To create the project in the photos above, I used a page taken from a vintage book and created a poem on that page by selecting and highlighting certain words and phrases from the text on the page. When only the highlighted text is read, a poem emerges. It is not as tricky at it may seem at first and if the word ‘poetry’ scares you just look at this as wordplay, a puzzle to search for words and phrases amongst the text that you can link together to create a new thought, image or sentiment. It can also be helpful to remember that poems can be short, just a sentence or a couple of lines, and they don’t have to rhyme.
If the thought of poetry still sends you running for the hills I have included pictures of a simpler project that just takes key words from the text on the page and makes the stamped images more of a focus than the words. I turned the non-poem page into a card front.
In this post I am going to focus more on the creating the page poetry than how to make this specific project as the picture you build will depend on the page you have. The only thing you really need for this type of page poetry or art is a page from a book, but as I love the additional charm that vintage brings I have used a page from a vintage book that I received in a Vintage Paper Pack from Simply Vintage Designs. Everything Simply Vintage Designs brings to Hochanda makes me want to swoon, however I am drawn most to their vintage fabric and paper packs. The packs are full of charm and inspiration and include a variety of vintage papers and ephemera, the picture below is of the contents of the paper pack I received.
To start forming your page poetry, you need to first read through the text on your page, you may need to do this a few times, to get a sense of the types of words that you have to choose from. When reading, look out for words that belong together either by theme, subject, feeling, sound. Use a pencil to encircle or ‘block’ in words that interest you. Words may appeal to you because of the images they conjure up, for their literal meaning or the thoughts they inspire. Read over the words and phrases you’ve selected and see if they can be linked to an emotion, image or thought that you can make the subject of your poem. When you’ve narrowed down the theme/subject, you will also need to pick the word or group of words that you want to use as the start of your poem.
When selecting where to start your poem, please consider that the poem will be read across and down the page just like a normal text, so if you start your poem low down on the page you cannot then swing back up the page for the next line. By encircling or drawing boxes around your selected words the words stand out from the original text on the page. These blocks or circles that are put around a word or words represent a line in a poem, so even if you’ve blocked in two separate words on the same line in the original text they would be read as being two separate lines. In building your ‘block’ around words you start to build the lines of your poem, creating a unit that would represent a line in a poem, for example, if I was type out the words I selected on my page it would look like this:
The summer months to the
Trees or Shrubs
Light that falls upon them
In summer the grateful shade
Sunshine is arrested
By the trees chemical machinery
Of the light beneath
You may need to re-read the words you’ve selected a few times and play around with adding and removing words from the poem before you’re happy with the poem you’ve created. Omitting the ‘little’ words, such as ‘of’, ‘a’, ‘the’, ‘and’ from the ‘blocking’ off or encircling of words can help to pair-back the language and keep the focus on the key word. This moving around of words in ‘blocks’ is like building a jigsaw puzzle and is part of the fun. Don’t try to force out of the text a ‘perfect’ poem as a perfect poem is very unlikely to be achieved as you only have a very small amount of words to work from, just enjoy the process and aim for a loose weave of ideas, images or sentiment. Once you’re happy with the poem you have built go over your pencilled circles or ‘blocks’ with a fine-liner pen.
Once you have finished with the poetry part, it’s time to search through your collection of stamps to find suitable images that would complement the words in your poem. Silhouette style stamps work well as they stand out nicely on the page. Also consider the placement of your stamps so that they don’t get in the way of your outlined words. Instead of stamping you could draw, doodle or Zentangle images onto the page.
After stamping or drawing onto your page, you could stop there and mount the page into a frame, scrapbook layout or card front or you could use that page to build up a larger mixed media scene. For my mixed media scene, I layered my page poem with black card and Graphic 45 papers onto a 10”x10” piece of grey-board. I heat embossed some detail and added vintage trims and paper flowers. I also added some die-cuts and scraps of texture paper.
If you don’t wish to use your vintage book page for a poem, you can still create lovely things with book pages by stamping images onto the page and by highlighting just a word or sentence in the text on the page. To make the project in the picture below, I stamped a floral theme onto a page from a vintage book and just circled two names of flowers from the text. I made my non-poem page into a card front and added one of the vintage cigarette cards from the paper pack onto the page as it had a picture of a lily on it. I also stamped out a quote about flowers on the same paper that I matted the page onto.