Monday, October 5, 2009

Tutorial - The magic of touch - practice book

The tactile senses are engaged when you handle an altered book. There is something very intimate and engaging when you not only see and read one - but when you touch it. It's like the difference between sitting curled up in a chair with a book to read, or having a Kindle. It adds a whole other dimension and I truly wish that it could be shared online - but it is the missing link.

I often back some pages with masking tape and paint over it. I dont' know why I like the feel of it so much. One of the places I use this technique is when I am altering pages consecutively to add strength. Occasionally I'll cover an entire page with clear contact paper. Usually it's to protect something fragile - but sometimes it is because I want it to be wonderfully smooth to the touch.

Different papers have unique feels to them. Smooth, grainy, linenlike, etc. Do you like to have the same "touch" all the way through a book, or do you like a variety? This is just another place where you can experiment. Sprinkle some glitter, or sand into some gel medium and you get a whole different experience than just the visual image. Folds in the paper, or using corregated paper are other examples. Do you have a collection of interesting papers with different touches? Can you duplicate them? If not, you can glue them in. Maybe cut into interesting shapes, or grids. Let's try some of these methods and techniques in your practice book. Devote a few pages to surface textures. Have some fun.

If you do something experimental that you think you might forget how you did it - just write down your formula on the back of the page - or leave a note attached in the book.

Later we will expand on this with other ways to add textures with fabrics, yarns, beads, threads, pine needles, leaves, etc. We'll also play around with raising images and coating with products like clear glazes.

The photo above is from an altered book on Nevada, my home state. The children on the left are my brother and myself. At the base of the deserted mine shaft on the right side, I sprinkled sand into gel medium. I did this a few years ago. Now, I find there are products available on the market to give the same effect. You might want to explore some of them too.


  1. Your description is so good that I can feel the pages with my eyes. Thank you for sharing the altered bookmaking with us.

  2. I would love to see aprons return as a trend. There are so many unique ones and they're so easy to make. Please keep wearing them...