Collaborative Books – Fats and Chunkys

Wow – how time flies!!

A little background on today’s post. For those of you that have known me for a long time,  you probably already know I used to host art swaps all the time. I hosted tons of ‘Fatbook’ exchanges, a few round robins, and various other things. There’s actually a story on how that all began.

I was pretty much a swapaholic for a while. I joined art swaps online all over the place. If you’ve never done them, they’re fun! You make a specified type/number of art items, send them to the hostess along with your fee and/or postage, then after they get everyone’s pieces, they return art to you from different people. It’s like Christmas to get those packages in the mail 🙂

Like everything else in life, there is bad along with the good. I began hosting swaps myself after being involved in some ‘bad swaps’ where the hostesses were poor communicators, or they failed to return packages on time – or at all.  I discovered I had little patience and understanding for an inconsiderate hostess.  THIS brings me to today’s art posting!

Back in the swapping days of collaborative books, I joined quite a few at once with the same host – “Lynn”. She started a stream of book projects – maybe 25 – took everyone’s art, everyone’s money, and then dropped out of sight. She was off the map with all of our things for almost TWO YEARS!  Finally, after tracking her down and much hounding, she sent most of us back packages of mismatched, half-sorted, loose ziplock bags of book pages.  I was so disappointed that I just couldn’t make myself delve into the beautiful pages other artists worked so hard on with the right mindset that it deserved. I put everything from my package into a big, paper bag, and set it aside in a coat closet…  to be looked at with a frown every time I opened the door.

Well, my friends – mourning is over!

I looked through the pages in those loose baggies and saw that these book swaps were back from 2005!! I’m sure it took a couple of years to get them, but still that means they say hidden away for the past 5 years at least.  I took them out recently, worked on binding the ones that could manage to make a book, and worked on covers. These are the beauties I now smile over:

“Altered Imagery” – I wasn’t even a participant in this book, but I got pages from this book back, and none from 2 others I did participate in (who knows). Every page has altered photograph images. It’s really cool.

“The Book of Secrets” – Each page is a fold-out, and is supposed to represent some kind of secret. It’s a very interesting book, especially not knowing what some of the secrets were when people created their pages. Some are funny, some have a very personal look.  Here is the page I made for this book:

This is the front of my page.

This is my page when it’s open.

The last book that I’ve bound so far was the one I looked forward to the most. I used to love reading Nick Bantock books. He had a series about “Griffin and Sabine” in which each page was a letter or postcard and that is how the story was told.

The cover I made after I bound this book.

For this book, each artist created their page with art or a photo on the front of the page, and the back of the page contained some kind of envelope with a letter or postcard inside. It’s a very interactive book since the reader must remove each piece of writing – a very touchy feely thing.

This is an example of the book.  The page on the left side was mine. My artwork is on the opposite side of that page. For fun, I sealed all of the envelopes on my pages with a wax seal – so that the other artists would have to break the seal on the envelope to get inside to read the letter. I had such a good time being imaginative with this project.

Anyway – it is done and over. The pages that were salvageable are now in their own books. Years later, I’ve taken the time to sit down and pour over each page the other artists so lovingly contributed. I cherish every one of them!

I let go of all the negative that surrounded that paper bag on the closet shelf and now have some beautiful artwork sitting out to enjoy! I’m even considering hosting a few more book swaps – should there still be any artists interested in that kind of thing!

I will find them….

Or they will find me! 🙂

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About connieartz

"Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again". Joseph Campell
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2 Responses to Collaborative Books – Fats and Chunkys

  1. Lois K says:

    Wow!!! So glad you finally got around to pulling everything out of the closet! Hope you’re going to share more and more of these books. I understand the ‘bad’ ones – have been in a few myself, but your post makes me want to do it again! Thank you, Connie!
    Lois K

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