• Cécile Graven

Altered Book 2018-001 Papier / Paper

What should we do without paper?

Have you ever thought about that?

A long time ago in Babylon notes and archives ( in cuniform script) were scribbled on clay-tablets.

In Egypt was done the same, although realy important things were hacked into stone.

Later they invented ‘paper’ made from the plant papyrus. In Asia important things were painted on silk or on the bark of trees.

Part of the dead sea-crolls were hamered into thin plates of copper. Later the skin of animals was used as paper ( parchment, perkament)

And then someone invented paper as we know it today. Made of old clothes/fabrics or from the cellulose of treebark.

When the digital revolution came upon us it was said to become a blessing for the environment because no more trees would be felled to make paper from it. Paper would not be needed anymore.

Well, we know now that that has not become a fact.

We people like to have things black on white, ink on paper. And things we find in the digital world and we like to remember ( or to show to other people) we print them out on our home printers. And things we have on paper are often scanned, send to someone else and there printed on paper again.

We can not do without paper.

(And then I do not even mention paper napkins, paper plates, wrapping paper,toiletpaper and kitchenpaper etc. 😉 . )

A long time ago ( when my fingers still were able to do what I liked them to do) I became interested in the japanese way of paper-folding ( origami).

And doing that I learned alot about the different qualities and possibilities of different kinds of paper. For instance for a very intricate work of origami you need a very strong but very thin kind of paper, if possible even with one colour at the front and a second colour at the back.

I became interested in what kinds of paper one can buy, how they are made, how the can be worked on to make them fit for a certain use.

( For instance: a paper towel will be used only once and does not need to be printed. For a banknote you need paper that can be partly seen through for a watermark, it must be printable, it must be able to have an in-woven colour and it must not tear being folded a thousand times in different sized wallets, tills etc. And ofcourse when soaked it has to stay a recognizable banknote, not a unrecognizable shoppinglist.

And aside from paper to be printed or written upon there are papers used as cardboard, as cardstock, as craftpaper, as….

A few years back my dear friend Bert did give me some scrolls of paper, handmade, based upon the fibres of the pineapple. Some of these scrolls were coloured, some of them were made with herbs and flowers in them. ( A year later he did give me a lot of papers made from elephants-dung. Wow. Alas they were not lightfast.) The paper was so beautifull I hesitated to use it.

But this year it dawned upon me.

I would use parts of those paperscrolls to honour the beauty and diversity of all kinds of paper by making an altered book about it.

In this blog post I will show you some pictures of it. More pictures will come in another ( or more) blogpost(s).

I do hope you will enjoy the contents of this book. Although written mostly in dutch, there is not much text, and I think readers from the USA or UK or Canada and other English speaking people will not have difficulties reading/translatig the 3 pages text about the different classes of paper.

In this post I will show you the front and back of the book and the pages with the text I talked about.

Enjoy please 🙂



intro in Dutch and English

page one, start of the list of different kinds of paper

page 2 and 3

Please tell me : Do you use paper in your ( artistic) work and what are your feelings about paper?

#art #alteredbook #alteredbooks #artblog #artforsale #papier #paper #tekoop

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