What can you make with covers from old, worn out book covers, used sewing patterns, stray playing cards, puzzle pieces and loads of mismatched papers? If you are Debbie Gilbert of the Altered Bee in Bristol, NH, you create beautiful, one of a kind altered journals.
Last month Debbie was one of the artists whose work appeared in “The Book Remade”, an art show of altered books at the Gordon-Nash Library in New Hampton, NH. Books being recycled and altered into art and furniture is gaining interest worldwide and is a very popular trend on Pinterest. On May 15, Debbie taught a class in creating altered journals at the Gordon-Nash Library.
She laid out bags filled with miscellaneous paper items like patterned cardstock, playing cards, dictionary pages, sheet music, paper punched with braille, plain paper, recipe cards and more. “Anyone can create an altered journal from the stuff in their house“, Gilbert explained “You don’t have to spend a lot of money to achieve the look you want.” She pointed out that she purchased many of her supplies, like the emery boards, ink pads and makeup sponges she uses to give her altered journals a “distressed” look, at dollar stores .
Debbie explained that creating an altered journal is a very “green” craft. It’s a very artistic and fun way to recycle all types of paper. She commented that making altered journals and books is a way to be creative on a number of levels. “People need to tap into their creative selves. It really helps to sharpen other areas of your life.”
At the end of the evening students left with their own altered journals. Each altered book was adorned with flowers they made from old sewing patterns and filled with one of a kind pages they created. They’ll use their altered books as diaries, gratuity journals, or perhaps just a beautiful place to jot down random thoughts and ideas.
Debbie will be hosting more classes in the future. She also sells altered journals, vintage inspired jewelry, antique ephemera, funky T-shirts, and a variety of handmade items at The Altered Bee at 22 Central Square, Bristol, NH. The Bristol square is currently going through a major renovation, but be assured there is plenty of parking available and her shop is well worth the visit. For more information about the store or classes, call 603-744-2331.