Monday, May 28, 2007

Altered Books

Altered books is a form of art whereby paint, collage, and just about any other media is used to to alter pages in a book. Sometimes pages or whole sections of pages in the book are glued together or cut out to further modify the book. Some people have a problem with this because they don't like seeing a book "destroyed." Personally, I think it's a neat way to keep a garage sale special from ending up the the garbage can.
Last week, while visiting my friend Karen in Ohio, we stopped by the local art museum. We happened upon an exhibit that included several altered books, or book sculptures by Clare Murray Adams. Karen and I had fun interpreting this series of books. Although it wasn't exactly what the artist intended, we saw the books as reflecting a writer's thoughts and feelings throughout the process of writing. Some of the books were wired shut, some had the spines ripped from the bindings, some had shredded paper spilling out from the covers.
If you struggle with writing, especially writing for publication, perhaps you can identify with either wanting to physically and dramatically alter the book or the conflicting emotions that arise when others view and possibly alter our work. Seeing this book sculpture series makes me want to keep a few old books on hand for when I feel the need to rip out some spines- umm, I mean, express my feelings on the struggles of writing.
BTW, we know our interpretation of the book series wasn't what the author intended because shortly after we arrived, she came in to brief the docents on her work. So we got to hear her lecture on her materials and process. Too cool.

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