Friday, March 16, 2007

Burning Books Can Be Fun!

So, guess what I’ve been knitting?

Can you hear those crickets chirping? That’s right boys and girls, I haven’t been knitting anything since my romantic entanglements with cortisone seem to be waning and I think if I can’t permanently get better after three rounds of injections into my fingers, I might just have to explore other realms for creativity.

As stated before, I have been quilting a little. And I’m starting to sew.

But funnily enough, I’ve discovered that doing really off the mark artsy crafts might soothe the barking dogs in my head.

After subscribing my son to this

I started investigating their other publication.

And then I purchased it from the newsstand.

And then I subscribed.

Now, I don’t think I am totally living on a desert island when it comes to outsider art and what I intellectually classify as “cool stuff”, but I have never heard of doing certain crafts that are in this magazine. I think I am in love with altered books.

Have I been living in a hole? I’ve found sites about altered books on the internet that go back to 2000.

If, like me, you are unaware of this freaky little activity, it involves two of my favorite things: Imagination and destruction.

You use hardcover books, cut some pages out to make more room within the covers, glue some pages together for added stability, and then you go to town.

This is not scrapbooking. Let me just state that right out in the open. While I realize that there are a handful of people that can make beautiful scrapbooks, the majority of scrapbooks leave me cold. I look at a page that has one or two pictures and twenty-nine die-cuts and stickers and all that I can think of is “Wow, you sure paid a hell of a lot of money to display one frickin’ picture. Congratulations.” Also, as stated above, I am not June Cleaver. I don’t look at some baby picture where the kid is surrounded by $40 worth of fuzzy bunny stickers and think how adorable it all is. Actually, I kind of throw up in my mouth a little. I think they recommend Prilosec for that.

So, after cutting out pages and gluing them, the field is pretty much wide open. Some people alter their books by shooting them with bullets or using fire. I tend for the softer approach. I’m sure that makes someone out there throw up in their mouth a little.

Frankly, I think it’s cool.

And it can be used as a bonding experience! Why just last night, my daughter and I were rifling through the bookcase looking for a book for her to destroy. Awww, how sweet!

Thankfully, she’s a little bit less impulsive than I am. I was just going by the fact that the books were a little smaller and the old covers looked neat. I handed her the first one, which I haven’t opened in at least 15 years.

“Wow mom, this book was around during the Civil War,” was her educated response. Hmmm, as a matter of fact, it was! It was Bartlett’s Quotations, before Bartlett’s Quotations was Bartlett’s Quotations. Better put that one back.

I handed her another one.

“Wow, I’ll bet this one is even older!” She looked for a date but couldn’t find one. No date? No “first edition?” Who knows, but I wasn’t going to be the one to accidentally hand her a first edition of Treasure Island for her to “alter”. I had a flash forward to the 40th anniversary show of The Antiques Road Show where they tell her “This book would have been worth a half a million dollars if you hadn’t destroyed it. Now, it’s worth a buck-O-five.”

My hand started reaching for the “family bible” when her voice of reason stopped me.
“Can you just buy me an empty notebook?”

Sure! And you can use that until the next library booksale. That’s when we’ll go shopping for books with pretty covers.

And then we’ll destroy them.

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