Artistic Ventures: Altered Books (or What I’m Doing When I Should Be Writing

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20151120_091458I find it easier to “do art” than write. While I love writing and I need to write, there is something about painting or drawing or melting (that’s the hot wax encaustics) that calls to me and pulls me in, even when I’m feeling bored, uninspired, or flat-out fatigued.  When I’m feeling “ugh,” I can still “do art” and feel like I’ve been creative. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mean to imply I’ve created a masterpiece but rather simply have achieved some creativity.

Probably my inner Creativity Junkie talking.

Writing, on the other hand, requires that my brain cells line up and fire. 20151120_065003
And that doesn’t always happen the way I’d like. In fact, often the more I try to make it happen the less success I have. So I fool myself. I do some other form of creative activity to trick my brain into getting into writing mode.

And I love it when the sneaky activity involves something with which I’ve had a love affair my whole life – books.

20151120_064428 (1)This month, my daughters (you remember them from their starring role in this post?) and I have worked on creating altered books. (<– Mine is still in the  early stages, but I’m all for showing works-in-progress so I’ve posted a picture nonetheless.)  20151120_064807

I love that the girls each embraced different aspects of altered books. One daughter got into the words on the page. Another folding. Another painting. Another adding feathers and other tidbits. One book features a shadow-box-like cutout.  I’ve set them out around our house to serve as decorations in honor of National Novel Writing Month – this may not be what the authors thought would happen to their works, but I think it makes a nice tribute to the world of the written word.

20151120_065410If you’re feeling uninspired when it comes to writing, I recommend tearing into an old book (library discards are wonderful for this!) and turning it into a work of art. Or a work of creativity if the word “art” is too intimidating.

Have you created an altered book? If you have one or decide to give it a go, post a pic! I’d love to see what you come up with. Altered books not your thing? Share what YOU do when you should be writing! 


14 Comments Add yours

  1. amymorrisjones says:

    Those books are beautiful! The book lover in me panics a little when I even underline something, though, so I’d have to find a book I really dislike and turn it into something lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat says:

      I know what you mean!!
      I had a hard time with the first “rip” – but I chose books from the library discard pile that I could handle watching be torn/painted/folded, etc. It’s actually very freeing once you dig in! 🙂


  2. vhosking says:

    My daughter had this art project in 8th grade art class. She came home with a book with all the pages folded weirdly. Now I am not one of those you have to keep a book pristine looking, but I couldn’t figure out how she got all the pages folded so strangely until she told me it was on purpose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat says:

      Ha! That’s great!! The first time my youngest folded the book in the name of “art” it looked more like she went crazy with dog earring the pages! 😉


  3. allyperezcat says:

    Love this! Especially, love your decorating for the event.. as we decorate for other holidays! Great reminder to be in the “spirit of writing”, just as decorations for Christmas, help you be the in “Spirit of the Season.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat says:

      Exactly! Plus, I needed the visual kick-in-the-pants to be working on my novel whenever I wandered out of The Hole. 😉


  4. James Stack says:

    Cool decorations. And a wonderful family project. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jennifer McCann says:

    Kat! I’m a fan! I am crafty too – scrapbooks, painting – and I’ve always wanted to do what you do to books, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it just yet. If you are not already a fan of Ken Oliver, I urge you to look him up. He’s awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat says:

      Whoa – thank you for the recommendation! He is awesome!

      If you’re hesitant to rip into a book, try altering a magazine or an old map book first. One of my daughters is altering an old children’s dictionary from our earlier homeschool days. 🙂


      1. Jennifer McCann says:

        I’m going to try! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kat says:

        Awesome! Post pics if you do it! I love seeing art in action!


  6. scaserta11 says:

    Reblogged this on Car Thoughts and commented:
    Once again… I am surfing the web rather than writing!

    And look what I found, beautiful art! I once used an old book for a photography experiment. I will have to find it and add a picture! What do you guys think of using books as art such as these, is it sacrilege or amazing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat says:

      My vote? “Amazing!”
      I would LOVE to use a book like that in an altered project! You can’t take it with you when you go, and if the art book has lived its life as a “book” then I say it should be reincarnated as art!

      Liked by 1 person

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