Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"By the Sea" Fat Book

What's a Fat Book? you may be asking. Also known as a "Chunky Book," it is a collaborative art book where artists sign up to make original pages (the pages can be photocopied once an original background is created), then the pages are embellished with charms, doodads, whatchamacallits, and fibers. Some artists add pop-ups, others add cut-outs - there are no limits on what an artist can create but the word is: the chunkier the better! Once the pages are completed, they are compiled and put into book form so that each participant has a page created by each of the artists involved.

How I got involved in this particular Fat Book exchange involves Art and Soul (worth a look at the website if you aren't already familiar with this grand event), an artist's retreat held annually in various locations around the United States. The Portland Art and Soul Retreat will be held in October of this year and the theme is "By the Sea." For the "By the Sea" Fat Book, Marian is serving as the "hostess" of the swap. As the hostess, Marian set up a Yahoo group, a database of participants, and received a small "swap fee" of $12 from each participant. When pages are complete, they are sent to Marian, where she gathers them all up, divides them, and binds them. For this swap, each artist had to make 60 (SIXTY) pages! Here's my process:

I began by using a background I created in a class I took at Sitka in May, 2008, Abstract Watermedia Extravaganza. The page resembled water, so I used a section of that for my base.

I then found a woman wearing a vintage bathing suit and glued her to the watery paper.

I also wanted to add some sort of definition from the dictionary, so I found the word "sea born," which means: 1. born in or of the sea: as, Aphrodite, the sea-born goddess. 2. produced by or originating in the sea. This definition was glued to the base of the page.

The "original" background:

Next, I made my 4x4-inch copies (I actually made my original 4x8 so that I could simply fold the images in half to be at the required 4x4 size). I took my original piece of art, which consisted of my watercolor background, vintage bathing beauty, and dictionary word, and made my way across town to the local Office Max. They copied the original onto cardstock paper, then I spent the next hour using their large paper cutter to cut the photocopies down to size. When I got home, I simply folded each of the images in half using a bone folder.

Here are my "ladies" cut and folded:

I was then ready to add some embellishments. I purchased some great paper from loose ends, a wonderful resource for fibers, paper and natural elements. The paper I used was net-like and I cut a small section from the roll for each of my "ladies." After gluing on the netting, I added some little plastic swirls (purchased from Stampin' Cat Studio), making it look like the net had captured pieces of color from the sea. Of course, I had to add a shell to each net, and a sprinkle of fairy dust. Here are my ladies with their nets and captured bits.

But I wasn't finished with the netting and found objects, my "ladies" needed more. I punched a hole, added an eyelet, then threaded a bundle of fibers through each hole and tied it off. Viola! Texture, color, and an eye-catching piece hanging and dangling out from my page. It was now complete. Here are my "ladies" in their rows:

But wait, we were asked that the back of our page not be left blank, so in addition to the blue watercolor paper background, I added a glassine envelope, shown here:

The envelope was for holding a little card I made with my name, web site, blog, and home city/state. I added my favorite words at the bottom: Be Bold.

Now my "ladies" were complete and ready to be mailed.


Gerri said...

I glanced at this but didn't read the whole thing LOL. NOW I know what you were talking about. LOVE THIS! The 20's "bathing beauty" is adorable.

I am going to Stampin' Cat today to see what kind of "trouble" I can get into LOL. That means probably drooling over stuff & spending some money.

Bridget B. said...

This is great! And thank you so much for the step-by-step on what goes into a fat book - I keep hearing about them, but honestly wasn't sure what they were!! Now, maybe I'll sign up to participate in one!