. Since then I got a couple of other old books that I have started altering, but have gotten sidetracked by making my own sketchbooks (blank) and another book style that I shall call the spontaneous old print book, or SOP book.

I have a lot of old, failed mono prints and pieces left from cutting up and collaging works on paper. They are nice old bits so I have hung onto them (keeping old, failed work…that is another topic for another blog) knowing that eventually I will be able to find a use for them. So I dragged some out recently and below is a sequence of interior pages from one of the books. I am planning on going back into these SOP books and perhaps drawing or painting back into the pages.

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These are full page spreads glued to board to make a sturdy book, reminiscent of a small child’s book. And here is one of the covers, made with another old print and painted tyvek for the spine which is a tough and good for an area of the book that gets handled a lot.

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I have also made a number of my own sketchbooks. I like to make my own so I can make them the size I like and with the paper I like. Sometimes I use another old print for the cover like this:

On this one I painted over an old print for the cover, adding some stencil work and some direct painting with casein paint. The blank pages inside are domestic etch paper, which is off white and soft, great for pen or pencil work although you can’t erase too much as the surface of the paper isn’t tough..

On this one I painted over an old print for the cover, adding some stencil work and some direct painting with casein paint. The blank pages inside are domestic etch paper, which is off white and soft, great for pen or pencil work although you can’t erase too much as the surface of the paper isn’t tough..

And sometimes I just use plain covers so I can doodle and paint on them later, like this:

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It takes me days to make one book, since they have to be glued and dried page by page, but it is a nice way to start the day while I am waiting for my wax to melt for my encaustic painting, or for getting warmed up to work on something else. I can work on these books for a few minutes or a few hours. It is more mechanical than creative since I have already done the creative part (the prints) making this is just a cut and paste exercise. I find it relaxing and a great way to get some new creative juices flowing.