Monday, April 27, 2009

Jen Conde's Paintbox has arrived!!

I've just opened a very special parcel....Jen's book.....I opened it carefully and slowly, savouring the sights, sounds and the's amazing!! I'm already feeling very creative and excited, so many idea's, which to choose, what mediums to use??? I'm not going to say much more or even describe Jen's book......your turns will come!!

Has anyone else received a book for the first round?? Or posted theirs off?? I've already sent 'Cabinets of Curiosity' off to Shelly, it can take up to 10 days for stuff to travel from Oz to the UK...

Now that I have officially invited you through the blog channells, you all have the ability to put up posts and photos and to make comments on others posts and photos. So go for it!!!

Happy Creating

Saturday, April 25, 2009


My book is ready to head into the world on it's very own Journey! I've had such a lot of fun, pleasure and even some therapeutic closure as I've worked on this...

In spite of my best efforts, the inside pages are showing before the cover..I have tried, but can't move the little suckers (which frustrates me, cos I managed it on my own blog a couple of hours ago!) spread began with me writing about my journey into loss...and then covering that writing with a nod to my sister-in-law...wearing her newly acquired wings (I'm certain they're gold and shimmery and she loves them); along with the things she loved most - her hubby, her kids, her garden and babies...she loved babies! The little luggage tag is about 'a moment in time'...we were powerfully reminded that all we have is this moment in time...none of us are guaranteed more than that.

The cover...which I learned a few things doing...mainly that if you have an idea, sufficient thought and persistence will usually pay off! The pages are all stitched onto painted satay sticks which are all then stitched/lashed together. I'm sure someone, somewhere had done this before...but I feel like I worked it out all by myself!
So, "Journeys" is in her box, ready to send to Donna on Monday.
Can't wait to see what shows up in my mailbox! And, looking forward to seeing what everyone is up to here...
Have fun!

Friday, April 24, 2009

It's almost time to send and receive books!!

How are you all going? Are you almost ready? If not, why not?
I have heard from almost everyone re THE 'book proposal'. It can often be a difficult task to come up with a proposal, find a suitable book, then put it all into words that others will be reading. .....sometimes the only way forward is to just DO IT! grab the bull by the horns and it will all fall into place!!

Recently I had a request from Jen re photocopy transfers, I sent her a detailed description of the process I use. Jen has told me that she used it and that it was a success! I'm looking forward to seeing how she has used it in her book, as it will arrive next week!

You'll find the photocopy transfer process on this blog!

Happy creating!

PHOTOCOPY TRANSFER need to have copies from a machine that uses toner, I don't think that the laser copies will work with this will need acetone (which smells bad and isn't so good for you! if using acetone, do the transfer in a well ventilated area) or you can use oil of wintergreen - this is an oil used by masseurs, I have purchased it from a chemist or you can try the local masseur - it smells quite nice and is not nasty at all, you'll also need some cotton buds - for small transfers or some clean cloth for larger transfers,I have found that smoother surfaces give the clearest transfers, like smooth papers, teabag paper, calico or silk, you will probably need to experiment a bit. You may also need a bone folder or smooth spoon.
The process:
Place the paper you are transferring onto on a firm smooth surface, it's best to have a couple of layers of clean, cheap photocopy paper underneath the area you'll be transferring onto. This seems to give it the right amount of firmness and give, it also prevents the oil of wintergreen penetrating onto your next page.
Cut away any unwanted parts of the image, but leave a tail of paper to hold down (free of the image you are transferring)
Place the photocopy face down onto your transfer surface, you will need to hold it firmly in place
dampen your cotton bud or cloth - NOTE do not have it too wet, if you get too much of the oil of wintergreen on the cotton bud it will flood the image and cause the release to be a black undefined mess! Sometimes I'll just run off the excess by wiping the cotton bud onto another sheet of paper
rub the oil of wintergreen dampened cotton bud firmly over the back of the photocopied image , working from one corner and gradually over the entire image, apply pressure with the cotton bud, sometimes this is enough pressure to help to transfer the now released toner onto your other surface. Just lift a corner to check to see if the transfer is occurring, if not you may need to apply more pressure eg with the bone folder/smooth spoon or you may need to apply a little more oil of wintergreen.
At times I have found that I can release a second copy of the first image, which can turn out sharper than the first one just by placing it immediately onto another surface and applying pressure again with the cotton bud or bone folder/spoon
Jenny, I have found it is a matter of trial and error so practice first. Apparently you can also use turps (very smelly) in the same fashion or run the turps whetted photocopy under a press, I haven't used this method as I don't currently have access to an etching press.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jen Condes Paint Box

