Altered Books

Altered Books

Altered Books are a form of mixed-media artwork.  The existing book form is either altered to create a different structure with an altered meaning, or the original book can be utilized as a springboard for ideas for a new book object. 

Nana – The Count

In 2012, Ruth was one of a number of artists selected to take part in an altered book project called The Library of Lost BooksThese were old, unwanted books from the former Birmingham Library. The altered books were exhibited in November 2013 as part of a conference Resurrecting the Book to celebrate the opening of the largest public library in Europe, the new Library of Birmingham.  Ruth’s piece was inspired by a German translation of Emile Zola’s Nana, published in Budapest by Gustav Grimm in 1910.

'Nana' altered book for
‘Nana’ altered book for “The Library of Lost Books”

“Ruth has made a comprehensive response to her book, a 1910 German translation of Emile Zola’s Nana. She is interested in the marginalia of of the book, passages underlined or marked by a previous reader. These have been translated directly from the German, the revealed text used to inform the creation of the finished work. Ruth’s response includes a handmade artists’ book documenting the translated text. She has built a miniature theatre with moveable flats and a curtain which can be raised and lowered all contained in a handmade box decorated with fabric digitally printed from the original book. Ruth includes cut-out characters that represent the people in Nana, their images taken from vintage photographs, along with a vintage map and an old postcard of Paris.” taken from ‘Bringing Back the Book’ by Jessica Glaser & Susan Kruse

‘Emotive’ was chosen for the 2010 annual international exhibition ‘We Love Your Books’ curated by Melanie Bush and Dr Emma Powell. 

“With this altered book, Ruth depicted the therapeutic process as emotional first aid.”  A sub-text exists amongst the original text of the book but, as with the therapeutic process, you have to go looking for it.  Sometimes you find it and sometimes you lose your thread and have to go back again to pick it up…

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