Thursday, May 20, 2010


What would you do if you randomly found a book? Read it of course, and then? What if there are a few words that jump out at you and inspire you to give it new meaning? You also have a treasure trove of random knick knacks that you want to have in one place. And you absolutely would love to paint but not ready for a canvas.... then an Altered Book is the perfect project for you. If you are an experienced artist then an altered book is an awesome practice book/journal.

What is an altered book?
It is all about recycling, reinventing and recreating. Its taking a old/new book and redoing it by creative means into a work of art. Altered books are considered the "new and happening" art form, but it has an history which goes back centuries. It was then called by names like Palimpsest and Grangerism. 

Today altered book has evolved further more. You can use it as a fun playful and colorful journal or a practice book to try some cool new techniques. Whatever the intent... Just open the book and start working, don't worry about the whats and whys. Remember there are no rules, just some printed pages and a box full of fun supplies. So let go and get ready to carve, glue, rip and tear, sew, stamp, paint, collage and whatever it is that you want to try. And guess what, IT'S LEGAL!!

I was first introduced to altered books by the lovely Laura Gaffke in a 6 week workshop that she did in our cozy studio. 7 Artists got together under the same roof and created their own pieces of expression, emotion.. ART; under the guidance of Laura. 

I chose a book about "Wrinkle Cure" to challenge myself... and little did I know that I will end up with a book I love and feel proud off. My book is a colorful translation of the new friendships and bonds I formed in those 6 weeks. 

Millie Donovan from the Riverside Studio and Gallery is opening the doors of her studio to celebrate and share our creative friendships. Its a show about and of the works of the students of Laura Gaffke.

When: May 21st - June 18th
Where: The Riverside Artists Studio & Gallery
8-12 Broad Street
Westerly, Rhode Island
Opening Reception: May, 21st from 5-8 p.m

To read know about the participating artists check The Riverside Artists Blog.

P.S: Images in this posts are pages from my Altered book.


  1. I would be going--I love altered books. I've yet to make one, but someday... I really like how you have the freedom to just express yourself.

  2. Joy, this is a lovely post and really expresses how you exploded in this class with color, imagination, poetry and life. Thank you for sharing! See you tonight. xoLaura

  3. Diane it would be fun if you can make it to the opening:) If you are interested in taking up classes then go to and check the teachings page. She has some fun summer workshops coming up.

    Laura, thank you! You are a teacher who brings out the best of everyone!

  4. Joyita,

    Congratulations on your new book:) I hope your reception was a great success. The way you've written your post, it seems like you've got a ready made course description there. Have you thought about passing on/sharing this knowledge with others? I can imagine there are a lot of populations out there who would love to learn how to make an altered book.

  5. thanks Hannah! Thats an idea for some future blog posts :)


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