Altered Book - Cowboys & Indians

This one I made as a tribute to my father who passed on in 1999; he was really into westerns and got me hooked.

The book was originally about the Pony Express, which I thought would be perfect for a western theme. Most of the pictures I used were from brochure-type booklets I was given years ago showing art by Frank McCarthy and James Bama. They stayed hidden in files because I didn't want them to get damaged or lost but I thought 'keeping' them in an altered book instead would be the perfect showcase for them. Besides they're just too stunning to be kept hidden.

I attached a mini dreamcatcher to the cover over 2 prints and, apart from a few feathers, decided to keep it simple. I started with the Indians as they were part of the land first, then led into the cowboys.

The 'title' page shows 2 images by Bama. When I first saw his work, I thought they were photos instead of paintings, they look so 'real'. From a sheet of masculine paper 'charms' I cut out the cowboy hat & boot and attached them with 3D foam. I cut out different styles of alphabet tiles for the title but kept the word 'Heroes' from the original title.

I found bits of information and quotes by famous Indians online and built my pages around those. I didn't want to openly display the info about the seasons & thought this cardstock by Carolyn Holt would work well, not just for the images but also because its sturdier than paper and better for folding. The info for winter, spring & summer is written inside the relevant cardstock -- the Lakota called November, 'Moon of Hairless Calves'; December, 'Moon of Frost in the Tipi'; April, 'Moon of the Birth of Calves'; May, 'Moon of Thunderstorms'; July, 'Cherry Blackening Moon' and August, 'Moon of Ripe Plums'. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything on the other months.

The image in the next layout is by Frank McCarthy; isn't it magnificent? To actually own the full-size painting... wow! I kept the layout as simple as possible, and cut a 'window' on the right-hand page to frame the info about warriors. When the 'window'-page is turned, it then frames the picture with the title of the painting: 'Hoka Hey'. I was so pleased when it worked as I spent a long time making sure I got it right.

This is into the 'cowboy' part of the book. I typed the original text (about the Pony Express delivering President Lincoln's inaugural message in 1861), printed it out & 'aged' it by folding & inking along the fold & the edges. The picture of Bill Cates, the map & the envelope addressed to Lincoln were part of the book originally; the tag of Lincoln was from a tag cut-out book; The 'Pony Express' print is by Frank McCarthy.

This layout was about how harsh the winters could be. I covered the pages with white hand-made paper but didn't want the whole thing to be 'white as snow', which is why I used the blue fibres & ribbon. I photocopied the caption written by Charles Russell & adhered it with 3D foam, which when lifted, reveals a painting by Russell of a starving cow. The print on the right is by Bama.

This is the niche at the end of the book; the items represent both the Indian and the cowboy. You can see along the inside edges where I cut away the pages; instead of gluing them all together, I punched holes in the top right corner and tied them together with fibres.

I finished this Oct 2005.