Hi everyone, I'm Jenny Conde and I love a book.
My passions are drawing, painting, printmaking and travel so to be able to combine all of these with making an artist book is the most fun I can have. For twenty years, I was a graphic designer, putting together Corporate Identity programs. Mostly now, I concentrate on my Fine art practice and work from my studio at home. I am a child of the sea and the bush so you will see these themes recurring in my work as well as all kinds of people. I live in the bush by the sea at Lota in Brisbane with my hubby and golden labrador Charlie. (The kids have grown up and just left home).
My idea for this book comes from a poem a friend of mine wrote about a boy named Hugh. While in school, Hugh and his childhood sweetheart Rosie weren't allowed to use the bright colours in their paint box. Despite this, they chose to live their lives boldly and colourfully. It's a simple message and beautifully written and suggests this book needs to be very bright and colourful.
I see this story being a starting point for our collaboration and doesn't need to follow the poem from start to finish... whatever you would like to do for your own interpretation is good.
The title of this book is 'Jen Condes Paint Box'.
An artists drawing block is the support for the book and it will start with blank white pages. The artist's sign in page will be colour swatches named after colours in the poem eg. 'Deep Purple' or 'Vivid Green' and here somewhere, the poem 'Paintbox Colours' by Carmel O'Leary will be written out in full.
I love the idea that we each start a book but cannot know how it's going to end so the book is also it's own story. I am very excited to be a part of this collaboration. Thanks to Donna for helping me become involved and I look forward to working in collaboration with you all. Thanks also Peta for doing such a great job putting this project together and inviting me to participate in my first altered book.
Can't wait to get started, Jen

Tutenkhamen's Bris-khamen Tomb

The book I have chosen may be a totally daft selection. I bought a book off the throw out bin at the local shopping centre book shop. It is a children’s pop up book called Discoverology Tutenkhamen’s Tomb. I apologise in advance for the pop ups…. I’d just like the challenge to see if it will actually work if we alter them. I imagine it might work…if we are careful and a bit restrained. If it doesn’t work…then I’m sure we can make it work some other way! After all…it is a creative challenge. Some of the pages do not have pop-ups…they have additional flaps where the page extends out. I am somewhat nervous about my selection….I could have done something safer…..but in the end couldn’t resist finding out if it was a good or not so good idea! Its one thing to be brave for yourself….failure doesn’t worry me too much, as you learn a lot in the process…. It is another to put you all in this too. So fingers crossed!!

