Swap-bot Time: May 9, 2021 12:39 am

Altered Text ATCs

Launch gallery slideshow

Altered Text ATCs
Swap Homepage:http://www.flickr.com/groups/alteredtext/
Swap Coordinator:Rillaith (contact)
Swap categories: Challenges  Art  Artist Trading Card (ATC) 
Number of people in swap:89
Last day to signup/drop:October 29, 2007
Date items must be sent by:November 19, 2007
Number of swap partners:3

Altered Text ATC Examples from AlteredSilver

I recently came across Altered Text ATCs - picking out a few words from a page from an old book, that make something poetic, by painting or colouring over the words you don't want. (Some of these sound a lot like Magnetic Fridge Poetry!)

For this swap, you will be sending 2 ATCs each to 3 partners - so 6 in total. Each one will be similar to the picture above - a sheet of words from a book, a newspaper, or even printed off the internet, with words picked out to make a poetic phrase often entirely unrelated to the original content. Each ATC must be 2.5"x3.5" as normal, and the Altered Text should be the main element of the ATC, although you may embellish with something related to the new theme if you wish.

About "Altered Text" as Art

"Altered Text" is a modern take on an old tradition - that of removing the text on a papyrus, scroll or parchment in order to reuse it for new writings. It gained popularity through Tom Phillips's treatment of W.H.Mollock's A Human Document which then became: A Humument

There are some gorgeous examples of ATCs made in this manner (from where I have borrowed the swap picture as an example) here: http://alteredsilver.blogspirit.com/project_alteredtext/ More altered text examples an gorgeous pieces of artwork are linked to from there.

About ATCs

Cedarseed's article is the de facto hub of information, inspiration and ideas (http://www.cedarseed.com/air/atc.html), but I also like the 'Making ATCs' pages at Altered Art (http://www.altered-art.net/make-artist-trading-cards.html)

Fine print:

  • Newbies are welcome with a complete profile (this shows a level of commitment to swapping and the Swap Bot community, and helps instil trust), but please do send me a message or post a comment and say hi.
  • This swap is international
  • Anyone is welcome with a rating of 4.8 and no recent no-sends.
  • I won't be banning people until after signups prior to assigning partners, so if you think your profile may look questionable, would like special consideration, or have any other questions, drop me a message sooner rather than later!

ThreeSweetPeas has created an Altered Text Flickr group to which you're all invited to join & post your ATCs - and anything else you make with this technique. Have fun!


Rillaith 10/12/2007 #

I made some ATCs like this last night, and found it surprisingly easy ... the hardest part is picking out the text!

peridoticparadox 10/12/2007 #

This looks so cool! count me in!

Caffinna 10/14/2007 #

Please, please, please, I want to participate in this one! I recently participated in a paper swap and my nifty swell partner included some old book pages. I have been just itching to do some altered text atc's, and this would just scratch that itch!

Rillaith 10/15/2007 #

Glad to have you, Caffinna :)

ATCarol 10/15/2007 #

I tried this on a couple of "found" pages and I can't seem to get the words to flow or say anything even slightly coherent (?) so I think I need a little more training. I did a google search and read up on this but that didn't help. Is there some basic rules like pick a nound, now pick a verb, etc or anything that can help? This is rather a difficult excercise, I think. ATCar0l

Rillaith 10/16/2007 #

I've found it quite hard but satisfying when you manage it - I find I have to be a lot looser with my phrasing than I would be were I writing for real. My best suggestion, would be to have an ATC blank nearby (it's way too easy to use words out of reach otherwise), and just to start looking at the page for interesting words. You'll need to find some in-betweeny words, like to, for, with - if you can find those you can find something either side :) When I get home tonight, I'll give you a couple of the phrases that I've made like this, and I hope that'll help!

Aim for some kind of meaning, and not perfect grammar ;) (Or even anything that makes sense!)

Anyone else want to share their found poetry? (I'm amazed at having 30 people singed up already - I'm so pleased it's inspired you all!)

