An outgrowth of the quickly growing scrap/memory book trend, altered books are used by craft-minded workers who favor creating art objects quickly over developing traditional bookbinding or sculptural skills. Typically, such altered books have little to do with the interactive nature of books or the three-dimensional qualities of sculpture. To alter a book and keep it functional as a book requires the skill of a bookbinder. To work with and further develop the original content of an existing book through altering is a practice rarely seen in the current altered book movement.
Hoping for a fuller realization of the altered book concept, curator Alicia Bailey invited 9 other artists to participate in the Boys’ and Girls’ Bookshelf project. The artists she selected are both skilled in the crafts of bookbinding (design binding, repair, conservation and letterpress printing) and experienced in the treatment of book as three-dimensional and interactive artwork. They were each sent one volume from a 1912 edition of The Boys’ and Girls’ Bookshelf. Some volumes were still intact, others needed extensive repairs to still function as books, with most somewhere in between.