Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Altered Books for Personal Change

Altered Book by Sooz Weissberg

Altered books are a symbol for change.  A book for one purpose is altered and used for another purpose.  In its simplest form, an altered book is a book that is recycled.  The first Altered book probably were created in the eleventh century, Italian monks recycled old vellum manuscripts by scraping off the ink and adding new text and illustrations.

Creating an altered book is a very unique experience.  As part of balancing our mind, body, and spirit we realize and understand that our lives are in constant alteration.  As a creativity coach I have worked with clients using altered books as a liberating way to express and reflect on personal experiences, strengths, and talents.  It is a healing process of self-expression, understanding and resilience.

What I like most about altered books is that you don’t have to be a visual artist and there are NO rules.  However, I would suggest you use caution showing your altered book to a serious librarian.  In altering a book, you can paint, draw, tear pages, collage, glitter, stamp, tape, punch holes, write, paste, and use stickers.  Really you can do whatever suites your fancy.

I ask clients to focus on a goal, challenge, or experience that they want to work on.  Examples include:  pursuing a career in the arts, starting a new business, graceful aging, menopause, meaningful retirement, stress reduction, losing weight, smoking cessation, creating wellness, and being more creative.  I love it when clients find a book title that correlates with what they are working on….it is like magic!

As clients begin to work on their altered book they use their left and right brain to play with all sorts of possibilities, ideas and solutions, goals and plans.  What’s cool is as they alter their book, their lives also begin to change.  Nifty uh?

After you select your goal, the next step is creating a new habit of making time for your book.  You may wish to set aside ten minutes a day or an hour during the week-end.  This is your soul work and so making the time is vital for self-discovery.

The next step is hunting and gathering and as women we are really good at that!  You want to use supplies that delight you.  Basic supplies include:  scissors, pencils, rulers, glue, markers, and pictures.  You can also consider paints, pastels, chalks, fabric, tissue paper, card stock, ribbon, brads, hole puncher, rubber stamps, tape, beads, buttons, and dried flowers.  Basically, if it can be attached to the page you’re good to go.

In order to alter your book and add new materials you will need to remove pages though out the book.  You can rip out as many or as few pages you like.  I like to think of ripping out of pages as the removal of habits that no longer serve us.   

Next, open your book and glue several pages together to create a sturdy surface for your page.  Use two pages to increase your canvas size.  I like to paint both pages the same color and then use a hair dryer to decrease drying time.  Once your pages are ready it’s time to create layers using pictures, tissue paper, makers, glitter, etc.  You can add all sorts of elements to your book like pockets, windows and folded pages.  Don’t forget the cover!  You are re-writing your story so give your book a unique title like Lisa, the Creative Entrepreneur or Rebecca’s Stress Free Life.  Don’t be afraid to create the story you want to live.   


I am a creativity coach that uses holistic approaches, creativity and play to help women reach their goals.  For more information about my coaching programs visit www.kimbalivesay.com or contact me at kimba@kimbalivesay.com

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