Thursday, July 16, 2009

Buried Treasure - originally posted August 2007

Seth over at the Altered Page has had, as is his wont, a genius idea:

Let's get everyone to re-post one of their favourite blog entries, so that we can flit from blog to blog and wallow in all the amazingly creative wondrousness that we might just have missed the first time around.

So here's my contribution.....

This altered book spread was first posted on my blog in August 2007, and it's not even on here any more (well, until today :)), as I pruned my blog a while ago and removed everything prior to 2008.

So I'm glad of this opportunity to re-showcase this Day of the Dead piece, as I had so much fun making it :)


I have always liked the look of altered books, but have never quite gotten around to trying one.

So I was chuffed to bits when the latest CJ turned up in the Take One Stamp circle, and it was exactly that - a fab old hardback book, with a really nice, versatile shrine stamp from Lost Coast. So nice in fact that I already own it myself.

This CJ belongs to my pal Julie, and I know she used to be a bit of a goth girlie, so I thought I could crack out my skeletons and skulls and have some real fun with a Day of the Dead spread. And that's exactly what I did. And fun, indeed, it was.

I started off with the Misfits stamp I made ages ago on the Imagepac, for my son - as I thought he'd look pretty cool inside the shrine. I stamped him in Starlite Black and then "coloured in" all the white bits with liquid pearls.

I cut a niche for him in a block of pages, and also cut an arch shaped niche above, to showcase the lovely design at the start of the next chapter. Why did they stop putting these in books? They looked great.

The bit I cut out of the top niche seemed too nice to waste, so I glued that at the bottom of the page, upside down.

Next I gave the whole thing a coat of gesso - with my fingers - I like getting messy :) and a swiping over with yellow and orange distress inks.

I wanted to mask the lettering for the title, but none of my Heidi Swapp mask alphas were "spooky" looking enough, so I cut some letters with my Cricut and ran them through a repo cartridge on the Xyron to make masks. The first letters I cut were way too small and in the wrong font, because I am spatially challenged and incapable of operating simple machinery - but they didn't go to waste because I used them on my sign in tag :)

I stuck the masked letters down, covered up my skull with a bit of tin foil to make sure he didn't get splashed, and then washed over the whole spread with watered down paint in crimson and violet.

Once the paint was dry I lifted the masks - with difficulty - that repositionable Xyron isn't as repositionable as you'd think :) - and the lettering looked like this <------------

I especially like the way the purple paint pooled around the letters in "Dia" to make a defined outline. A happy accident :)

I added various stamped images - some direct to the pages such as the ravens, the crosses beneath the shrine, and the "de los" - and some Third Coast dancing skeletons on yellow tissue paper adhered with mod podge, and bones stamped on ivory card. Then embellished with a stamped fabric trim and a jewel above the shrine and rays of dimensional paint below.

The shrine itself I stamped in royal purple Stazon onto glossy card that I had alcohol inked in yellow, orange and gold (Pinata inks and Ranger mixative), and I cut off the cupids at the top as they didn't really suit my theme.

I really wanted some authentic Mexican milagros to finish the piece off, but I couldn't find any to buy in this country (ebay let me down, horror of horrors), and didn't have time to wait for them to get here from the US. So I made my own freehand with embossing tin. I made two burning hearts and an eye, and I'm really pleased with how they turned out. Must admit I had to make about 9 to get three usable ones, but I got there in the end :) I aged them a bit with a light swipe of brown acrylic paint, and adhered them with foam pads behind the raised parts which will hopefully stop them getting too squashed.

All in all a REALLY enjoyable project. It has certainly whetted my appetite for altered books, I can't wait to work in another, or even start my own.


You'll be glad to hear, I have since started my own :)


KV Creative Designs said...

Taking the Buried Treasure tour! Your blog is great!! I will explore some more. Thanks for sharing with us!
Artful Blessings,

Kim Mailhot said...

Hey there Sarah ! Long time no hear/see/read ? ! I was so glad to see your name on Seth's list of players and this was a great treasure to uncover ! Love the colors in your piece and the fact that you made your own milagros when necessity called it awesome !
Cheers, lovely lady !

Mary S. Hunt said...

you have a way of making a person feel like you are right there with you creating!
visiting off seths list...and might glad i did
lovely work!

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

I love AB's so its always great to explore someone elses, thanks for showing some of the process too!

Sid said...

Wonderful & very inspirational material here ! LOve it !!

~*~Patty S said...

Brilliant pages and such fun reading about your process. I was smitten by altered books a few years ago and can never get enough of them!

A tired retired recluse @ said...

Wow, this was a great blog and tutorial all in one! Good on you!

Kelly Jeanette Swift said...

Hi, just going thru Seth's list.
And I have to warn you. Altering books is addictive. Once you start there is no going back.
Soon you will be lurking in flea markets and pouncing on yardsales in search of the perfect book to alter. Used book stores will be especially challanging.
Enjoy the crazy fun.

Diane said...

What a wonderful CJ story - such fun and I enjoyed going through the steps with you. AB art is on my list of things to try one of these days!

3rdEyeMuse said...

fantastic bit of buried treasure ... thanks for going back and digging out a pruned post ... it was well worth the effort - this altered book and your insights are inspirational!

deb said...

I'll just echo Kelly's warning, pretty soon people will be bequeathing you odd old books, and you will know where evry used book hides for hundreds of miles.... glad to find you, seth's a genius!

Anonymous said...

what wonderful treasure indeed! your book is amazing and i have very much enjoyed reading this wonderful post and seeing your fabulous imagery.

Ginny Gaskill said...

Hi, I'm browsing tonight. Enjoyed my visit to your site.

John M. Mora said...

Hey, put that guy back in the ground...just kidding.

Grat page - the brightness combined with morbidity and the crows maybe they are ravens...

Will be back...regards.

Debrina said...

I likey! Nice to have found you through Seth (bless his soul). Being a librarian as well as an artist, I love the fact that something that brought many adventures (or perhaps dire ennnui, lol!) can be transformed into something so beautiful. I will be back.

Priti Lisa said...

I love this art. Thank you for sharing, I'll be back.
Peace and Love, Lisa

Patti Sandham said...

Love your Altered book spread. I am a fan of bones as well. Muwahaahaa! LOL


Seth said...

Glad you chose this one. A great piece for sure but so interesting too how you described the process of creating it! Happy that you chose to join in!

ArtPropelled said...

I enjoyed reading about your process and love the Mexican milagros you made.