Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Altered Book Syllabus

This week there are lots of words and not many photos. Since I am all about structure, which includes following a syllabus, I thought it was time to present this one. I know I should probably have started with the syllabus, but it didn't really occur to me until after I made up the new schedule. By that time, I realized people were chomping at the bit to get started, so a bunch of words would not have sufficed for Lesson 1.

For the class I taught before, I broke it down to a total of 12 weeks. I have extended it to 20 weeks.
The syllabus I used before has been modified, too. I found that I lost a lot of students after they realized there was going to be things like "history" and "design principles of composition," etc. that they had to take in. For some, it was simply overwhelming. That's why I have broken the lessons down even further and spread them further apart. That way, each person who wants to play, can learn, then create the technique, or pass on that week. Of course, there is nothing requiring you to show your work. It's totally up to you. Be aware that each lesson builds on the next. I hope to even get over my fear of "Mr. Linky" before then, too (grin).

For those of you who may have missed the first lesson, or must miss a lesson in the future, or just want to review one, please look for Bleubeard on my right sidebar. Click on that lesson and you will be instantly taken to it.

I would like to add that providing Mr. Linky works properly, we will be visiting your blog. So I hope you share what you have made. That will encourage your readers and followers to take an interest in this class, too.

Feel free to print off this syllabus for your own use, or to share with others who might want to take the class. Please do not use my words, my syllabus, my tutorials, or my art for your own gain, such as teaching an AB class in your community. There are enough tutorials on the web, many of them more advanced than what I'll be teaching.

Lesson 1

Picking a book and theme

Lesson 2
A brief history of altered book
Choosing your theme
Gathering ephemera
Basic supplies

Prepping your book by removing pages

Lesson 3
Prepping the outside cover of your book
Prepping the inside end pages
Creating a niche

Lesson 4
Pros and cons of glue and adhesives
A word about gesso
Playing with glue and adhesives
Playing with gesso

Lesson 5
Composition (part 1-Design Principles )

Lesson 6
Composition (part 2-Design Principles continued)

Lines and movement

Lesson 7
Composition (part 3-Design Elements)

Lesson 8
A word about color
Playing with color

Lesson 9
Making your own backgrounds

Lesson 10
Playing with magazine images

Lesson 11

Lesson 12
Folded pages

Lesson 13
Doors and Windows

Lesson 14

Lesson 15
Beyond the Basics: Decorative edges

Lesson 16
Beyond the Basics: fabric

Lesson 17
Beyond the Basics: polymer clay

Lesson 18
Beyond the Basics: student's choice

Lesson 19
Bringing it all together

Lesson 20
Decorating the cover

As you can see, we will cut our niches after we prep our books and before we begin decorating them. It makes it easier to create a niche when there is nothing in the book.

I will be teaching one lesson that you, the students request. It will be Week 18 and I will get your input at the end of week 15. Wire or beeswax are possible considerations, but please be aware that if I don't have a product, I will not go out and buy something for this class. Remember, I am all about using up what I have this year.

Totally optional: In the comments section, if you have decided on a theme, please let us know what it will be.
I have decided to make two books: one on rocking horses and one on techniques using houses.

I'm not sure why these photos won't center, but it may be because I saved them in the "new and improved" blogger format. Because I am sharing this post on CED, and because there has been only one photo so far in this post,

I thought I would use Leah's word for February, which is night. I have added a few photos that have nothing to do with altered books, the syllabus, or my themes, but everything to do with night.

26 thoughtful remarks:

gina said...

Wonderful images for the night prompt...especially loving the last one with its reflections. Have a creative week!

Helen said...

Thanks for the syllabus, I am really looking forward to it. Haven't thought of a theme yet (still!) Love the photos.

Rebeca Trevino said...

I definitely plan on joining in. thanks for doing this. i already have a book, but have not thought about the theme yet.

sandra de said...

Great, I have downloaded the syllabus, have found a book and I think I have a theme.... "Reflecting". Hopefully not too broad but I thought it would cover lots of options. Looking forward to the next week.

Artyjen said...

Looking forward to creating my book now ;) I've chosen "Friends" as a theme (real, imaginary or all points in between! LOL)
Thanks Elizabeth
xoxo Sioux

Darla said...

The syllabus looks great, I a looking forward to altering along with everyone. I'm sure there will be some great altered books to come out of this class.


Harvest Moon by Hand said...

After reading the syllabus, I'm even MORE excited about creating an altered book. Don't know my theme yet...hopefully that will come soon. The photos with the candles are beautiful - great idea!

voodoo vixen said...

