Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Re-Awakening of Creativity Through Altered Books

Sybil's Altered Journal Spread
The first woman to sign up for the first Express Yourself! Collage/Altered Book workshop I held wasn't able to attend that class due to work conflicts. Sybil was unfortunately also not able to make up her absence at any subsequent workshops due to scheduling issues. Usually I don't allow makeups, but because she was the first one to sign up I reexamined my policy and offered her a makeup at my home studio at a time convenient for both of us. Something just told me to do it and I am so glad I did, because I got a chance to see and reaffirm what altered books can do for a person.

When Sybil came to my house she said that a long time ago she did collage quite a bit, but over the years because bored with it and let it fall away. As I she shared with me her old collages (which were professional, beautiful, and humorous) her description of her process was so familiar to my own. I too had created collages and assemblages, been in shows, then had become bored with my art, and stopped creating. When I discovered altered books some 15 years later, a whole new world of creativity opened up for me. As Sybil began altering her book I watched a similar transformation take place. It was thrilling to see and recognize. I hoped that she would continue on her new journey. A few weeks later she sent me this photo of a beautiful altered journal spread, which she had created, along with these kind words:

"A single private lesson with Virginia inspired me to sit down at my art table and PLAY, after a dull and tedious period. The experience was quite extraordinary. She immediately encouraged a more care-free attitude and sparked my creativity and sense of adventure through her altered book technique. What's more,she shared materials and resources that provided new tools and fun possibilities. Now, I simply say, 'Why not?' and carry on."

Thank you, Sybil!


  1. That piece above is gorgeous... A little can say alot.. I do think we have to step back and then come back...

  2. Yes, Sybil is so talented -- I love her choice of images and they all mix up together and make a story that engages your interest. And yes, there is power in stepping back for a moment and taking everything in.