Saturday, October 13, 2007

I've done something so stupid...

OK, I'm just sick about this. Here's the story.... About 5 years or so ago, I purchased an old book in a thrift store for less than a dollar... probably a quarter, because I loved the paper in the book. I could tell the book was hand sewn and the paper used was heavier, more like watercolor paper, and even had hand torn deckled edges. My plan was to gesso pages and alter the book using it as a journal or something. It is in excellent condition considering especially that it was made in 1926. So, the title, I thought, was totally boring: The Spirit of the Union League Club. This book is about the history of the Union League Club of Chicago. It is still in full swing today and is quite a place, which is what I found out just this morning.... too late. Why, of all days, did I pull this book out and not even look through it before I started putting gesso on the pages, I don't know. In fact, I've never really even read through any of the book before. The title just sounded boring and I took it as that. Well, after I'd gessoed several pages, I started wondering what exactly is this club anyway. So, I take a short break and start looking things up on Google. Then, I started trying to track down info about the book. Only then, do I discover on the last page of the book this:
This book is number 1459 of a limited edition, being the property of Reuben A. Joy (name is hand written) presented to him at the opening of the new Union League Club House, May Twenty-first, Nineteen Hundred Twenty-six. (signed) W.J. Jackson, president. OK, so now I'm starting to squirm wondering what have I just done? Well, come to find out, what I have just done, is put gesso on several pages of a book worth $300.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now someone please just throw up for me.

Major lesson learned.... NEVER begin altering a vintage book until you find out more about it!

17 comments:

Kris Henderson said...

Well that just sucks! I'll be sure to check out the value from now on.
Since you started you might as well finish it...fill it with wonderful art!

Luna said...

Awwww Angie, YOUR altered book is just all the more valuable and special because of the history of the book. I"m sorry that you are so bothered by what happened. You do such beautiful work, it's no doubt that the Universe wanted you to cherish this discarded forgotten book and make it your own. (My nickel's worth anyway, but that won't even buy a cup of coffee at McDonald's heehee)

Anonymous said...

So isn't your art worth anything? Do it up to the nines, sell it for $500, and you'll feel a lot better.

Nona Parry said...

But it wasn't worth anything to You. It was "boring"!

I've chosen several old, unloved books from secondhand shops or the Salvation Army just for their paper or size or wonderful titles -- only to have them "rescued" by dh or a friend because it's a First Edition or some other nuisance.

Believe me, I am a book lover. I work in a library! But as a substrate for your journal, that book was Only a book after all.

Don't beat yourself up about it. Move on! What an interesting story to tell in your new altered journal ;-)

Cheers
Nona, in New Zealand
http://nonasart.blogspot.com

Joanne Huffman said...

Angie, you bought it to use because you like it and thought it had potential. Try to think of it as the bargain or the century; you didn't have to spend $300 for it, you got it a lot cheaper.
Joanne

Jillian said...

Oh my gosh--that's something I'd never think of. I figure that those sort of things happen to people on Antiques Roadshow. :)
Well, it may have been worth $300, but with your art and journaling in it it will be priceless.

Evoke-Designs by Lorraine said...

Hey Angie! thanks for the note on my blog. I didn't even know you had one! I'll add to my links so I can come back and visit.

Sorry about the book, but no telling how many others have done something similar. If what you do with it has value to you, then it becomes priceless anyway, right? :0)

By the way, I did go to AU, but just for the weekend. I was suppose to go on a trip with my husband, but that got postponed until next Spring, so I managed to get to AZ for the weekend.

Take care!

gina said...

It was meant to be something else other than what it was...Go for it!

Serena said...

Obviously this particular book was meant for you and I'm sure you will cherish it all the more now.

jan said...

I'm so sorry about your oversight. Please immediately forgive yourself. It's just a thing, you are good flesh and blood. Also, as someone who doesn't "DO" anything because it might damage a potentially priceless object, I commend you for DOING! Please keep you creative doing going!

Wabbit said...

Yikes, Angie, I'd feel exactly the same way! But it isn't like it was the only surviving book after all. It's a pity that you never got to use that $$ on art supplies but it's done now, so just go on if you can. Since I collect certain first editions, I do check my books first if I have any doubt. Mostly I've used popular novels and old encyclopedias so there's not much chance they would end up being of much interest to anyone else. If it matters that much to you, you could check to see if it still retains any value. If not, then you can go on working in it with no worries.

cookievf said...

I joined ABC (yahoo) today and followed your link!! What a story!! Thanks for sharing it with us.

So many supportive comments here from your blog friends. I certainly love the idea that once you're finished putting your special touch on it... it will be priceless and most certainly cherished. (smile)

- vicki xo

Anita said...

...and it will be worth at least DOUBLE once it has your beautiful artwork inside of it! ;)

shirleymcc said...

It is only worth 300 dollars if you were willing to pay that for it :-)
Joanne was right, it is the bargain of the century.
hugs to you,
shirley

Knitting Painter Woman said...

My condolences on the altering of the "wrong" book! As a former librarian, with a colleague who goes to yard sales and thrift sales for just that reason often comments on how people don't know the value of used books. Books they "love" 'must' be worth a lot... even though they were book club editions and don't have a dust jacket... but something old that you have no emotional attachment to... who knows.... And anyway, money, art, craftsmanship and even literature are each valuued according to their own scale. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Deb said...

I say the book is worth much, much more with YOUR art in it! And I call that BRAVE! Now it won't be "just a book worth $300," it will be a piece of art - priceless!

Deb

linda t said...

Oh dearest Angie, I sooo agree with what everyone has already said. You are only going to make it more of a treasure. But what a lesson we have all learned from you... I will for sure take a better look at what I have... before I do my thing.
I have missed you! We're back and the trip was everything and more! I am humbled at God's beauty... especially the Fall colors in WI!