make an altered book

altered book
“an altered book is any book, old or new, that has been recycled by creative means into a work of art.”

– from the minneapolis public library altered books exhibition

i’ve been working on my altered book for a few years. i found an old copy of the letters of paul gauguin to georges daniel de monfreid at midway books in saint paul back in 2004, and while i don’t add to it as much as i should, it’s a piece of art that can constantly change and evolve.

i personally feel that the book you alter should have some meaning or inspiration. rather than picking a random book, find a work of literature that you love. or an old cookbook. or an art history book. or a children’s story that you read over and over as a child. if you can’t bear to alter a book you already own, visit a few used bookstores to find what you’re looking for. then start altering! add photos, images cut from magazines, do some painting, cut and/or fold the pages… stick with a theme, or make changes as the mood suits you.

let the book inspire your work! my book contains letters written by gauguin, so i decided to handwrite write letters of my own over the type. the letters are to my mother, and are intensely personal and not intended to be readable. i’ve done a little collaging, some polaroid transfers… more images of my book after the jump!

altered book
collage with photo i took of a building in berlin

altered book
polaroid transfer of a photo i took in new york’s chinatown

altered book
letters to my mom

we’ll be starting altered books at our next pARTy. each person will start a book, and then at a future date, we’ll start swapping them and each person will be able to alter a page or two!

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