Friday, December 22, 2006

A New Project

Daughter #1, who is an avid reader, and I have begun a new project. We are going to create an altered book based on some favorite authors--(in no particular order) Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, John Steinbeck, The Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, and Edgar Allan Poe. I am excited about working on this and finding elements that will represent each author's theme and setting.

We have divided the project in half so that we are each responsible for the pages related to four authors (I'll let you guess which ones are mine). I will say that I have begun with Dickens and have a great old sepia sketch of him sitting at a writing desk, and I have printed it on a timeline page that I ripped from a cheap copy of The Old Curiosity Shop. I also have his signature and an illustration from Oliver Twist approaching the fat man in the dining room. I have added the text "I WANT more," which will represent Dickens' general theme of the upper classes neglecting the lesser.

Daughter #1 and I have different approaches to design. Last spring we went to a pottery shop, the kind where you paint a cup or bowl or something and leave it for the shop to fire in the kiln. We each chose a mug and painted them with colors that represent the words and phrases of Psalm 23 (white for shepherd, green for pasture, blue for still waters, and so on). My mug was all squiggly with only one straight line across the top. Daughter's mug was nothing but straight lines carefully masked with tape. Both cups are lovely, but when we set them side by side, we had to laugh at how they represent our distinct approaches to the world.

Anyway, back to the altered book. Our base is a hardback copy of Holistic Living by Neal Donald Walsch. Blah blah blah, I said when I looked through it, and I can't wait to hack it up. My favorite thing about it is the deckled pages, so I will do what I can to preserve that. I'll post pictures when we are finished.

Correction: Oscar Wilde has been scrapped for F. Scott Fitzgerald.

13 comments:

RICH said...

Robyn - do you know that I have a few old very old books in my own personal library. Maybe I could give you the name of these books and you could tell me if thay have any historical significance?

Sassy Sundry said...

That sounds really cool. Do post!

dive said...

Twain, Steinbeck and Dickens I'm pretty sure would be yours; I would guess at Hardy for the fourth but I'm probably wrong (all eight are great anyway).

You know how obsessive I am about books, but I must admit that ripping up non-books (like your 'holistic' one or all the crappy non-books that fill the shelves at Christmas, or Dan Brown) is a fairly attractive idea.

Robyn said...

Rich, I think Dive would be a better source for you. He's a book connesieur (pretty sure that's misspelled).

Sassy, I'll post as we go, I think.

Dive, close. Twain, Dickens, Hardy, Brontes. I love Steinbeck, but so does my daughter, at least now that she has read East of Eden.

One of my favorite memories from my first trip to London was standing in the Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey and seeing Hardy's marker. I learned to love him in high school when my senior English teacher made us read Return of the Native, which I think may be my least favorite Hardy novel.

Robyn said...

My second favorite memory of that first trip was seeing the original score to the Messiah in the library at the British Museum. What a dork.

dive said...

Well, it's back to the British Museum for me. I've missed that one.
The trouble is, there's always way too much to see there, it would take weeks to see all that's on display (and I keep getting distracted by all those hordes of Japanese schoolgirls that hang around the place).

I know how you feel about Poets' Corner. My office is just down the road at the back of the Abbey, so I can easily pop in on the rare occasions when it's not too crowded with tourists (usually two rainy days in November).

dive said...

Talking of The Old Curiosity Shop, I've just dug around and found an old copy in Portuguese (A Loja De Antiguidades) I found in a Cascais antique shop.

"Capitulo 1: Conquanto eu seja um homem de idade, é geralmente de noite que costumo passear. De Verão, saio muitas vezes de casa, de manhã cedo, e vagueio o dia inteiro por campos e azinhagas, ou até me escapo durante dias e semanas seguidas; mas, a não ser na aldeia, raras vexes saio antes de escurecer, conquanto, graças ao Céu, eu goste tanto como qualquer ser vivo da sua luz e sinta a alegria que ela espalha sobre a terra."
Etc.

There's a translation exercise for hubby …

Robyn said...

Dive, my husband doesn't speak Portuguese--his father didn't teach any of his children and only spoke it on the phone with relatives. It's a pity.

I remember seeing the Messiah just around the corner from an original scrawl of a Beatles song, and I thought the contrast was fascinating.

Gina said...

Well, after all this scholarly and worldly discussion between you, I am going to chime in with a "cool!"

Alifan said...

Wow.. what clever people... I am one of the people that Dive accuses of reading "non books", but I love to know that there are still people who love books...of any sort..... and I did teach my sons to read before they went to school, so hopefully it helped them to love reading, and they did go on to better things, didn't you Dive!!!!!

Utsav said...

Hmm interesting.. Though I'm not sure I understand exactly what you're planning to do (dumbah!), it's a pity Wilde got left out- it would be interesting to fit in 'The Importance Of Being Earnest' into something that makes sense, LOL..

And Dive, if you're ripping Dan Brown, one in my name please!

Robyn said...

Alifan, I have read a non-book myself on occasion, but this one I am destroying is just useless.

Utsav, altered books are an art form by some estimations, but I still haven't decided. I guess it depends on the execution. You glue a bunch of pages together to make fewer spreads, and then you add and take away to the remaining spreads with things like paint and crafted paper and other type to create colorful artsy-fartsy presentations of a theme.

Utsav said...

I just ran a Google search on the subject and it seems very interesting indeed. Thanks for introducing me to this- I'd never even heard of it. Sigh, there's so much to know...