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An altered book artist takes a book (old, new, recycled or multiple) and cuts, tears, glues, burns, folds, paints, adds to, collages, rebinds, gold-leafs, creates pop-ups, rubber-stamps, drills, bolts, and/or be-ribbons it. The artist may add pockets and niches to hold tags, rocks, ephemera, or other three-dimensional objects. Some change the shape of the book, or use multiple books in the creation of the finished piece of art.
Altered books may be as simple as adding a drawing or text to a page, or as complex as creating an intricate book sculpture. Antique or Victorian art is frequently used, probably because it is easier to avoid copyright issues. Altered books are shown and sold in art galleries and on the Internet.
An exhibition of altered books by contemporary artists was shown at the Bellevue Arts Museum in 2009, titled The Book Borrowers. It contained 31 works, books transformed into sculptural works. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center will host an exhibition of altered books in early 2010.
An interesting example of sculpture-like altered books can be found in the mysterious paper sculptures left in various cultural institutions in Great Britain, such as the Scottish Poetry Library and the National Library of Scotland.
Recycling old books and using them as art journals has also become popular with some art bloggers and proponents of upcycling.
While some books enthusiasts may object to the use of books in this way, some altered book artists have used the medium to question the changing nature of the book and its importance as a physical object.
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- http://www.bellevuearts.org/exhibitions/past/2009/book_borrowers.html Bellevue Arts Museum website, accessed 2 June. 2011
- Altered Arts Magazine
- International Society of Altered Book Artists
- Lisa Kokin - altered book artist
- Corinne Stubson - altered book artist
- Altered Books Gallery - Altered books, tips and techniques
- Altered Books at Pickafight Books - Sydney Australia
- Brown altered books and prints
- Tom Philip's A Humument
- Altered books homepage
- The Altered Book: Cyber Home of the Altered Book Artist
- Nicholas Jones homepage
- Jacqueline Rush Lee homepage
- How to create an art journal
- Guy Laramée's home page
- Bound and unbound: University of South Dakota
- Bound and unbound 2: University of South Dakota