Rillaith 10/16/2007 #

Oooh, yes - and don't be afraid to aim small! A "good" phrase of 5 words works just as well :) The Humument I linked to is incredible at how well put together the words are - but of course, has the whole or quite a large page to play with. The examples on AlteredSilver (which I have small versions of in the description) click through to larger, readable ones for more, immediate examples.

spinjenny 10/17/2007 #

Is it OK to scan and (laser) print your starting text? I don't have books here which I want to tear up. What about magazine/newspaper text?

Rillaith 10/17/2007 #

Sure it is! I know not everyone likes the idea of using pages from old books (even though, did you know, charity shops throw hundreds of them out? Eep!) but you can use any block of text that can cover an ATC base. Magazines or newspapers are fine too - though will probably be more limiting when you come to colouring, painting, or decorating over the text you don't need.

I promised to post some of the phrases I've got on mine, so here we go. These are all taken from an old war bloke's story about what happened in some battle or other, from a boook that was falling apart anyway. The things I've picked out from some of the pages are sometimes surprisingly unrelated! And a lot like fridge poetry ... I'm glad they look pretty, 'cos they don't make a whole lot of sense!

  • Again they were roused and made to see the distant morning.
  • They wait at the coast in darkness, across the water, silhouetted against the headland.
  • Drawing of a stick man, himself a couple of hands and his head. (Andy's contribution ;) )
  • A moment's silence then it was stifling, alight, and in ruins.
  • We were floating on the crest of a wave, out to sea.
  • Lying here, I killed many, the blood lost too fast.
NonVenomous 10/18/2007 #

Thank you! This should be fun!

Kessie 10/18/2007 #

OMG this is so fun, I started last night and I've done four already.... It isn't often learn about something completely new, and I'm already addicted! I think all my ATCs for the next few weeeks are going to involve altered text.... ooh, now I wanna do a whole altered book...

vickie 10/18/2007 #

Thank you for doing this swap, I started to do my atcs and can't stop the altering. Also, thanks for the great ideas AND LINKS, THANKS!!!! Rillaith Vickie

te3dd 10/18/2007 #

Most dollar stores have a variety of books. Here is one that I made but am not going to use:

live forever-her calling. the nine swallowed by the veil taking the Blood, Death her personal bodyguard. Every other, ignorant of fate.

I found that it is easiest to copy the page several times, then trace your atc blank around several words that you find interesting or inspiring, then look for the phrases-this way you will definitely stay within the area.

threesweetpeas 10/18/2007 #

i am so in love with this idea, i have been reading the links and am just so excited to begin, i have chosen my text last nite, now to the art store for some good pencils....anyone want to make a HUGE commitment for a altered book? if so and also for those of us in the swap i have created a flickr group , please please go post your swap alteredtext atcs there!!! i am so eager to see them!!!

btw i am way over excited about this newly discovered art:) LOL

threesweetpeas 10/18/2007 #


here is the link, please please post your atcs!

Rillaith 10/19/2007 #

Wow, you guys are just giving me goosebumps over here. 54 people signed up! In the top 10! And such excited comments! blush This is my first time hosting a swap of my own idea (previous ones being private or hosting non-US-only versions with permission) so I'm both amazed and secretly REALLY pleased that it's proved to be so popular. Thank you all beams

ThreeSweetPeas - I've joined the Flickr group you've set up, and I'll add it as the Swap URL too. I can't wait to see everyone's ATCs - and books! :)

I'm so glad you're all having fun already - I'm up to 10 - and then had to make myself stop so I could get my other ATCs for the end of this month done first! laughs I've found it's great for word-hunting whilst eating lunch at work or sitting on the train/tube commuting!

Kessie 10/20/2007 #

Making several copies the text is a good idea... I've also found it helpful to cut an ATC sized 'window' in a sheet of paper, then I can move that around on top of the book to see what's the best combination I can find....

Kessie 10/20/2007 #

I love the idea of doing a complete altered book but probably don't have the time for that sort of commitment...

