A couple of posts ago, I showed you the new altered book piece I'm working on, entitled Book of Dreams. A lot has happened since then- I got a new computer, the school year (finally!) ended, the Figuratively Speaking exhibit opened, and then, on Sunday- I broke my ankle. I still can't believe it myself- just strolling along the creek side, anticipating a fun and leisurely search for good junk that the Spring rains might have washed down to the island (or, as the ER nurse put on the report, "looking for art materials"), I put my foot on a rock, slipped, heard a snapping sound, and found my self lying in the rocks and mud.
So, my point is, somewhere in between all those events, I was still working on the piece, a bit at a time. Not so much since the ankle fiasco, which I think you probably could have already deduced on your own, right? And, since I did not hit my head when I fell (why did the ER staff keep asking me that?), I still remember that I had promised to give you a step-by-step overview of my process. So, here goes.
I started with the front cover, which I envisioned as the gateway to the realm of dreams. I wanted to use the sphinx from a piece I had made and sold several years ago, so I used photoshop to cut out the figure, then printed it out to use as a transfer. My idea here was to do an acrylic gel transfer of an inkjet image, hoping that, if I lucked out, the resulting poor-quality transfer would have the appearance of a worn, faded illustration on the cover of a very old and forgotten storybook. (Gel transfers work best with toner-based ink, not inkjet.) I knew it would probably be a big bloppy mess, but I gave it a try, and to my great surprise, it worked perfectly. Unfortunately, the acrylic medium soon began to peel off the surface of the book cover, which was more smooth and slippery-feeling than covers I'd previously work on. Ultimately, I had to peel it off and re-do the transfer four more times, including a good deal of sanding, gessoing, and scraping; it never did look as good as it had the first time, though.
Before doing any more work on the sphinx, I glued on the map pieces and dress pattern piece that form the bottom/foreground, as well as the dress pattern pieces that form the rectangular 'door' area. Images of cuneiform characters were transferred onto the rectangular door, and transfers of the botanical illustrations were layered on top of the other images. Acrylic paint, inks, watercolor pencils and crayons, and artist pens were used to enhance the sphinx and other parts of the drawing.
I used my awl to punch holes in the book cover for the stitching, which was done with embroidery floss. After quite a bit of debating, I decided to make the letters for "Book of Dreams" from the cuneiform characters, cutting, turning, and/or altering them to make them look like English letters. Though it initially seems to work, I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.
The "door" is an old brass escutcheon that I bought on etsy, and attached with brads; the "doorknob" is strange sort of screwpost thingamabobby I bought somewhere.
Well, that's the first installment; I hope my explanations were more helpful than confusing. I'm never sure if I'm including enough information, or rattling on way too much, so please let me know. If there are things I didn't explain well, or you just want to know more than what I addressed, please feel free to ask. Likewise, if there are easier or more efficient ways to do things, don't hesitate to share these with me. I'll also be talking more about some of the materials I use, as I continue to share my process throughout this project.