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Altered Curiosities: Assemblage Techniques and Projects

“Featuring techniques for assemblage and surface alterations never before seen in a mixed-media art book (kit-bashing, wiring, egg-shell texture, casting and more), Altered Curiosities offers a new twist on a hot topic.

A fresh variety of projects (such as hair barrettes, jewelry, a drawer pull and a bird feeder) prove that artistic assemblage and collage styles can be expressed beyond wall art.

Readers will learn a new storytelling approach to their mixed-media art. Altered Curiosities goes beyond construction techniques to help readers discover how to create a personal narrative with objects and visually tell a story, not just infuse a piece with meaning or symbolism.

Two very important things make this book stand out from the crowd of other collage, mixed-media and assemblage titles: the projects (full of oddities and the unexpected) and the techniques–several of which have never been published before. A common element of Jane Wynn’s style is to find an object, break it and put it together again (sometimes more than once), and she loves using anthropomorphic associations to tell stories in her projects. Step by step, readers will learn her unique method and her sought-after techniques. Along with surface alterations (faux-aging, patinas and the use of unusual household products) Altered Curiosities teaches metal etching with rubber stamps, simple wiring to create dramatic lighting, instruction for altering simple toy figures (making two-headed animals, for instance) and more.”

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2 comments to Altered Curiosities: Assemblage Techniques and Projects

  • Christopher T. Palmer "CTP"

    Okay book with some bad information… Just a few examples:pp19 – “This technique is called annealing. The metal will remain warm and soft enough to easily work for a while. As you work, if it cools down to the point of being difficult to manipulate, just heat it up again!”truth – Once metal has been annealed it stays annealed, no matter how much it “cools down.” What hardens it is the further working of it – bending, striking, etc. This is called “work hardening.” It has everything to do with the crystalline structure of the material, not any residual heat in it.pp20- “A two-part epoxy sets up fast and strong in under five minutes”truth – A “five minute epoxy” will, but all other epoxies take longer, sometimes much longer. Bottom line in any good work is – don’t use 5 minute epoxy for anything that needs to last – especially if you plan to sell it to someone. It is weak and brittle, and any good craftsman knows this.pp24- “silver solder”truth – not with that torch you won’t. What is being used is “silver bearing solder” which is what is known as a “soft solder.” Soft solder is great stuff – I use it all the time – but if you go into a shop and buy actual “silver solder”, a hard solder, you will be unhappy that it doesn’t work at all like in the book.pp77- “Router knob top”truth – What is being called a “router bit” is in fact a hole saw. The way it is being used in the photo will more often than not end up ruining the piece of wood, or damaging your fingers badly. Even if you succeed to not do either of those things, you will discover that you do not have the recess as pictured in the project, but rather a circular saw kerf that you must now gouge or chisel out to get that recess. This use of the term “router bit” is repeated on page 95, whereas what is pictured in use on page 96 is a Forstner bit – as it turns out, a Forstner bit is perfect for creating these recesses in pieces of wood. When the novice reader goes to their hardware store and asks for a “router bit” they will be led to a selection of items that they have no possible use for with a hand drill on these projects.There are other things wrong with this book, including some wording that make me wonder if the editors were asleep at their desks, not familiar with the English language, or maybe just in over their heads.The reason I am being so pissy about all of this is because I teach people to make things. And I am constantly having to help them unlearn things they picked up in books like this. Jane Ann Wynn is a very creative woman, and I applaud her effort in sharing her gorgeous techniques with a wider audience, but with tools and techniques put forth in ways that are anywhere from confusing, to downright flesh-removingly dangerous, I feel I have to speak up. Books like this, which try to cross the line between simply inspiring picture books into the realm of technical instruction really should do much better in the technical instruction efforts, or why try really?

  • Crafty Dogma

    A very funky book Just when I thought I had seen all there was to assemblage out comes this book. Jane Ann Wynn has been extremely generous in sharing her techniques with us and also in encouraging us to use methods such as soldering that we might be too scared to use otherwise. One of the things I really like about the book is that the art work that is presented here is not cute and whimsical but groovy, edgy and even disturbing with a good dose of humour thrown in. The bird-feeder is really something else and the jewellery is very cool. Highly recommended.

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