I've just been reading about the way that the Humument is always evolving because Tom Phillips re-does new versions of the earlier pages... I wonder about a new swap where we all agreed to do pages from a copy of the same book? We'd probably do different pages, and even if we did the same page we'd come up with different interpretations of it... and maybe swap pages with each other, or put them all on a website to make a nearly-complete version of the book?

Obviously for this swap we're just using whatever text we already have, but if we chose some really well known novel, that could easily be bought secondhand in most countries...

I just wondered what other people think?

Rillaith 10/20/2007 #

We coud even send a bunch of people a few pages from one copy :)

FarStarr 10/20/2007 #

I've started working with a 1943 murder mystery...having an awesome time!

pahasiga 10/20/2007 #

Kessie, it would be best to take a page from internet then - everybody would have access. Or have one book and distribute it between participants - why to spoil 50 books instead of one?

I'd NEVER kill a book for an ATC! What an idea!! Nasty, cruel, inhuman people!! You are not worth to walk the same ground with books at all!

I promise that if I manage something before sign-up time I'll sign up, too. :)

Rillaith 10/21/2007 #

Can I point out that I 1) Bookcross, so books get more readers, 2) hoarde books (I'm in need of about 3 more bookshelves at the moment) and 3) rescue books from local charity shops who would otherwise throw them out - by the bagful every few weeks! It kinda put it all into perspective; I have one book which was old and already falling apart which I've been using for printer word ephemera quite a few times now, and it's getting way more life than it would have had otherwise! :) I should have used the mystery book I read the other week - an old one from a charity shop - because it was missing the last 2 pages! How cruel is that ...!

I actually felt like you about the thought of altering books like this on a large scale until I looked & read around some more! ;)

FingersInc 10/21/2007 #

Ha, I bought an old "Romance Novel" for 25 cents at a library book sale. I have found "wonderful" sentences from it !
I took a piece of junk mail that was card stock thickness, and cut hole out of it that was ATC size. I could find a couple words on the sheet, and then hold the junk mail "opening" over the page and locate words that went with it to make a sentence ( of sorts). Possibly this method will help someone else.

Rillaith 10/22/2007 #

Some great ideas coming out here! FingersInc - I bet you can get some brilliant phrases from that .... got to be better than reading a romance novel! shudders

pahasiga 10/22/2007 #

Ooh.. I'd rescue at least three shelves of books from my parents, only that we don't have room even for one more bookshelf in our flat. Gotta buy a bigger place first.

I'm playing at the moment with Agatha Christie's 4.50 from Paddington. :) But I plan to make carbon copies and then alter these copies--is that OK?

I had once a book, too, with several pages missing (but not from end of a mystery one, that's cruel indeed). I borrowed the same book from library, copied missing pages from that and glued into right place.

Rillaith 10/22/2007 #

Printed copies, photocopies, magazine or newspaper articles are all fine to use, as far as I'm concerned. Although good luck finding a newspaper/magazine article worth using ;) Obviously each different type of base paper has a different way of dealing with it come decorating - glossy won't take coloured pencils, old books might fall apart if you're too enthusiastic (oops!), watercolours would work differently depending on the paper, laser pritned or photocopied has toner issues and the ink can flake off if you use something like pencils too ... but that's hafl the challenge right? ;)

Good idea about the book repair - unfortunately this one was a late 60s era "modern day" detective fiction by an author I'd never heard of - and thus unlikely to be in my local library! chuckle (Fortunately, I'd worked out whodunnit, but missed out on the resolution!)

Rillaith 10/22/2007 #

One last thing to re-iterate from the swap description - I won't be checking / removing people who don't meet requirements until after sign-ups close. However, I intend on offering to run a separate, private rated version for those who are currently signed up who e.g. don't have the required rating at the moment.

