No Rules Art: Creating Altered Books
By Janel Atlas
Altered books are a great medium for exploring different artistic methods between the covers of an old unwanted book. It's also a wonderful way for your teen or tween to open up, get in touch with his creative side, and express himself.
Most of us were taught never to write in a book, but a fun and creativity-inspiring art form requires you to do just that: alter a book into your own expression of yourself. For adults, this craft can supply a great medium for tracking family history. Teens and tweens will love the graffiti-like quality of self expression that altered books can offer.
To learn more and get started on your own altered book project, check out our primer and how-to guide!
What is an Altered Book?
An altered book, according to the International Society of Altered Book Artists, is "any book, old or new, that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art." Altered book artists change a book by cutting or rebinding; covering pages with collage, drawings, or photographs; stamping images on the pages, and highlighting particular words or images, while covering others. Different than a scrapbook, altered books are preexisting books that are complete in and of themselves, not journals or blank bound volumes. Take, for instance, an old children's board book or a dusty garage-sale find and personalize it by adding your own thoughts, images, and art.
"Scrapbooking is using photos of your family and journaling a particular event" or time, says Aileen Roberts, a California-based mixed media artist. "Altering books is not the same as scrapbooking. Most altered book artists are using the book as their canvas and altering it into an artistic statement just like you would a canvas or a sculpture."