Altering books

It’s been a couple of years since I tried this, running into a few issues I didn’t bother dealing with at the time.

First of all I didn’t realize for how long acrylic painted surfaces will stick together, so despite curing for weeks, after being stacked my lovely covers were as glued together and then ripped when I separated them. Same thing happening with many of the pages. I’ve since read that you can use decoupage varnish (or was it dec. medium? Is that the same thing?) because that doesn’t stick. I’m leaning more towards using other paints than acrylic on the inside, such as gouache or coloured pencils + collage.

In my case fabric would be an obvious choice for covers, so I may look into that as well.

rep_book02 rep_book01

I was also quite annoyed that they wouldn’t always stay flat open even though I’d removed many pages, making it difficult to work because I couldn’t leave them out to dry. So I clearly need to learn to pick the right books or make my own from scratch.

I’ve salvaged some pages I liked, repaired 2 covers, and thrown out the other 3 books that didn’t have proper signatures – the ones that are single pages glued to the spine are the ones most likely to not lie flat.

And I just found two really filthy books in the hayloft, which had somehow survived the purge before building my studio.


One I’m having doubts about, the spine is missing, the rest of the cover is also not in good shape so I can do anything to it without regrets, it opens completely flat. But it’s also an atlas, and I love maps. Not ancient, just 1953, but still, I hesitate to paint over them! The other doesn’t open quite as well, but perhaps better when I remove some pages, the cover is in better shape and I couldn’t care less about the inside (It’s a bird book, so there is some use for a few images I’m sure). I don’t live near any antiquarian bookshops, and frankly what you see in local fleamarkets are modern, cheap book club items with crummy bindings and no appeal to the imagination at all.


I’m not sure why I bother, I could do my beginner doodling on regular A4 pads from the supermarket, but they’re not very sexy.

Of course this is the kind of book that turns me on, and I’d probably be afraid to write in it ever:


I have a whole bunch of ideas for relief making, but I don’t see a space in my current budget for a die cutter, so I’ll have to look at other, more fiddly options such as scalpel or molding paste.

It’s quite normal that I begin to do sideline projects when it’s not possible to get enough time to keep my focus on planned projects. This was the result of clearing out shelves and finding bits and pieces, of course my brain is not content to stay with the chores and lures me to play!   :mrgreen: I’ll be back with photos if/when I manage to pursue this further, I’ve already been interupted a gazillion times during the making of this post, so nothing is done-done.

Panels 2 – Patchwork t-shirts 1

Again, why go to all this trouble for old dingy t-shirts? A: for the learning experience, B: budget, C: I have a fairly good idea what types of clothes I’d like to wear, but I never see them in shops; if I do they rarely fit in all places at once and it’s way too expensive if you’re expanding too fast. So I’m hoping if I keep at it I might actually – eventually – be able to put into the world the things that are simmering in my head. In the meantime I always need clothes to paint in, clean barn in, being kneaded by cats in etc. and it makes me feel better if they start out dingy so that I haven’t ruined them when the first stain appears.

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Designing with panels

Having whined ad nauseam about my new grandmotherly weight class I thought it about time to share some solutions I’ve pondered (apart from eating less). There are wardrobe issues such as:

1139-2Winter warmth – just about the only menopause symptom I haven’t had is hot flashes. Oh no, I get all the obscure ones. Woollen sweaters sometimes take me years to finish, so imagine how long they can be worn if you grow 1-2 sizes per year. Oh and the mild weather sweaters take longer because thinner yarn = smaller stitches! So I’m going to reinvent my construction method, which usually means a fairly close knit or the wind just blows right through to my delicate skin. Even indoors believe it or not. Also, tighter knits and firmer yarns have better durability to wear and tear that the looser, more flattering drapy fabrics don’t. The problem being of course they don’t have as much give and leave you feeling like a sausage as soon as your planned ease turns negative.

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