To Rip, or not to Rip…

Sigh. Mutter. Squirm. I am in a quandary. For my collages I have been thoughtfully curating illustrations from a vintage book. I bought the aforementioned book at a flea-market in 1991 for £3.00, and for the last eighteen years the book has been kept in a variety of cardboard boxes; occasionally I would flick through it and admire the pictures. There is text in the book and I did mean to read it, honest, but I never did. Anyhow, today I thought about getting another copy and I checked it out online – replacing my trashed book might cost £25+

I feel guilty about trashing the book. I grew up respecting books. BUT, if I hadn’t trashed the book then it would still be sitting in a box, unopened, unread, unappreciated. I would’ve never gotten around to selling it on Amazon or Ebay – I wanted to keep it because I like the pictures so much, and with the collages it is getting a new lease of life, and if I frame and display the collages then I can always look at the pictures…

the-letter-j-collage-using-vintage-book-paper-and-gilding

And the reason I wanted another copy? So that I could trash it, of course. Sigh. Mutter. Squirm. At ease, I can’t afford to do that right now.

To add to this quandary is a further quandary relating to a vintage newspaper – the very first edition of The Sunday Telegraph – which originally belonged to my dad. I was going to take my scissors to the print, but I checked online, and it might be worth £100 – £200. Sigh. Mutter. I am not squirming yet because I haven’t cut it up. It is so gorgeous. Even a full page framed would look good. Damn it. I would love to cut it up and use it. Anyhow, it is now in a box with nobody looking at it. Excuse the colloquialism, but this quandary has done my head in. Of course I would take £200 if offered, but what is my price? How much lower would I go? Or in other words: How much money does someone have to offer me so that I don’t cut it up? Would I give it up for £40? No. But nor would I spend £40 on a vintage book or newspaper to cut up. Do you see my issue? I’ve not really spent any significant money on the items I’ve cut up. Yet.

I am sighing, muttering, stomping my feet, and huffing all over the place. I love making the collages, and when I put them together every component has to be just so. Making copies of the pictures from the book would not have worked for me – I did try, but I could see that the originals looked so much better. There is something special about aged book paper, it’s just so infused with existence [whatever that means].

Perhaps I should remind myself that generally art materials are expensive, and that these vintage bits and pieces are, for the time being, my materials.

So, should I cut up the vintage newspaper? Or try to sell it?

Next Week: More Map News!!! Are we there yet?

40 thoughts on “To Rip, or not to Rip…

    1. Scarlet Post author

      Dinah – I doubt very much that I could part with it! It’s fascinating – somebody would have to rip it from my grubby little mitts.
      Are you suggesting I do something upwards with a cucumber? Good heavens, it usually takes at least 5 comments before the thread starts to unravel!
      Sx

      Liked by 3 people

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      1. batarde

        Scarlet! A bit early in the proceedings for that sort of giddy-goatery, surely … have you been at the turps?
        I hope, by the way, that your sighing, muttering and squirming wasn’t brought on by me bandying the word “libricide” around a while back? Please, think nothing of it. You are an Artist, and therefore have Licence to do these things.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scarlet Post author

        Mr Batarde – Libricide is a damning word isn’t it?!!
        It’s sooo hard to make decisions about the destruction of these wonderful old items, but I suppose it comes under the umbrella of up-cycling??
        Sx

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      3. batarde

        Hmm – coined by Drif Field of sainted memory I think, and doubtless intended to be as damning as possible. Beginning to wish I’d never mentioned it! Keep calm and carry on with the uphill cycling.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Scarlet Post author

        Mr Batarde – I’m fine when I’m in a gung-ho sort of mood, it’s when I have second thoughts that I start to question what the hell I’m doing!
        Sx

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      1. Scarlet Post author

        Mr Devine – Does this means that if you had £11 in your pocket in 1961 it would have felt like £240.53 back then? What else could you get for £11 in 1961? Questions, questions, questions…
        Sx

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  1. Mitzi

    Oh it says Sputnik, I thought it said something else. What is the name of the book? I’ll ask my maid of all work to look out for it the next time she goes rummaging about at boot fairs. As for the newspaper go on Dickinson’s Real Deal and get it flogged or failing that flog it on Flog It.

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Mitzi – It is Drawing Design and Craft-Work by F.J Glass. I feel really bad that I ripped into it, although I am reading bits of it as I hunt through it. It has lots of pertinent information. In my mind’s eye Mr F.J Glass is glaring at me and shaking his head in despair.
      I would love to go to an auction! I’d probably spend more than I sold though.
      Sx

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Jon – This kind of makes me feel better! I think 1920 might have been the first edition. There was a copy on Abebooks for £7.00 but that one has gone too. Anyhow, I should be looking for a new old book really – plenty of markets round here for that sort of thing.
      Sx

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      1. Inexplicable DeVice

        According to the Bank of England’s inflation calculator (something that I’ve only just discovered, and shall be using quite a bit now, I should think), £3.00 in 1991 is equivalent to £6.33 in 2018 (which is as far as it goes), so that Abebooks copy seems (seemed) quite good value.
        I’m sure there’ll be other copies around.

