AB, lesson 5

Lesson 5 of Elizabeth's amazing free altered book class is all about design principles and elements.  (Be sure to visit Elizabeth's blog (AlteredBookLover) if you haven't already, and see the detail and obvious work she puts into providing in depth information about how to make an AB)  We've been asked to create at least 5 layouts - one each illustrating harmony, unity, balance, emphasis and proportion.

I learned all about these in interior design classes and always thought the distinction between harmony and unity was pretty obscure.  At any rate, my progress so far:  (remember, my theme is 'quotes')

The quote reads:  "To read is to fly - it is to soar to a vantage which gives view over wide terrains of human variety, ideas, shared experiences, and the fruits of many inquiries." - AC Grayling.  I wrote it over the polka dots using a light green marker so it's almost invisible - more a part of the background. Then I wrote it again on the facing page in a darker, more legible color.  The photograph is of a bookstore front in Madrid.

On this page I made a mini niche cutout using the same techniques of gluing about 40 pages together, cutting out the center, using an awl to poke holes and then using embroidery thread in blue (vertically) and green (horizontally).  You can see through to the page below.....

Above is the other size of the thread grid page, carrying on the reading quote theme.  And then below the page is made with one of my sandwiched tissue paper pages (yellow and blue) and stamped with ladybugs, a dab of washi alpha tape and scrapbook paper scrap.  I love how these pages turned out!

These pages show a simple straightforward balance but probably more directly show the use of a focal point or emphasis.  The thread frame highlights the photo one way and the word soar the other way.

This double page illustrates extremely symmetrical balance where the pages are mirror images framing the quote.  This quote reads "Stumbling and getting up again - that's a journey.  Stumbling and ceasing to try - that's a destination."  - Linda Armstrong (Lance Armstrong's mom - love this quote)  I don't love the results as much on this page - don't love the color scheme or the pink scrapbook squares - may need to doodle those up a bit...

My next layout, below, shows harmony between the 2 pages by using the same color scheme and background materials in a similar way - maps, scrapbook paper, brayered ink, stenciling.  The quote reads, "When we lose the right to be different, we lose the right to be free."  It also shows unity in the repetition of the leaf shape and circles; focal or emphasis with the strong orange leaf attracting the eye instantly; and balance by keeping the eye gently moving about the 2 pages as you read the quote and follow the leaves.

And, below again, this double page layout started out with one idea, didn't like it so went another way....I'm not crazy about it, but rather than obsess over it right now, I'll return to it when I feel more inspired to fix it.

Be sure to visit Elizabeth and join in her AB tutorials.  If you've ever had even a passing interest in creating an altered book, she's the one to help guide you through it.  I can't wait to see what everyone accomplished with this lesson!


  1. those are so cool! the niche and the embroidery floss window are a great combination.

  2. Anonymous5:39 PM

    Wow, your book's really looking great--I especially love the "reading" spread with the niche.

  3. The leaves on the right side of the page are also an example of radial balance. You really KNOW your design principles. No wonder you are so good at photography.

    This is super impressive. You may not like the "stumbling" spread, but I find it quite lovely, and yes, an extreme form of symmetrical balance. I think I really like it because of the background colors that go so well on this page. And using your own handwriting is a plus. You can't read mine, so anytime I see someone write by hand, whose writing I can actually read, I get very excited!!

    You have done a great job with your niche. I suspect you have a lot of extra pages in your book, and that is a great way to use them. Of course, the use of that wire was PERFECT, too.

  4. wow, oh wow, am seriously loving your mini niche and the sewing, I love to sew on paper! You have also inspired me to use my hand writing again, I just need to not worry about it so much I guess! lol You're doing such a fantastic jon on your AB! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

  5. Your pages are just awesome! How clever to create a "mini niche" that so beautifully highlights the principle from both sides! I actually see some of the principles from the next lesson used here, namely pattern and repetition! Great quotes also!

  6. Oh WOW!! I ADORE your backgrounds!! They are simply amazing!! Big and bright and bold! Your book is going to look simply awsome when finished!! :D

    Thanks for sharing,

    Jackie xx

  7. Your pages are really quite lovely. At first they look pretty straightforward but then the eye is drawn to all the detail. Wonderful!

  8. I have been struggling with lesson 5 and had to come and see what my fellow classmates are up to. it sure helps - although I am not sure if I feel more intimidated by this lesson now.... however I will give it a go (soon!) I want to go to Madrid now....

  9. Your pages are wonderful - I love them all, especially the mini niche and the green and blue pages (my favourite colour combination).
    Can't wait to see what you do next.

    Ann B


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