"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time." -Thomas Merton

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Altered Book

Recently, I was inspired by a fellow scrapping muse to work on my first altered book entry  for the book I had prepped several months ago and put away until I was inspired to work on it. When my muse said she was going “vintage book” shopping at some local thrift stores for an art journal book well that sounded like a fun trip to me. And, I was instantly reminded of the time I spent painstakingly removing pages from my art journal book with a ruler, and an exacto knife.   

Here’s Josie, my first entry in an altered book.

Some tips:
When you tear the pages out leaving a small lip of paper inside the book, glue the lip of paper down to your working page to add some stability to the book and prevent the pages from falling out of the book.
A light application of gesso was applied and I tried not to cover up too much of the title of the chapter, “Glorious Queens and Slavegirls.”

After applying the colored mist to the stencil/molding paste application, I applied a layer of clear gesso over some areas so that the second coating of the light colored mist wouldn’t be repelled too much and add more depth.  Clear gesso will absorb light mist colors beautifully and not repel them like white gesso does. Soft and light stamping was applied in the background using the Grey StazOn ink pad. I have left some space for journaling on this page.
I like the idea of adding charms hanging from ribbons on various pages so that they dangle from the bottom of the book.  This Josie charm was made with the EZ Shape Studio tool, and an EZ Shape Studio metal charm.  An application of gesso and bronze ink was applied to age the charm. I cut out some Prima rhinestones (the same ones used on the Blue Fern Studio flourish chipboard) and affixed them to the top of the frame. Inside the frame, a small piece of lace was placed on top of the Riddersholm paper, and the resin piece was placed on top of the charm.  

I made some mistakes in the process and hope to not repeat them again on the next page of the book which has already begun. The cover of the book will be done last because during the process I found I was handling the book quite a lot and I was applying pressure to the spine when working the pages. 

Not much is known about Josie as a person, and in looking at this photograph I have many questions to ask her: Did she marry as a trade, or was she in love with the man she married; what were her politics; did she believe or participate in the women’s suffrage movement; did she, like so many others during the Gilded Age, enjoy bicycling as a popular activity; what was a typical day for her like during that time in history; did she have her dresses made like so many other women in their early 20’s before stores like Selfridges were created.  It boggles my mind how she was able to live her life without our modern day conveniences, and for that I am truly grateful she came before I did.
I hope my fellow scrapping muse and I have inspired you to shop for a vintage book and start creating your first altered book. I found I really enjoyed working on smaller pages, and of course these books are much easier to store than a 12 x 12 layout.  For those of you that have already produced altered books, please let me know where I can come view your work for more inspiration and ideas to fill up the remaining pages of mine. 

Thank you for visiting.
Some products used:
You can purchase Blue Fern Studios chipboard here.

Prima Rhinestones use on the chipboard flourish and small charm.



  1. Fantastic, Joyse! Great job, I love it! Lilli

  2. I love all of the texture and colors; the fall of your flowers on the first page is stunning!!!! (Thanks so much for all of the tips!)

  3. Ohhh....you did an awesome job with this page! It's more than gorgeous! I've been thinking of starting a book of my own for a while now. My house is too small for all of my projects and a book or art journal would be easier to store. Thanks for the inspiration Joyce!! xxx

  4. STUNNING sigh, - this is so beautiful!! Love how some of the text still comes through the page, fab tips too! Thanks for this wonderful inspiration!!

  5. Hi Joyce! We featured you lovely altered book page on the Blue Fern Studios blog today. Such a beautiful way to use our chipboard.