I have started my first Official Altered Book!
Okay, I have another one going, but that’s a kids’ book that I’ve painted over. No signatures to thin. I don’t know why that makes it less than official, but apparently it does.
This one is a Handbook of Classical Mythology.
I rescued it the other day when I happened to pull into the library parking lot just as the trash collecting men were dumping loads of books into the recycling truck. I popped out and grabbed an armload of books for myself. Some will go back in the recycling bin. Eventually. I promise.
But this one has a sturdy cover and solid construction and so I am altering it. I’ve done one page so far:
I don’t know whether it’s done yet or not. It might be. I like simple sometimes.
I do like the way the colors came out. The page next to it is badly crumpled; I need to get better at gluing, apparently. I’ll decorate it anyway, never fear.
Then there’s the next spread, which is currently covered in this.
That? Is snubbly gesso. I made the term up myself.
A while ago Amy hosted a free class that had someone (I have forgotten who) showing us how to make our own gesso: equal amounts of paint, glue, and water, mixed with baby powder until the consistency is right. I made some at the time, but for whatever reason I ended up covering it and putting it aside. (Mine’s not white, by the way – I made it with white and Light Buttermilk, so it’s a light cream color.)
When I found it the other day is was nearly dried out, but not quite. So I broke it up and mixed some water in, figuring either it would reconstitute or I’d throw it all out.
It reconstituted just fine, but I had added too much water. So, rather than doing the sensible thing and waiting a few days, I put it in the microwave for a minute.
It didn’t have too much water when I took it out, but it had a weird rubbery texture. I spent quite a while poking it with a popsicle stick and feeling it spring back. It was fascinating.
I’ve seen recipes around the internet for making various rubbery substances that frequently involve mixing glue with other substances (like borax) and heating the mixture. So apparently the heat made the polymers in the glue bundle up and become rubbery.
Naturally, my next move was to smush it onto a page of my altered book. Because why not? I smushed it down with my fingers, then came back with wet fingers and smoothed out the worst of the bumpiness. I didn’t want too much texture. (Some artists would say there’s no such thing, and I’m still figuring out what I like, but it felt like too much.) And I left it to dry for a day to see if it would be stable or not.
It tried to curl something fierce, so I had to weight it and things, but it now appears to be stable and dry. So I guess I’ll figure out how to paint it.