Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Negativity Monster

Talk about a surprise!  My old boss contacted me recently with a completely unexpected and awesome creative opportunity. 

Ready for this?  She offered to hire me to create an altered book display for the library to promote the library association and the upcoming altered book art show.

Wait...what, now?  That was pretty much my reaction!  All I can say is that I was extremely flattered that she thought of me.

I've created my share of altered books over the years - you can check out a few of them here and here if you're so inclined.  Crafting altered books was always just for fun, so the fact that someone wanted to pay me for something that had been a hobby in the past?  Well, elated about covers it!

Along with feeling both flattered and enthusiastic, I was also freaking out a little bit.  Because of course, the negativity monster popped up on my shoulder to add his horrible and unwelcome two cents.

You know the negativity monster.  We all do.  Mine is an ugly, pointy eared, little shit that asks patronizing questions like, "Who do you think you are?  You're no professional artist, why would you ever agree to take this on?" And, "You know you're not artistically talented enough to make something that doesn't look like a 3rd grader did it, right?"

I told you - he's a shit.  Not to worry.  I told him to shut the hell up and I accepted the offer.   And I'm so glad that I didn't give in to doubt and fear!

Once I agreed, it was time to ratchet up the creative confidence and know that I could pull it off.  What fun it was, too!

The idea behind the project was to promote the Kodiak Public Library Association, emphasize that a membership to KPLA is an excellent holiday gift, and also to promote the upcoming altered book art show that the Kodiak Public Library Association and Kodiak Arts Council puts on every year.!  I started by viewing a few youtube tutorials on paper tree folding, as well as several step-by-step how to articles on carving books, etc. This was what I used to make the trees, and it was super straight forward and easy to follow.

There was quite a bit of paper folding & cutting to craft Sitka Spruce tree look alikes, since that tree is predominant on Kodiak and was part of the request.

It was basically lots of this:

Once I refined the technique, I made about a half a dozen trees to make a little forest of various sized "Spruce" trees.  They turned out cute!

After I made all the trees, I used an X-ACTO knife to cut out a rectangular shaped dropped space inside the main body of a hard cover book, using this step-by-step tutorial.  The pages are sealed with Mod Podge, so the whole bottom half of the book is secured to the back cover.

I covered the pages with colored and patterned scrapbook-type paper to pretty-up the tattered and glue covered pages so the finished project looked a little sleeker and more polished.

The last step was to come up with a way to promote a KPLA membership as a holiday gift.  Initially, I wanted to stencil on the opposite page, but I quickly realized that stenciling with paint was more challenging than I anticipated.  It was coming out messy looking, and I totally effed it up not even halfway through.  Case in point.

As you can see, I misaligned the M and the E and then promptly FUBAR-ed the last E.  Not to mention it looked sloppy.  So, I scrapped my grand plans to stencil, since it was my first time attempting it, and frankly I sucked at it!

I went in a different direction, and I think it's worlds better than my feeble attempt at stenciling.

Once I put it altogether, I was pretty happy with the final product.

Now all that's left is to ship it to Kodiak.  It's still a little surreal to me that this was work.  This?  How could this possibly be work?  It was nothing but fun, creative time for me, so I can't feel anything but gratitude that the opportunity came my way!

The author Seth Godin said it well:  "If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try."

So there's only one thing left to say.  Screw the negativity monster. Always say yes! 

Ta-ta for now.

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