Just in case anyone is concerned at there being a couple of <4.8 rated people and a few unrated newbies (most of whom have already contacted me anyway) in this swap at the moment :)

Moominbrooke 10/22/2007 #

My library sells/recycles little paperbacks 3 for a dollar. I picked up a copy of "Frankenstein" which seemed somehow appropriate! Haha!

Rillaith 10/23/2007 #

Lol, I like it, Moominbrooke!

Lethalblonde 10/23/2007 #

Yay, I love this! I read some of the comments about a whole book; contemporary poet Mary Ruefle did just that and published it last year! Link here: http://www.amazon.com/Little-White-Shadow-Mary-Ruefle/dp/1933517034/ref=pdbbssr_1/002-3109351-2745615?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193140968&sr=8-1

The words she didn't want are whited out, but the whole book is reproduced from a 19th century book. Another woman in my MFA program took pages from Whtiman's Leaves of Grass and literally lifted the unwanted text from the pages by way of a razorblade. The pages are mounted in a wooden box, and the poem has an audio track that's on a motion sensor. The poem is read, interspersed with audio from war-time recordings and other sounds (the subject of the poem is a younf man who was utterly changed by serving in Iraq). Anyway, this is a big thing that a lot of people are trying lately! For the people who expressed interest in a book-length project, maybe a tip-in swap or a round robin? If anyone does it, let me know! If no one else does, I may have to organize it myself! Either way, I have been long-winded, but I'm in!

rintheamazing 10/23/2007 #

I've only gotten one done so far, and it was from a magazine article. I need to get my hands on some disposable books for the rest.

Missysmom 10/24/2007 #

wow- this does sound like fun. I did a "found" type poetry postcard once and it was kindof cool. And so many great comments and tips. Count me in too. It's always exciting to try something new.

Rillaith 10/24/2007 #

Glad to have you, Missysmom - hope you enjoy the challenge of the smaller size! I imagine a postcard probably has its own challenges .... I can't imagine trying to do something so big. ATCs are nice "safe" sizes ;)

Alphenquilts 10/24/2007 #

I found it hard to do, fun, but hard (English is not my first language),so I've made 3 ATC's with English text and 3 ATC's with Dutch text. The Dutch ones were the hardest! I will make a translation of the Dutch text for my partners.

groeten, Francis

Rillaith 10/25/2007 #

ooh, that sounds fab, Alphenstamp! Do we get to see pictures of them? :)

Alphenquilts 10/25/2007 #

Yes I will upload them to the gallery.

groeten, Francis

towenby 10/25/2007 #

I too love doing altered text and am a member of a Yahoo Group that does just that. If anyone is interested, I can post the group's name tonight when I get home.

Rillaith 10/25/2007 #

Lovely, Towenby! I wonder if that's the same Yahoo group as the one which challenged the person who made the ones that inspired me to try it ... that would make it full circle I think :)

towenby 10/25/2007 #

It could very well be the same group. It sounds familiar, now that you mention it. Yes, it would certainly be full circle. The group can be found at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alteredtext/

pahasiga 10/26/2007 #

I have got my six sentences, today I'll go to make copies and start playing around. I'm especially satisfied with a rather romantic and maybe a bit suggestive sentence I got out of a murder scene. ;)

Rillaith 10/29/2007 #

Fabulous! I rather enjoyed perverting the (awfully badly written) war memoirs I've been using although I haven't managed anything suggestive - yet!

Missysmom 10/29/2007 #

I tried this and couldn't seem to get anything I liked so I am un-joining. Maybe if something works for me I will rejoin. Sorry.

Rillaith 10/29/2007 #

Awwww, sorry to hear that, Missysmom. Today's the last day for signups, so you may have to wait for another one of these!

I'm so excited! I'm amazed at having seen 92 people signed up at one point, and still a huge number at 88. You won't be getting your partners straight away, as I'll be having to go through and check profiles, but I'll be doing that tonight, if Swap-Bot Time coincides with GMT-Bed Time ;)

Rillaith 10/30/2007 #

There sure are a lot of you!! Hopefully should be happy to press that big red button tonight - just in case anyone was wondering where your partners are - but I want to be sure that you can all be sure that you're going to have great partners. Cheers guys!!

pahasiga 10/30/2007 #

I was just thinking (when I didn't see my partners yet) how poor Rillaith has probably been sitting up for hours looking through all these profiles...

