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26th Aug


Altered Books

Giving people confidence to make a start.


Altered Books

Here I am convincing a young Argyll Youth Arts participant to make the first move on last weekend’s Altered Books workshop.  Over forty young people rose to the challenge over the weekend at Benmore.  They took part in film, sound, performance, fine art and craft workshops.  I was running the Altered Books where the youngsters chose a book randomly from a bag.  The task was to alter it beyond recognition.

Getting going.

The most difficult move is always the first.  People can sit there like a rabbit caught in the headlights and negative thoughts can be a bother.  “I have no ideas”; “everyone else’s ideas will be better than mine”;  “that idea would be really stupid” etc.  Convincing the participants that they cannot make a wrong move seemed helpful.

If you choose to cut out a word, or paint out a title, to glue some pages together, whatever you do, will be unique to you.  No-one else would make that same intervention in the book.  Let every other step in your alteration simply follow on from the first one.  The idea was to really follow your instinct without asking yourself “why am I doing this”.  Just to suspend the inner judge….and keep going.  Another piece of advice was to keep looking at the quality of the interventions, solidity, lightness, airiness, viciousness, playfulness…..to try to guard those qualities and make the next intervention reflect the same qualities also.  This makes for an integrated piece of fine art by the end.


By the End. 

And…the outcomes were simply amazing.  I really urged the participants to pursue their interventions until the item no longer really looked like a book.  I did not need to insist, everyone got what I was saying and they got up and ran with the idea.  Many thanks to all for your dedication to the task.IMG_2464


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