Altered Books: Owl of the Arctic

The Snowy Owl marks the end of the owl series of altered books I’ve been working on (at least until I can find more to use). This is the largest owl of the five, and probably the most intimidating with that glare of hers.

Altered Books- Snowy Owl-5

The composition for this one is pretty spare, and I’m struggling with whether to leave it as is or add a little “something”. From what I can tell these types of owls don’t perch in trees, and their environment isn’t very colourful. I decided to share it even though it feels unfinished.

Altered Books- Snowy Owl-3

Altered Books- Snowy Owl

I divided the book into four sections and folded these in alternating directions. I refolded some of the page ends to suggest a rocky (icy?) environment for the owl, and added silver and blue paper as the end pages.

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My next step is to frame this one along with the other four. All of these will be on display and available for sale during the Eastside Culture Crawl in November.

Materials used: used book, decorative paper, paper owl, cardboard, white glue, and gel medium.

Altered Books: The Less He Spoke The More He Heard

When I first began creating altered books I would go to great lengths to come up with these wordy titles. I haven’t really been doing that lately but for this one I decided to go back to my former way of coming up with a title, which is asking google. In this case I looked up “quotes with owls”.

Altered Books- Long eared owl

This is a Long-Eared Owl, and though its ear tufts aren’t actually ears I like the idea that it’s a good listener.

The book was very fun to fold and I love the way the bottom and top sections swirl around one another. With all of these owl books I’ve been folding pages a second or third time after the initial sectioning and folding. It can be a tedious process to crease a three hundred page book and this is how I keep things interesting. It also has resulted in more sculptural work.

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Altered Books- Long eared owl-3

For the Long-Eared Owl I returned to making leaves using a paper punch and printed paper to create the suggestion of a tree. I also selected very dramatic Asian-inspired black paper with a gold pattern as the end pages.

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Altered Books- Long eared owl-2

There is one more owl altered book to unveil, so stay tuned.

Materials used: book, fancy paper, paper punch, paper owl, cardboard, and white glue.

Altered Books: The Dovecote

I really loved this one as I worked on it and then when I finished I didn’t like it anymore. Now that I’ve had a few days to step away and look at it again with fresh eyes, I like it again. I think I was struggling with the lack of colour.

Altered Books: The Dovecote

With this one completed now there are four of these books with trees/birds/doorways. I keep thinking about these as the “Birdhouse series” because the trees with doorways are homes for birds.

Altered Books: The Dovecote - detail

The small white birds are a set of wood buttons I picked up at Button Button last year. I’d forgotten about them until last week when I was looking for something to work with. I have a few more of these that are in flight, and then four black crow buttons as well.

Altered Books: The Dovecote - detail

Altered Books: The Dovecote - detail

I realized after finishing this one I don’t enjoy working on this series of books as much as I do the owls. The process isn’t as creative because I’m using a lot of the same elements and ways of making them. I think this may be why I stopped working on this series when I first started it last year.

I’m sure I can find a way to make the process more interesting…

Materials used: book, bird buttons, inkjet print of my photo, resistors, rubber stamp and ink, white glue, and gel medium.

Altered Books: The Great Wise One

Owls are enjoyable subjects to work with because they have more expressive faces than the average bird. The previous owl looked cute and sweet while this Great Horned owl looks slightly bored but also intimidating.

Altered Books Great Horned Owl

With this book I began with an exploration of a different way of folding the pages rather than deciding on the composition I would work towards. It was challenging to work with three different directions of folds but the end result is a fascinating pattern and shape to the book.

Altered Books Great Horned Owl-4

I left Mr. Horned Owl (the Great) attached to his branch and decided he needed to be sitting majestically in a tree. I rolled a few pages to give him something to rest on and suggest the shape of a tree. The leaves were the final touch that I really wasn’t sure was going to turn out as well as it has. These are made with a leaf-shaped paper punch and I’ve used them to add colour but keep the focus on the owl.

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Altered Books Great Horned Owl-3

I’m going to keep exploring the subject of owls for a few more books, at least until I run out of the birds. To keep things interesting I’ve set myself the challenge of playing with new ways of folding the books as I do them.

Altered Books Great Horned Owl-2

Materials used: book, patterned paper, leaf-shaped paper punch, white glue, and gel medium.

Altered Books: Awaiting the Golden Egg

If you haven’t guessed by now the theme for the series I’m working on for the Culture Crawl is “Birds”. The work I shared yesterday is one “style” of altered book I’ll be making, and this book is representative of a second group of books I have planned.

Altered Book-6

I actually started this series back in March 2010 when I created two niche cut books using imagery of trees and bird-related items. All are made from books that are blank inside and out, because they were publisher mockups for the hardcover version of Harry Potter novels. My friend Siobhan saved them from the bin and gifted them to me for altering.

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Altered Book-9

I’m going to continue to create these using similar elements: a doorway cut into a tree with items related to birds on the inside, and a design printed along the edges of the closed pages. While I really like the use of small twigs incorporated into the previous two books in this series, having them makes it difficult to store/ship the work because they stick out and are delicate.

Altered Book-7

Materials used: blank book, ink jet print of photo, transparent egg, gesso, book page scraps, wine cork, rubber stamp & ink, and gel medium.

Upcycled Collage: Hummingbirds

I’m still a week behind on sharing new work, but my excuse this time is vacation. Boris and I were on Pender Island with friends for five nights and it was a glorious getaway for all those involved. I debating doing a big of blogging while I was there, but I preferred having a laptop-free break.

The base for this collage is the cover of a wooden cake box originally from a Hotel in Germany. I picked it up at Value Village and am saving the rest of the box for a future mixed media piece.

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds

With the hummingbirds I decided to make yet further explorations into creating what I wanted by cutting the shapes from paper. This time the usual clouds, but also leaves, branches, and a nest for Mrs. Hummingbird. The wood was first layered with strips of sewing pattern paper to tone down, but not hide the existing text.

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds-3

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds-2

I left the original metal hardware on the box lid, as you can see at the corners and part of the latch on the bottom edge. I like trying to incorporate as much of the original details of these found materials as I can. I hope I can source more wooden boxes from Value Village before I run out of what I have.

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds-4

Materials used: wooden box lid, security envelopes, book page scraps, sewing pattern paper, and paper birds.

Little Birds in the Snow

Little bird in the snow

Before I had a bird of my own I had no interest at all in winged creatures. I may have even thought they were boring. Then my sister brought home a breeding pair of lovebirds, and soon I had a cheeky little bird of my own, one I’d raised from an egg. Many years and one lovebird later, I am fascinated by birds of all kinds and am capable of watching them for hours on end (dorky, but true).

My apartment is a great spot for watching small birds like sparrows, chickadees, and dark-eyed Junco, and I’m amazed how these tiny things can survive just fine in cold weather. I think they look warmer out there than I do in my many layers… I’m a bit worried about them not finding enough food with all this snow so I decided to purchase seed for them and put it along my window sills. They are very entertaining as they help themselves to food and bob up and down to keep an eye on me through the window.

The Field Guide: Birds of British Columbia group on flickr for plenty more bird photos.