Rillaith 11/ 1/2007 #

Whew! A mammoth task indeed. Thank you everyone for your patience ... I feel bad having dropped a couple of people out in the end, but we're done. If you do have any problems, after all - I'm no psychic ;) - please do get in touch with me.

Have fun guys!


creatressdesigns 11/ 1/2007 #

So how do we see who our parters are? Do you e-mail it to us? Not sure how that part works.

Thanks! ~Antoinette

creatressdesigns 11/ 1/2007 #

Sorry! Got it. Noob question. My bad. I'm really excited to be participating in this swap. As you can tell, it's my first. Thanks for having me!


boatingbelle 11/ 1/2007 #

Fingersinc, Beenebag and Rillaith, your cards are in the post from UK. Thanks Rillaith for an innovative swap. Regards, Margot

Alphenquilts 11/ 1/2007 #

I've uploaded pics in the gallery and on Flickr. So my cards will go out tomorrow.

groeten, Francis

pahasiga 11/ 2/2007 #

I spoiled three of my cards sigh. I've got to make new copies of these pages tomorrow.

Rillaith 11/ 2/2007 #

D'oh! I did that with a couple Pahasiga - one I could rescue but another I ended up using the back instead. I've only got one shot with mine, so if it's gone - it's gone!

Mine in the mail today (I get to feel virtuous), except for Angel1980's whose cards are sitting ready and waiting for her ATCs for another swap at the same time.

Glad you enjoyed it, Margot! Alphenstamp - great images, love the Dutch ones! I saw some from FingersInc on the FLickr site already too - love the way you've all interpreted it. Fab ideas :)

Caffinna 11/ 2/2007 #

Mine are going in post office tonight!

pahasiga 11/ 3/2007 #

I can't use the back of them as I used markers and they show on the other side, too. Also I'm not that good at English that I could pick up some normal text from any piece of text.

I do hope that using markers for drawing plus colored pencils for background plus maybe some stickers is OK for an ATC...

beckra 11/ 3/2007 #

Great swap, Rillaith; thanks for hosting!

YourTeacher 11/ 6/2007 #

This was hard work, but I enjoyed it, so thanks. I sent my items today (just remember they have to cross the ocean to reach you all). :-)

lorri 11/ 6/2007 #

I sent my cards today (along with some bits and moo cards) It was a fun swap - my first for swapbot. I have signed up for more now - what a great site :) My cards also have to travel the ocean, so please let me know when they arrive safely. Thanks for hosting and allowing me to join Sally! xo Lorri

pahasiga 11/ 7/2007 #

I sent mine to two of my partners in USA. I spoiled one more ATC (and spoiled it 4 times!) and must redo it but I think my partner in Europe will be first to receive anyway. ;)

pahasiga 11/10/2007 #

I see some very cool altered text ATCs at flickr!

boatbird 11/10/2007 #

I've been playing with a cheap Mills and Boon novel- weird text in places!!!! I'm not happy with the first two I did so I've only got one that is ok at the moment- and I forgot to bring them to work with me so I can't scan them to the group (silly me!)..... they will be done and sent soon though :) Great idea for a swap!

boatbird 11/11/2007 #

silly me- they are in my bag- I have uploaded the ones I have done so far :)) into the flickr group

towenby 11/11/2007 #

I have ruined more of these than I care to admit! But finally, after much trial and error, I expect to have my ATCs in the mail to nickerjac, yowell, and weyrmistress on Monday.