I found a lovely old Webster's Dictionary which doesn't mind doing back flips and appears to stand up to abuse so I am choosing as my theme 'words and their definitions'!! I am so looking forward to this... especially cutting it up!! LOL

Currie Silver said...

I am so excited to BEgin and to BE DOing this. I found a great book at the library, The Great Book of Wine, and though it cost me $3 ;~D I think it is going to BE superb!! The people at the library are urging me to come back and show them what I DO with it, too. Which, for me, is exciting. Were it NOT for CED and AEDM and Leah, I'd still pretty much BE making my art quietly. It's so much nicer to share it AND to share in yours and everyone else's I've "met" here.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Well, I am here again....and trying not to be too intimidated! I found a book that I think will stand up to altering, but I am still looking in case I find a better one. My original theme was travel, but now I think it is too geared towards scrapbooking--which I don't do either, by the way. So, that will probably change, too. Two steps forward & one back, but I'm excited to learn!

Ann B said...

Thanks for the syllabus, I am one of those sad people who find details and plans essential and reassuring. I have two books to chose from the first is titled 'The tough-minded optimist' which seems to be a sort of self-help book (I haven't read it). Was attracted by the chapter titles - 'Never be afraid of anybody or anything', 'Like yourself, at least most of the time' - but not sure how I could incorporate these into my theme. I bought another from a charity shop yesterday, a Lemony Snicket children's book, and it cost me all of 5pence so my theme is a bit loose at present (in other words I don't have one - yet).

Titbelsoeur, mixed-media addict said...

I can't find a theme... this is my main and recurring issue
my brain is empty.
but I have the book !

BJ said...

Don't think I have either yet. Book I bought wasn't actually sewn and the possible is an old psychology textbook from college, not sure I can bring myself to use that YET! As for a theme - absolutely no idea! I have no notion where this is going at all. Googled altered book images and mainly came up with open works of art so am completely stumped right now. Will the book close of sorts and have some turning pages? SO confused. BJ

Halle said...

Beautiful candle photos!

BJ said...

Right - went out and bought another book. It definitely has a sewn spine but not so many pages approx 180 although it is thicker than my 300+ page text book - go figure! The theme of the book is nothing I am interested in as it is about a Cricket Commentator BUT the Title, "Summers will never be the same" has led me to a theme >>> Seasons. Will that work?

Dianne said...

wow, you are a very thorough instructor...I can see the logical, scientific part of you coming out...and all of us can benefit from your direction and inspiration!

Terrie said...

Intimidated but excited to give it a shot - I'm off to look for my book this afternoon - there are some good themes mentioned above....I'll have to give that a little more thought. Maybe it will be directed by the size/shape of my book find... Can't wait - and THANKS for class; you're amazing!

WrightStuff said...

Ooh what's this I've missed???!!!!

I would love to join in... but I might be running behind a few weeks. I am in danger of overload right now.

You are so generous to share in this way. Thank you :)

BJ said...

Hi Elizabeth. Have I got this right? The course "proper" starts next week on Monday 20th February 2012 and will run every two weeks (fortnightly) for 20 sessions therefore 40 weeks? Thanks BJ in anticipation.

Gwen said...

I really love the photographs of the tea lights...beautiful:)
What a wonderful thought, about ljoining in...I will definitely try to:)
Thank you!


BJ said...

Hey Elizabeth,
Yep a BIG Morse fan and since that ended, a LEWIS fan too and the latest dramatisation was over Christmas here in the UK and called ENDEAVOUR (but I shouldn't need to tell you why that name!) It was all about Morse's early days when he was in college. I bought my first video recorder when the original MORSE series was on TV here as it clashed with my Yoga class! That devoted. I read all of Colin Dexter's books and he appeared in cameo roles in alot of the series, sure I saw him in Endeavour too!
Thanks for OKing the season theme, like your idea of showing the season changes with pieces sticking off the pages - sounds great. I have loads of photos of our garden and plants, perhaps I could use them somehow.
This is all so exciting, can't wait. BJ

HeARTworks said...

Wow! Quite extensive syllabus! Thank you for your generosity! Patsy from

Dragon said...

Thanks for the syllabus... can't wait to get started

Sherry said...

This sounds so interesting Elizabeth, I'd love to have a go myself. I've added your photo of Bleubeard as a button link in my sidebar, hope you don't mind x

SandeeNC said...

Just wanted to say that I have a problem sometimes with pictures centering. When you right click on the picture and it gives you options, left, center, right...and center is already highlighted then click on left or right and then click on center and that usually works for me. Hope that made sense ;0

donnalouiserodgers said...

ah I cannot be without a book to alter, will be following, and learning,