An altered book is just that: a book, either purchased specifically for a piece or rescued from a trash bin or library sale, which is somehow changed in order to switch function from book to Art.

The methods in which one can alter a book are infinite, limitless. Whether that's just highlighting words and phrases or completely gutting the form and turning it into something else.

Some turn the books into journals, painting over all but selected words and phrases, some use the embellishments and alterations to enhance the text (as in the Rumi book currently in the gallery). This is the beauty of this art form -- the methods, reasons, and purpose is all wide open and up to you.

For an example of an altered book currently in print, try Tom Phillips', The Humument , which is an old Victorian bodice-ripper that Phillips has turned into his life's work. He has, through editing, artwork, and gorgeous line drawings, turned it into a completely different, albeit abstract, story.

Over three thousand people are currently subscribed to the Altered Books Yahoogroups list , which is an excellent reference and resource for people wishing to dive right in and transform someone's castouts into one-of-a-kind artistic treasures.

There are now, also, several other yahoogroups lists (ABAlteredBooks and alteredlives, for instance) that have branched off from the "main" altered books list that are very, very good, also. (Some are a bit more "newbie"/newcomer friendly, as well. You'll find one you "fit" with if you look a bit.)

And, as mentioned on the main page, if you want some hand-holding to start right in, try grabbing a copy of HOW TO ALTER A BOOK, a one-shot artzine that ranges from the basic to the advanced and back again. You'll love it, trust me.


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