I have actually been to Tutenkhamen’s Tomb two years ago…an unforgettably wonderful - brief - experience. I did some drawings there.
BUT I don’t want my Tutenkhamen book to be at all like the book I bought or like a travel journal. In fact…it is just a point of departure.
I am renaming my book Tutenkhamen’s Bris-khamen Tomb.
For those of you who know nothing about Brisbane…don’t worry…Bris-khamen is just a “place” in the 21st Century, far removed from Ancient Egypt. Our contemporary relics bear little resemblance to those of the ancient Egyptians.
I have simply taken the existing text, and slightly reworded it all…giving it a totally new context and hopefully some humour. I don’t consider myself much of a wordsmith….so it really is a leap of faith to think I can do something like this. But…it is all about fun and enjoyment…so I give myself and you as well permission to be frivolous and playful with this book.
I would like each of you to read the story so far…and tell the next chapter with you double page. In this, I am making a request that is different to what Peta has asked. I am particularly wanting there to be a bit of a flow in the storyline. I have therefore, written your names on the title page, with the chapter you will be doing.
Bris-khamen is just a sort of play on words…the kids sometimes refer to Brisbane as Bris-Vegas. Well Bris-Khamen is not quite Bris-Vegas…but if you WANT it to be…then it could be! After all…your double page is for your discoveries, excavations and fun. Don’t fret and don’t agonise over what to do…just get in there and do it~
The text at the beginning of the book explains it is an altered book collaboration, and attempts to rationalise this quite irrational book.
This book allows each person to exactly to have a double page each…with one left over. I think the only solution for that is for me to finish off that last page when the book is returned to me. So, unless Susan is really enthusiastic, and I would imagine after 14 months of this and would like to do two double pages…(and I think this is entirely unrealistic)… I will complete the chapter :Everyday Life when it returns to me. There is an index at the back that I will also have to deal with on its return.
Here is the list of who is doing which chapter, according to our “travel” plan for the book. This is tantalisingly non helpful. It won’t really help you “save” material until you see it I would think…. As the book will have a life of its own as it proceeds monthly to each of you.

4. An Amazing Discovery – Helen Sanderson
6. Kingdom of the Nile – Jenny Conde
8. Valley of the Kings – Peta Lloyd
10. Egyptian Writing – Shelly Neave
12. Treasures for the Afterlife – Kristen Mountjoy
14. Gods and Goddesses – Nanette Balchin
16. The Pharaohs – Donna Malone
18. Burial of a King – Tracey Hewitt
20. Mummification – Tamara Allen
22. Canopic Shrines – Lindesay Dresdon
24. Egyptian Women – JacQ Ware
26. Sailing Across the Heavens – Susan Joyce
28. Everyday Life -


Monday, April 20, 2009

Peta's Proposal

Hello collaborators!

Firstly, my thanks go to all who have sent their amazingly creative and inspiring sounding proposals up to this point.....I'm laughing and doing little jigs of enthusiasm, excitement and anticipation at what will be a fantastic year of collaborating with each and every one of you!

Secondly, a bit about me: I live on the Capricorn Coast on top of a hill in a mudbrick house that I built with my husband, Bruce. We have 360 degree views of the coast, islands and the mountains and bush. We have about 98 acres of natural bush which has lots of 'wildlife' living on it. For four days a week I work as a School Counsellor at a Catholic Secondary school in Rockhampton. The remaining three days I work in my art studio as well as clean and maintain the house, facilitate collaborations and organise workshops for Flying Arts. Bruce and I have three married daughters and two very beautiful grandchildren. We also have a very active and adorable Pointer called Sirius!

Thirdly, about my is titled:
"Cabinets of Curiosity"
(or Omnium-gatherum)
It is I guess, a hommage to Joseph Cornell, an artist whom I have admired for many years now.
As most of you would be aware, I love to collect stuff; objects, ephemera, old disused, preloved, new and natural 'things'...I'm a hunter and gatherer of found objects.....for this book I'm asking you to think about what you gather?, what arrangements of 'treasures' do you have hiding in your drawers, in old shoeboxes or perhaps displayed artfully on your shelves? Or perhaps what new collection are you beginning?
Maybe you have an actual display cabinet or an art corner where you assemble and display objects which you consider to be curious, interesting, meaningful, beautiful, amazing or....?

It is these objects (and idea's), which I am inviting you to incorporate into my "Cabinet of Curiosity" - (Omnium-gatherum).
I have assembled thirteen (one for sign in), 'cabinets', please fill one of these 'containers'/'cabinets'/'boxes' with your own elements, objects, diagrams and curiosities in your 'own' Joseph Cornell style.
Feel free to work on both the inside and outside of the 'cabinet' and to alter it's shape or add pockets, windows etc...AS LONG AS YOU DO NOT EXCEED THE EXISTING LENGTH AND HEIGHT DIMENSIONS...the reason for this is because I have planned for all the 'cabinets' to be housed in a lidded wooden box.....for reasons of weight I will only be sending the 'cabinets' around not the box - however I will include some photos of the box so you all have an idea of how it looks!
Also, as you will see the 'cabinet' I have completed is quite 'fat', if everyone's cabinet turns out this fat I will have to find or make another box to house them in !! I felt as originating artist that I could perhaps take the liberty to have a fat 'cabinet'!

