This presentation offers a brief introduction to altered books, and then a discussion of two altered books by artist Shelley M. House, with examples of her mixed media artwork that has been influenced by altered books.
An altered book is a form of mixed media artwork that changes a book
from its original form into a different form, altering its meaning. It’s a
book that's been recycled, rescued and then has been changed or altered
by means of gluing, painting, collaging, rubber stamping, cutting,
tearing, or embellishing.
Altered art gives a new artistic life to old and/or used mundane,
utilitarian items through the application of techniques and combinations,
some recognized as standard artistic methods, some not.
Collage is a work of visual arts made from an assemblage of different
forms, thus creating a new whole.
Mixed Media, in visual art, refers to an artwork in the making of which
more than one medium has been employed, and may include any or all of
the above techniques and genres. Most altered art is considered mixed
media, but not all mixed media is altered art, as it may not include reused
or recycled objects.
Sources: Wikipedia and FragileIndustries.com
Examples of altered books: Art-e-zine.co.uk
TEXTBOOK, AMAZING BIRDS TEEN LITERATURE, DELTORA QUEST
Colored pencil and translucent paint Sharpie blocks out text efficiently
allow all text to show through. for a bold graphic statement.
together words to
textbook on birds
poems, intended as
text for my own
New art created for
In collaboration with
British musician Kev
Moore, my altered
becomes a music
video for a rock opera
A digital collage is
created from an
as four pieces are
created for a
Leopard in a Pink Cage Flower Series: Obsession,
My Japanese Dream Into my cave I lure you,
Feed you dried herbs to
Of your fever.
We save our days,
I weave yew.
You drew waves
On the cave walls,
Longing for your ocean
fever, weave, weaver, home.
wave, every, save, saw, With the caw of the crow
was, few, drew, lure, You left me;
yew, cure, caw, wasa, Left me longing, and
cave, very, dry, crew, we Alone.
What is a Found Poem? A found poem is created by taking words found elsewhere and
rearranging them into a new poem. It is the literary equivalent of a collage. A “pure” found poem
consists exclusively of outside texts: the words of the poem remain as they were found, with few
additions or omissions. Decisions of form, such as where to break a line, are left to the poet. Example
1. Choose a page from your book to alter.
2. Carefully re-read the prose text you have chosen, and look for 10 words that stand out in the prose
passage. Circle details, words and phrases that you find particularly powerful, moving, or
interesting. What is the subject of your poem? Note what theme emerges.
3. Review your words and cut out any that don’t fit with your subject. Feel free to add others that you
notice as you go through the prose piece again.
4. Choose an image that enhances your subject.
5. Using examples from this presentation as a guide, determine how you want to integrate the
image with your poem. You may cut and paste, or redraw the image by hand. Sharpies are a useful
tool for helping your poem stand out from surrounding text.
Your altered book can become not only creative writing and art for its own sake, but also an
inspirational catalyst for your other writing projects. For instance: a bird textbook may start out as a
manual on dating, but then birds can become a powerful metaphor for a larger message.
The History of Altered Books, Examples, and How to Make One
International Society of Altered Book Artists -- a non-profit Organization
dedicated to promoting altered books as an art form and to provide a Forum
for the exchange of skills, experiences, and ideas through education, exhibits,
Beautiful examples of altered books.
Altered books and altered art by Seth Apter.
An altered book lesson plan with lots of ideas and a great list of resources.
Explains the poetic form “Found Poem.”
www.shelleymhouse.com and http://shelleymhouse.wordpress.com
Mixed media art by Shelley M. House.