My Favorite Artisan Entry- Altered Book

My favorite entry for the Artisan Award was this Altered Book. It was a true labor of love that required over 100 products and probably over 100 hours! I worked on it for weeks.
I went to the used book store’s vintage section and bought an old book. I used Crystal Effects and glued the pages together into blocks. So, it became more like a board book. I then altered each block page. The book depicts the tradition of cooking and baking in my family.

 All the DSP is the Love Letter DSP from last year’s catalog. I used a stencil on the front cover.

 You can get a good sense here how I glued the pages together into blocks. You can also see how full it was and why I needed a ribbon tie closure!

 I used some digital elements from MDS. The Handle with care tag was made on MDS.

 The first page is about my grandmother. It includes scans of her original handwritten recipes.

 More scanned recipes.

 This is called a “niche.” The pages were very fragile so the SU punches had no trouble going through 10 at atime. I punched half way through, leaving pages behind it in tact so it didn’t go all the way through.

 The next sections talks about my mom and her cooking.

 Another section of my mother’s hand written recipes (scanned and printed out.) This niche is in the shape of the top note. I couldn’t get it  through the Big Shot, so I traced the shape and carefully cut/carved it out with a razor. The insert is from MDS.

 The next section is about me learning to cook from both my mom and my grandmother.

 This last section talks about how my mother and I continue the tradition by teaching my girls to cook and bake. More scanned recipes from my collection.

And one last niche!

This is the one project that I would give anything to have back. When you enter the Artisan Award, you don’t get your projects back. I am Ok with it, but really would love to know what happens to them after convention. To think about this treasure ending up in the land fill makes me want to scream! Surely that’s not what happens to them…

This was a fun project even though it was labor intensive. I plan on trying it again in the future and encourage you to do the same. Altered books are actually something they do in the art community. My mom, who is an AP Art teacher, has her student’s make an altered book as part of their portfolio. They paint on the blocked sections. They are amazing!

Thanks for all your kind words both here on the blog and at convention. Being an Artisan Finalist really is amazing and takes the sting of not getting this treasure back a little easier to handle. 🙂

24 thoughts on “My Favorite Artisan Entry- Altered Book”

  1. WOW! This is absolutely amazing! Those were my all time favorite papers and your book is truly a work of art! I wish you could have it back too! Try asking them, it couldn't hurt right? I love checking out your blog, you're so creative!

  2. I love your altered book ! What an amazing job !!! These papers and the stamps are fantastics for this work. I'm a french SU! demonstrator and you inspire me a lot ! It's the first time I leave you a comment ! Thanks for all, Nathalie

  3. Erica, this is absolutely stunning. It is a masterpiece and I can't believe you didn't win just for this one project! Wow! It is easy to see how much love and time you put into it. Gorgeous! I love your blog and find your work amazing; you always capture a sense of happiness in everything that you create. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Holy cow Erica! I'm so glad you posted these pictures because I sure couldn't see much of it at convention! This book is absolutely incredible and definitely a piece of art. Every little detail you added is amazing. You need to try and get this back because it is so personal and full of love! As always, your work is beautiful and so inspiring! 🙂

  5. Erica, This is absolutely breathtakingly spectacular! I'm so sorry you didn't win on this project alone!! I've made stuff for convention display samples before and asked about why they don't give them back. They display them at SU! events all over the world for as long as the products are current. I'm not sure what they do with them after that, but because of projects like this, it seems like they should come up with a system for returning them! This is an amazing project. You're definitely an Artisan in my eyes!!

  6. First let me pick my jaw up off the floor!!!! This book is AWESOME and I can see that it took you a very long time to complete!! I don't think I could have sealed that box and mailed it off like you did!! Huge koodles to you lady!! I have been looking at all your Artisan Award entries and I totally don't know why you were not chosen!!! Your work is amazing and I want to be you when I grow up!!! AND I wish I would have ran into you at Convention, I would have loved to meet you in person!!!

    I will be featuring this awesome project on My Crafty Picks #27 with a link back to your blog on 7-31-11. If you wish to decline please email me at

    Take care and keep your head up!! You totally should enter next year!!

  7. This book is beautiful and brings back many memories of my grandma and mom cooking/baking. I rebelled as a teen but sure was fortunate to have them around when I finally began to cook as a new wife and mom. Loved your book and hope that the committee returns it just on sentimental value. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Erica!!! This is fabulous!! Keep up the awesome, inspiring work!! It was great seeing you at Convention, even if it was for a quick exchange of swaps(which I love, btw)!

  9. Stunningly beautiful!! This was my favorite paper and I went through many packs of it. I still am hoarding tiny bits of it. What a wonderful idea and clear explanation. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. Holy crap. Sorry, those are the only words that are coming out of my mouth, otherwise I'm speechless.

  11. What a truly, amazing treasure!! This is a wonderful project and you can tell lots of love was poured into this. Beautiful, stunning!!

  12. Over-the-top, fabulous, unmatched, uber creative, and many, many more superlatives describe your work. Savoring this book was so special. TFS!

  13. You have got to make this again! That is so awesome!!! Thanks so much for sharing, I am going to have to try to kopykat a little bit of this, it's so great. If I were the Artisan Award keeper, I would so keep this for myself, lol. You can almost be sure that no one in their right mind is going to throw this work of art out. Congrat's on your win, you totally deserve it.

  14. WOW Erica! What an amazing keepsake…that someone else gets to keep! I can't believe you put all that love and effort into something you won't get back! Congratulations on being a finalist…with this treasure you should have WON! It was cool meeting you at convention in Brian Pilling's break out class (I sat next to you and borrowed a pencil!) This is my first visit to your blog…but I'll be back (said with a Schwarzenegger accent) ;o)

  15. Amazing! There must have been some pretty incredible other entries because everyone that you have shared has just knocked my socks off!

  16. Seriuosly, how did this not get picked?! WOW! It is gorgeous and you can tell how much you put into it, your heart and soul. I'd have picked it!

  17. Hi Erica,
    First let me say HUGE congrats to you for making the Artisan Finalist list! Has it been posted anywhere? As a finalist last year, I can SO agree with you about the sadness of not getting the projects back. OH, to let this beauty go!!!

    You put so much of yourself into it, it's more than beautiful – it's precious! Thanks for sharing with us.

  18. So beautiful and creative! I empathize with you on not being able to have it returned to you :(. tfs!

  19. What an absolute treasure this is! Every detail is perfect! You have an amazing gift to create such a beautiful book! TFS!

  20. I would have a very difficult time not keeping that, personally! – I'm glad you have it digitally in pictures (because that's better than nothing – but nor MUCH!).

    Thank you for sharing – I saw this through Tiffany Bauer's Crafty Picks, so I'm so glad you let her use it!!!!!

  21. This is very fabulous! I really appreciate all the time and effort that you put into it!

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