Also in keeping with the Joseph Cornell style, I would like to use postage stamps on the outside of the wooden box, therefore I am wondering if you will all assist me with this by using stamps when you post the book onto the next artist and by placing the stamps that are on the parcel when you receive the book into the envelope provided. I don't mind if the stamps have some paper attached to them from the wrapping of the parcel, this will only add interest and postmarks which I love! I would love it if each of you could choose a different stamp/s from those already gathered in the envelope :-))


Welcome Collaborators!

Hello! Donna, Helen, JacQ, Jenny, Kristin, Lindesay, Nanette, Shelly, Susan, Tamara and Tracey!
This email is to officially welcome you all into the 'Altered Book Collaboration 2009'!
Thanks so much for all of your energetic and enthusiastic responses and committments to be a part of this exciting collaboration. This email contains a list of everybodies name and contact details as well as the proposed dates for the collaboration.
Now we are 'officially' starting I expect to be hearing from you all about your chosen theme, (as stated in the earlier email) a paragraph or two will be fine! It would also be great if you could write a little about yourself: perhaps about your current art practice, what inspires you etc. Please send out in a group email. Also provide a hard copy of your theme to accompany your book on it's travels across Australia, the Unitied Kingdom, USA and Canada, Spain and all the other places that our fellow collaborators are or will be living in and/or travelling to!
Don't forget, each of you as the 'originating artist', will need to alter the front and back cover of your book, or if your book is housed in a container you will probably alter this, as well each OA will alter one *double page spread within their book and perhaps provide some sort of sign in page before sending their book off on the first leg of it's journey. (* a double page spread is the two pages facing you when your book is open) If you happen to have more double page spreads than artists participating then feel free to either alter more yourself or remove/glue some pages to create the number required - there are 12 of us in this collaboration.
When you send your book off ensure that you have provided bubble wrap or other protective packaging as well as a sturdy post box or pack (this will most likely be reused by each artist) You may also like to provide wax (lunchwrap) paper between the double page spreads to stop completed pages from sticking together.
Here is the list that shows who you will be sending to (as it is a round robin, you always send off to the same person - different book each time of course):

Shelly you will send to Kristin in Brisbane

Kristin you will send to Nanette in Yeppoon

Nanette you will send to Donna in Brisbane

Donna you will send to Tracey in Theodore QLD

Tracey you will send to Tamara in Rockhampton

Tamara you will send to Lindesay in Ashburton VIC

Lindesay you will send to JacQ in Melbourne

JacQ you will send to Susan in NSW

Susan you will send to Helen in Brisbane

Helen you will send to Jenny in Brisbane

Jenny you will send to Me Peta in Coowonga QLD

and I will send to Shelly wherever she is in the world (UK, Aust and USA)

Attached to this email are the contact details for each participant. Please check carefully and let me know asap if I have made any mistakes :-)
The first round (after the OA has altered their own book) will begin on the 1st of May, in other words you will each be sending your OA books off to your receiver to arrive on or before the 1st of May. With 12 particiapants I'm planning for this collaboration to take a minimum of 13 months (we have found in past collaborations that it's a good idea to give ourselves the festive season off!) So this would equate to completion of all the rounds by the end of May 2010! Hope you are all okay to hang in there for this long!
Finally, don't forget to sign your work and the sign in page, also to scan or photograph your completed work in each book. It's also common courtesy to send a brief email/text or phone the artist when you have sent off the next book to them and for the artist receiving the book to acknowledge receipt of same to the sender.

If any issues or difficulties arise throughout the collaboration please email or phone me so we can resolve issues quickly!

Any further questions???
Phew!!! Seems like I'm writing an essay each time I send you out an email regarding the collab.!! To our few new comers I hope it's all making sense!
Happy creating!