        Unless, many of your readers start snapping them all up in the hope of creating a ScarletBlue knock-off to flog to some discerning art collector, that is…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Scarlet Post author

        Do you know, Mr Devine, I was wondering what £3.00 in 1991 would be worth today, so thank you for answering my wonder! Scarlet Blue knock-offs, well there’s a thing!
        Sx

        Liked by 1 person

      1. dinahmow

        Hie thee down to a newspaper place and ask for an end-of-reel of newsprint.If you want an “aged” look to it, brush some weak tea(no milk!) along the edges and pop it in a very low oven or a warming drawer if your stove has one.Then the original paper is intact.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lisleman

        I’m not expert in creating forgery paper but have seen a documentary about a great forgery of a Galileo first edition book. However I have noticed sun exposure yellows the newsprint quickly.

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Joey – The tea is effective…. but I’m never going to achieve the genuine stain of time. I mean just look at the edges of those vintage book pages…
      Sx

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  2. 63mago

    Franconian Landbier is good for you, cheers.
    “Libricide” , “book murder” or “~ shlashing” is a strong word, really. I do not know who coined it when in what connection, describing what action – but would it not condemn the scientific research that deals with old “books” (of any form) and takes them apart to find older materials that are re-used (Kodikologie, Inkunabelforschung, there is a terminus technicus I forgot) too ?
    Books, printed materials, are not sacrosanct. For ages printed materials (leaflets etc.) were seen as “unworthy”, not collectable etc.
    Books were not always venerated – I vaguely remember that a traveling historian / author found the remnants of a glorious manuscript by going to the loo at a post station – I have no details now, I blame my terribly weak memory (and the Landbier), Jon (a real librarian) may possibly know what I refer to at once. When the libraries and book collections of the monasteries in the years between 1803 and 1806 (and following) were destroyed, books were used to fill potholes. GOd alone may know what was lost in those terrible years.
    Now, do not get excited, dearest MsScarlet – you are no barbarian ! Far from it – you use “books” to create something new, you feel respect towards your material, you see the beauty of an old paper, of a print – your agens is not contempt, but respect !
    The book you relentlessly rip apart is surely accessible in different libraries over the country, there are various exemplars available on the market, so you do not need to have scruples about using it : You do not selfishly kill the last known specimen !
    Also the newspaper – it is surely preserved somewhere in a library or institute ; you just have to weight or balance (I am not sure if this is correct, I mean “abwägen” in German) the possible emotional value (Dad’s newspaper) for you (and you alone) against the value or importance of your use of it : If it’s cut it is cut. “Schöpferische Zerstörung” is per se nothing bad.

    BTW the scan-copy-“print”-thing does absolutely not work, simply because there is no printing involved, let alone the age of the paper etc.
    “Print” still means imprint – put something on paper and press it in, leave an imprint. A typewriter does this, a needle printer is second hand (but I loved their fierce sounds, NEC P 5 or P 6), while a laser “printer” works on adhesion, and an ink “printer” just pisses ink. A really printed page one feels at one’s finger tips. Sorry for this much too long bla.

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  3. Scarlet Post author

    Mr Mags – Thank you!! Your words have made me feel better – and it’s true, I do love and respect these old books and papers I’m using – I think they are beautiful, and they should be seen!! And thank you for describing the printing process – I love my typewriter for the reason you you describe – I could get the same font online, but printed from a computer each letter has the same weight, whereas when I hit the typewriter keys each letter is different depending on how hard I’ve hit the key.
    Sx

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  4. The Mistress

    The Mistress is in awe of the crimplene. By the way, Isn’t Crimplene Mitzi’s drag name?

    I am generally against cutting up vintage books, magazines and newspapers if they have historic value. However, you have made something beautiful with the clippings and you have indeed given them new life. And who knows? The purchaser might use the item to make his/her own collages! Therefore, The Mistress grants you permission to clip to your heart’s content.

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  5. Scarlet Post author

    Ms Mistress – Do you know, it did cross my mind that others could use my work in their own work! Especially the gilded letters and my calligraphy scraps.
    I will probably always be conflicted about cutting up these vintage bits and bobs. I do have some ideas for not having to do it so much. Plus, I also have some scraps of exceedingly old newspapers which I found in a wall cavity at my old house – I think they’re 1920’s, so they will keep me going.

    Mitzi Crimplene? Yes, that does have a ring to it!
    Sx

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  6. nick

    Cut them up and use them for artistic purposes. To flog valuable source material just to gain a couple of hundred smackers would be criminal. My dear friend Japonica – favourite phrase “the chief point to bear in mind” – agrees with me.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. spanishtater

    As you say, the originals shall have a new lease on life (and probably been seen and appreciated by more people) in your collages. If you sold the newspaper, some boring collector will probably seal it away where no one will ever get to see what’s inside. And what’s a little money, anyway? Soon it will be gone, and you won’t have it or the beautiful materials. Cut away, I say! This is art!

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Scarlet Post author

      Thank you, Rimpy!! Yes, I am bothered that people collect these things and hide them away. The saddest thing are toys from the long distant past that are still box fresh and have never been played with.
      I was thinking about you today….and the FGES…. I ought to think about the competition.
      Sx

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  8. lisleman

    Hey it’s hobby not a business so your old paper/books are worth more to you as artistic material. Of course, there would be a monetary limit that would convince me to cash in/out.

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