Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Below The Floor-an altered creepy and crawly book!

The course tutor was Jessie Chorley. She showed us a number of pieces of her work. I liked the way she was interested in telling stories in her pieces, (such as these embroidered story books) the way she used discarded and weathered ephemera and fabric in new ways, but fully appreciating their qualities, and the way she took time over her work, for example in the hand stitched writing she uses. Her work also had a lovely imperfect feel to it, reflecting the weathered feel of the materials she uses. I had no idea what I would do beforehand, and my book came about from lucky circumstances-namely that Clare gave me a page of an old French dictionary with insects on, I had a postcard of a Dutch Interior, and my book was called 'Below Scafell'
Jessie's books had the magical feel of a dolls house (look here for some examples of tiny interiors and other lovely stuff)-tiny mysterious interiors with little clocks and chairs, surrounded by theatrical pink silk curtains, hidden inside the cover of a book.
My book is called ''Below the Floor". ( I wanted to incorporate parts of the book itself, rather than obliterate it and Below played a big part in giving me an idea!)
The story that the book may show is not a happy one necessarily. An ordinary family is shocked to discover the secrets that lie below the floor. As they go deeper down, the cellars reveal more and more tiny horrors. The story might be a happier one than that. One of the family, perhaps the son, is a budding zoologist, and uses the inhabitants of the house as research material, observing their habits and relationships. There could also be a bit of Indiana Jones activity-the hero or heroine has to battle fearsome creatures to get to the treasure!
I am looking at it from a very human point of view, and I know that in my mind the story is more the first scenario than the others! The story may be a story of cruelty and misunderstanding, told from the insects' point of view. I know how much ''James and the Giant Peach'' helped me in my efforts to empathise with spiders.

The fly in the photos was most obliging, and sat to have his close up done! Aren't his eyes amazing?
The little pieces of text on the inside cover are things that leapt out at me as I was cutting my book-they all relate to my feelings about creepy crawlies I think, apart from the colour one and the one about chemicals-but I was thinking of mutations here! The colour one is just nice!
They are part of a strange insect tree growing out of the cellar.
A Blatte is a cockroach I now realise, after looking at this (scary!) site about the creatures that share our homes!
When I showed Andy the fly photo, he started to sing this song-I can't find the song to play you but here are the lyrics.


Bimbimbie said...

Hi Sarah, oh I love all of this post,
especially the fact that the fly came and critiqued your book ... we all say if only to be a fly on that wall, well now we know flies probably have a similar saying about our books ;)
I don't think I've heard that fly song before ... is it an old one?

Sarah said...

Thanks! The song is from the twenties or thirties I think.

Lori Saul said...

An amazing book Sarah and I think it is cool to explore the darker side sometimes- what is really below the floor (metaphorically). Your close-up photos show beautifully made art and attention to detail and that fly- well how perfect is that. Great creative work and post!

Linda Sue said...

Utterly COOL! Sarah you have out done yourself and the FLY! What a handsome guy! I do like bugs, in small manageable doses. They , after all, will inherit the earth...Very cool book! VERY!

Mar said...

a most amazing job you did with the book and post!
the fly was a ham for sure
when i saw the picture i thought you had put a dead fairly well positioned fly in the mix
i mean you were doing insects!
but to have a live fly accommodate a photo shoot
surely this is something of a charm

jabblog said...

See? Even the bugs and beasties like your work! That surely must be a good omen.
Andy's song rang a bell in my memory - I seem to remember hearing it sung by someone well-known.

Leenie said...

Creepy and crawly is right. You have the material for a great story. You even have characters lining up to be part of the plot.

Love your work. Lots of time and detail in it. I clicked on your fly song link. What fun. I wish I could hear it sung.

KindredSpirit said...

yay this looks great - nice to see it all finished. It definitely needed some paint

Anne said...

Hi, Sarah! I see you had a lot of fun with your altered book! Terrific! I love that you made it a book about bug collecting! Too cute! :-)

Anonymous said...

Wow Sarah! This is really impressive!I love the story behind it and everything you chose works so well together. How nice the fly chose to sit for a photo op! My son's little boston terrier is terrified of flies, imagine that!

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Anonymous said...

This is fabulous!! I've never heard the song - I'll just make up my own tune (as I can't sing it will be tuneless anyway!!)

Sarah said...

Thanks everyone!

Anairam said...

Your book is fantastic! I have always wanted to make an altered book - I even have a book on making altered books - but oh, my first effort many years ago never went much further than two pages. But I think I am getting to a creative space and mindset where I can try something like that again. I also love Jessie's cloth and embroidered books - definitely going on my projects list! PS Your story is great - somewhat sinister and dark - the best stories always are!

Sam said...

Wow wow! I've said it before and I'll say it again - you are a very creative soul! Absolutely amazing!!!

Anonymous said...

What an awesome bug!
I love your painting.