Saturday, March 29, 2008

Silk Road, an altered book

The Silk Road, another book in the Journey RR, seems to be traveling with bad karma... It was sent to me from the UK but the book did not arrive - only to turn up back in the UK (luckily)!
At least, the second time that it was sent, it did arrive safely here in Holland.
It is a beautiful book about the Silk Road, the historical journey of the silk that came from China into Europe. The members of the group were asked to choose one of the cities on that journey and make a spread about it.

I choosed Xi'an as a spread and found images of the terracotta army that were found in Xi'an. My plan was to turn them into gel decals. This involves putting several layers of gel medium on top of the printed picture and wait for every layer to dry. So that took 2 days at least. Then you have to wet the paper at the back and start rolling with your finger, removing the paper from the back carefully.

For some reason, the black ink came also off - too bad, but it was not such a problem, because it makes the image even more translucent which can give beautiful effects. But after wetting and rubbing of the paper, the layers of gel medium turned milky! Never seen that before - especially as the gel had been transparant when all the layers had been added.
I waited for the images to completely dry, but the gel medium just did not change to transparant anymore....! Why???

So time to change plans. I printed the images again, this time on a paper with a slight canvas texture and cut out the figures as good as possible. The pages were painted red in the mean time (very Chinese...), chinese papers were collaged and the pictures were added .

The plan was to make some silk paper - but even that went wrong! I had been doing this previously, and had good results with it, but just not this time...
I could only used a small part of the silk paper, and glued that at the bottom of the spread. You cannot see it well on the picture - but in real life it adds texture and shine to the pages - very, very soft to touch!

Luckily the book is now on its way to Pascale in France. Just hope that the bad karma will get lost while traveling (instead of the book itself).
Funny, if you know that the Chinese tried to keep the secret of silk in their own country - but monks were able to smuggle some silk worms in a hollow walking stick back to Europe. Maybe that is were the bad karma came from? :-)

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