Altered Books, Turning One Form of Art Into Another

jacqueline_madsen_book_art.jpgAn example of altered book art by Jacqueline Madsen. Photo by Jacqueline Madsen

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

Writers create images between the covers of books that only your mind’s eye can see, but some artists also create literal images in those same pages.  

This weekend, a local artist will lead an altered book workshop sponsored by the Kodiak Public Library Association. Jacqueline Madsen, who works in mixed media, says she’ll introduce student to a number of different techniques.

“Making cut-outs or using old books as art journals, three dimensional design, sort of using a book as your canvas if you will and some easy ways to dissemble a book, so if you just want to use the cover, so you could take the guts out and maybe use them for a different project.”

She says she’s worked with books as a medium in her own art.

“One of the pieces I have, it’s 3-D and I basically used paper like tissue paper, sort of like you would do papier-mâché, and I’ve also done sort of a shadow box piece where I actually made a little three dimensional sculpture inside of the book, one I cut out the pages, and another one I just took the pages out altogether and made a little diorama inside.”

Madsen says students can use books that have seen better days.

“Old dictionaries and encyclopedias are great because nobody has use for them anymore, and they tend to have a lot of really cool illustrations that you can use in the design of your piece. But any hardcover book really lends itself well. Old textbooks, really great old vintage books are fun to use because again they have some great illustrations.”

Madsen says she’s not suggesting students use valuable books. The way she describes the craft makes it seem like a form of recycling for unloved paperbacks and hardcovers.

“I think it’s a great way to repurpose something and turn it into a work of art that is no longer of use to anyone. An outdated textbook from the 70s or even the 60s is likely going to end up in the landfill. Thousands and thousands of books every year get sent to the landfill and shredded.”

Madsen says the workshop will take place Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Kodiak Public Library and the entry fee is $75, which includes the tools and materials Madsen will provide.

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