Mar 24

Gothic Altered Book

It’s funny how sometimes the things that take you the longest are the least impressive. I spent a long time on this book. It had many different steps, from screwing the pages shut, to cutting the insert out. I agonized over every piece to put into the book. Which colors go right? Do I draw something, or do my drawings look too horrible? Will the frame fit? Is this piece good enough to deserve an antique key?

You don’t see the things I decided didn’t work. For example, I was going to frame the drawing, but didn’t like it. I was thinking of adding some small animal teeth from an owl pellet (too gross). I went through lots of papers too, before deciding on what I chose here. I had to doctor the little frame to make it work.

For the cover, I took a piece of printed calico and painted over it with black gesso. I wanted to have creepy tree branches, so I made two silkscreens and printed on them. I’m not happy with the silkscreens. I’ve decided that photo emulsion is the only way to get the fine detail I demand. I printed and embossed the keys with a commercially purchased stamp, and cast the key hole from a mold I made of an antique key hole I bought a few years ago. (Note to other artists: the plaster is too fragile for this purpose)

This project dominated my studio table for several months. I can’t say I’m 100% satisfied with it, but I hope I’m learning techniques which will aid me later.

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