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A little French history, altered art & pentimento

This is an altered art book that began life has a little French history from the turn of the last century.

It measures only 4.5X7 inches

When I found the book I thought it was a perfect size -- perfect for reading, holding and altering. The binding was tight and intact; the pages were well-sewn and the paper strong.

I collaged the pages, added layers of paint and lots of intriguing images,

Painted cheesecloth,
Beads and buttons;
Contemporary and vintage emphemera and found objects

This the second spread in the book

Two pretty bathing beauties, sunning

Relaxing on the beach . . . . and, gossiping . . . . . . .

"She didn't!", one is saying to the other

Well, just what did she do,

you might ask?

Nothing more than enjoy an afternoon picnic in the park

With two formally dressed gentlemen

. . . . . while totally nude!

I first saw this Bourgereau of the picnic scene in a restaurant lounge in Newburyport, Massachusetts and thought it a delightfully adventurous scene to enjoy while sipping champagne

The third spread is this lovely Edwardian woman wearing an amazingly large black hat

Perhaps she's dressed for afternoon tea?

But is she dreaming of Paris when she is heard saying to her friend:

"'I am going to the nicest place".


The last spread is a bevy of bathing beauties from the 1940s - a waterskiing ensemble just peeking out of that last page: the cut line below the women reads: "Born to be wild."

I made this altered book as a class sample when my friend Pam asked me to teach a class at her library in Rye NH.

Altering books is a no stress way to express yourself -- just pure joy and NO RULES! You make the rules as you go along.

Take an old book, give it new life through altering the pages and covers. The possibilities for your creation are endless and you will have created a personalized piece of art.

The process involves cutting, pasting, painting, stitching, sewing, beading, stenciling and decoupage -- some or all, if you prefer.

Choose a book for altering that is sturdy with a solid binding -- but not one that has value. Then select a theme or a concept for your book -- emotions, experiences, travel, dreams, hobbies, women of influence. Collect design elements to support your theme.

Pentimento. Do you know this term? Lillian Hellman used it in her memoir. In the book, she speaks of an old painting, with layers of paint one atop the other. Peeling away what is visible can often show a different painting or part of a painting beneath the topmost surface. Hellman says that is the artists 'pentimento' -- he or she repented or changed their minds.

There really are no mistakes.
I love the word pentimento and the concept applies well to the making of altered books. The maker gets lots of chances to repent and then go on without reservation.

This is original work
uploaded by PatStudio.
Please be kind.
Do not use without

1 comment:

Deb H said...

I love your book Pat. The Librarian must not be like the old fashioned one I grew up with. She would've had a fit at the thought of 'altering" a book! It makes me laugh to just think about it.

I like that term, 'pentimento'. Thought it sounded like something in an olive!

I remember seeing an antique quilt once, that when hung in this show you could see another quilt through the top layer. That would fit that term too.

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