Don’t Write in the Book!

I’ve had a disagreement with my husband for years. His view is that no one should write in a Bible—or any other book for that matter. I favor underlining any passages that jump out at me. I even add comments (and sometimes the date I’m commenting) in the margins. With library books, I mark the pages and type out quotes and passages to be saved and savored again later.

For a few years now, I have enjoyed reading books and articles about “altered books” – the craft of turning books into a place for journaling and art. I love the playfulness of such projects. I enjoy seeing places where the artist lets printed word(s) show through and incorporates that into the art. It looks like such fun…and yet…I’ve never actually tried it. Oh, I have a few books sitting on my shelves, ready to be painted over and re-purposed. But I haven’t been able to bring myself to actually obliterate the words of the books. I hear echoes in my mind: “Don’t write in the book!”

altered book materials

getting ready to alter a book...

My daughter Celia has worked off and on for years on a really cool cardboard book in which she is illustrating a poem. I love what she is doing. But…still haven’t managed to start an altered book project for myself.

And then, I signed up to try something different this year for the Christmas season. In the past, I made extensive lists, also called “curriculum plans,” of activities, outings, and crafts that the kids and I would (hopefully) finish in December. This year, with Anna in public school and Jakob in those teen do-I-have-to years, I’m trying something new. No lists, no “curriculum plans,” no outings, no crafts… I’ve signed up to participate in an on-line group that will complete an art journal entry a day from December 1st through January 6th.

Participants will be scrapbooking, journaling, sketching, photographing, and otherwise artfully responding to journal prompts each day. Some will focus on this particular year’s celebration. Others, including me, will make this a general reflection on our family celebration of Christmas over the years. Each day participants will scan that day’s entry and post it on-line for everyone else to enjoy. Sounds fun to me!

In pondering what I want to do with this, I’ve decided to break the barrier. I found a small (5”x5”) Christmas gift book in the clearance rack at the Christian bookstore. I’ve been busily at work getting ready for the project to start next week…organizing which topics fit best with which photos or words already in the book, and PAINTING THE BOOK!

painting in the book

I'm not just writing in a book...I'm PAINTING IT!

Yes, it’s true…I’m not just WRITING in the book, commenting on and leaving words intact. I’m covering over the words, obliterating what is already there, “destroying” the book as-it-is!

Ahhh…I’m finally on my way to trying my hand at making an “altered book” art journal. Now that I’m ignoring the voice in my head that’s telling me how “bad” I am to destroy a book…wish me luck with the fun this month!

Christmas Journal_sample page

Painted page...ready to be journaled on in December.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sharon
    Nov 28, 2011 @ 07:44:54

    I so would love to see this when you finish. What a treasure it will be.


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