Shoe-string Publishing.

You have heard of shoe string publishing? Well now there is shoe-string publishing! That is when you publish in an appealing way, for minimal costs.

Perhaps one of the most rewarding things for me this year (2004) has been seeing the altered books that the Grade 3, through to Year 12, students have made in each of the schools I have been working in.

I took along a bag of altered books and showed them what students of mine had done. The challenge was to guess what each book had been in another lifetime. Even I had not realized that the gold sprayed book, that looked like a glamorous album, had once been a standard desk diary. The book that the kids really loved was made by Angeli - one of my Year 7 students. She had taken a business directory and meticulously covered every page as only an artist could. The pages were seamless. She had glued pages, in six page lots, together and then covered them with pages from glossy magazines. It blew everyone's mind away when they saw what she had done and the teachers and children were fascinated with the transformative element of the project.

Upon my return children screamed with delight and tripped over one another in the rush to show me how they were transforming books that would have gone to the paper recycle place. I was gob-smacked as I looked at how enthusiastically the kids had taken up my suggestion. These books will be treasured instead of being discarded. They are being filled with responses to exercises that I have presented, personal photographs, incredibly moving pieces of writing, symbols, images of their favorite things, dreams and hopes. That warmed my soul. It felt like a sauna embrace.

I call this Shoe String Publishing because you can literally publish at little or no expense, 'publish on a shoe string'. At the end of the year we will be wrapping these books up in Christmas wrapping. I cannot think of a better gift.

Have a peek at what these students are doing. Be inspired and make albums by using recycled magazines, directories or old books, to store your art and writing in. Remember that the Visual Journal Lounge has lots of tempting links to support this addictive art form.

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Breathe life into old books!
Making Altered Books

For years now I have showed students how to transform old, long outdated, hard covered books, magazines and diaries into scrapbooks. I have learned that when I combine the visual arts and writing magic happens in any classroom, be it Grade Two or Year 12.

I provide prompts to generate ideas. They begin by tackling them in their workbooks. The publishing process begins much later as students transfer their work into their altered books. As they complete pages they inspire one another with innovative presentations and that is when the magical shift takes place. Suddenly they are transformed into artists.

Students use pages from a diverse range of magazines and coloured paper to completely cover the pages of their chosen all depends on the students imagination and creativity that makes their workbooks become art. One girl painstakingly covered a business directory. Six pages were glued together and she used paper from Sunday magazines to cover the directory pages. Others have experimented with all sorts of textiles to decorate their pages. Lauren, whose work you see here has used a lot of felt and hessian. I like to use old wallpapers for some pages.

Students beginto work on their albums and spend months happily gluing, pasting and publishing. Their scapbooks are treasured and are destined to be passed down to family members. They will not be thrown into the dumpmaster as they walk out of school on the last day of term.

To begin simply look for a solid book that has become redundant and is yearning for new life. Once the old text is covered you are ready to begin.

Here are some of the exercises we did. Many arise as part of our study of the text 'Boy' by Rolh Dahl.

Rear Vision Mirror Memories
Kindergarten Days
Dipping in the Lolly Jar
Magic Island Trip

Some projects to undertake and store in your
Album of Memories

Feeling Poems
Indian War Bonnet
Mirror Word Weaving
Photography Project

Gather together 
To begin simply look for a solid book, diary, directory or magazine that has become redundant and is yearning for new life.

Gather together: Scissors Glue Basketfuls of old magazines Coloured kinder squares.

Completely cover any of the text, in the old book that you have selected, with coloured paper.

Once the old text is covered your altered, Album of Memories is ready to begin