Wrap up of the Altered Book Journal Round Robin of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective.
Above: Some of the finished Altered Book Journals in this project. Not all of the members could be in attendance for the wrap up but the following books were started by (starting top left and going clockwise) Karen Wallach (Day of the Dead cover), Briana Goetzen (Book of Hours), Theresa Petermann (Bird eggs), Molly Anthony (blue journal), Roz Stendahl (Pigeon with Chicken Inset), Ann Ziebarth (Meditations), Clare Farrell (Songbook for Teenagers), and (center front) Lynn Fisher (purple and black book). Karen Wallach is a fabric artist and as part of her participation she made journal bags for each of the books when she had them for internal alteration. The books are shown resting on their bags, all of varying design and made with scraps from her fabric stash.
At Monday's meeting of the MCBA Visual Journal Collective we also celebrated the conclusion of the Altered Book Journal Round Robin. The group project began in the fall of 2008 with about 12 people. There was a period of settling out and a couple people dropped out of the project, though their books continued to circulate for a few months among the other members! We finished the project with 10 participants.
The goal was that at each meeting of the Collective people would bring the book they had been working on and exchange it by passing it on to the next person on the list, always the same person, and same order. This didn't quite work out as planned and for awhile there were several orphaned books traveling together. I was never able to get a clear accounting of which person had which book as people unable to attend meetings often sent books on in the middle of a month, and were then without any book at all. But the happy news is that we didn't lose any books in transit through the mail or in exchange at the meetings! The even happier news is that each book has been altered in interesting ways by the participants following a suggested theme by the book's originator.
It was a fun project and I encourage you to organize a group for such a project. Set clear guidelines as to transfer and deadlines and subject matter or techniques as appropriate to your group, and then be prepared for things to take on a life of their own. Expect that some individuals will drop out because of time constraints or life events. And expect the unexpected as well—such as Karen deciding to make journal bags for all the books in this project.