Rillaith 11/11/2007 #

I'm so sorry you guys have been having trouble! I managed to rescue a couple, with the aid of a craft knife (scraping the top layer of paper off), some paper scraps (tiny piece glued over the fluffed line) or changing how I planned to paint over them - only one so far lost beyond hope ;)

Fab images at Flickr!

creatressdesigns 11/11/2007 #

I'm almost finished with mine and should have them out by the end of this week. I'll also post pics on my blog. I don't want to ruin the surprise for the recipients. I'm excited to get mine! I'm loving the process. I may make some for holiday gifts for friends. Thanks for opening my eyes to such a great artform.

FleaGirl 11/12/2007 #

Thanks Rillaith for such an interesting and challenging swap!

My finished ATCs will be in the mail to searight, groundhoggirl and Rae4Beach by the end of today.

I'll also post the finished products to the flickr site once everyone receives them (I don't want to spoil the surprise!)

FarStarr 11/13/2007 #

Mine are on their way to brokenmelody,turnsoleluna and vickie. I had fun making them even though most seemed to come out dark or depressing. I'll upload them after they've had a chance to travel.

boatbird 11/15/2007 #

Sent mine yesterday- but didn't get a chance to scan them all sigh I just wanted to give them a little more chance of getting there early!

Rillaith 11/15/2007 #

Aww! Hopefully your partners can scan them for you, Boatbird!

HHC 11/15/2007 #

Mine were sent out to my partners last week... and I've just posted to the gallery. This was FUN! Can't wait to see what I receive!

zebra3175 11/15/2007 #

mine have just gone out to my partners. Hope you all like my fist attempt at ATC's. I had fun with them. Enjoy. Sam

laury55 11/16/2007 #

posted mine this morning to fleagirl, betsy & searight

Tryph 11/16/2007 #

Popped 'em in the mail for HHC, Tiabel and illuminatedVisions today!

pahasiga 11/16/2007 #

HHC, I like it how you have chosen the way of canceling out according to your text! I did some drawing, too, but nothing to do with text, sadly.

threesweetpeas 11/19/2007 #

shirley, natalie and samantha, as is typical for me your swaps will not leave sweden till the end of the week, sorry for the delay..... thanks for understanding, noel

chesterbarb50 11/19/2007 #

Hi there- Cookiebear, Starwacher and Girthta, your ATC's went out in today's mail. Hope you enjoy them.

creatressdesigns 11/20/2007 #

I sent my swaps on-time, but forgot to click the little button here. Sorry about that. Be assured they are in the mail and out on the way! I'll post pics later when I think they've arrived. I don't want to spoil the surprise!

Caffinna 11/27/2007 #

I am still anxiously awaiting my atc's arrival! I know mine have made to my partners, just waiting till mine arrive here.

Rillaith 11/29/2007 #


I've already been in touch with everyone who hadn't marked as sent by the deadline, and apart from a few cases where life has hit with a bang, (and even in a few of those) most have now sent out too. Or had forgotten to click the button!

Remember that there are people in this swap from all corners of the world, and even airmail sometimes takes longer than you expect, but I'm keeping an eye on things to make sure that everyone gets their cards eventually :)

I will keep in touch, and am encouraging people to let their own partners know when there's a delay, but if anyone hasn't hear from someone or is worried that their ATCs haven't arrived yet, please remember you can always PM me too :)


threesweetpeas 12/ 4/2007 #

you can see the ones i created in the flickr group!

Rillaith 12/16/2007 #

Ouch, 4 confirmed "flakes" and it looks like potentially up to 7! I will be angeling for people where possible, and Caffinna has kindly already made some spare ATCs to send as an angel too. If anyone else is willing to angel, please let me know!

Thanks, and have yourselves a great christmas!

Rillaith 12/16/2007 #

Incidentally, JewelzyBug has started another of these swaps, which you can sign up for here: http://www.swap-bot.com/swap/show/9840 :)

Rillaith 12/27/2007 #

I believe everyone who needs to be angeled is being or has already been angeled - however if anyone has not received from one of their partners (or from an angel in place of their partner) please let me know. I can also supply links to profiles for anyone wishing to thank their angels!



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