Happy Memories – Emma Beier

In the summer going into sixth grade, I visited Paris and London with a group of students and teachers from all over the United States. During the time leading up to my trip, I was extremely nervous. I had never been away from home for more than one night, and, at the time, I was really shy, afraid of talking to new people. However, those two weeks away turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had so far. I met so many nice people, and the sites we visited only made the travel more exciting. After learning about our Altered Book Assignment, I went home to scour my shelves, looking for the right book. While doing so, I rediscovered an old London travel guide that I had bought in preparation for my trip. The second I saw the book, I was flooded with a rush of happy memories. Accordingly, I thought that my London guide would be perfect for this assignment, as it reminds me of so many fun times.

Although I quickly determined which book I wanted to use, I struggled to decide what I wanted to create. Initially, I thought that it would be cool to design the map of the London Tube on the cover of the guide, using scraps of the maps inside the book. However, when attempting to do so, I found that it was too challenging and would take more time than I had to give. Moving forward, I resolved to build Big Ben out of Crescent board, cover the building’s surface in pieces of London maps, and then attach it to the book’s cover. When starting this design, I found that, contrary to my last idea, this project could be completed very quickly. Accordingly, I decided to wrap the cover in maps, build Big Ben, and design Tower Bridge covered in maps on the book’s surface. To begin the project, I started by ripping maps out of the book and then cutting them into rectangles of approximately the same size. I then glued these scraps to the cover of my book, laying them either vertically or horizontally. From there, I painted the cover with Modge Podge to secure the scraps in place. Next, I found a sketch of Big Ben that divided the monument into just its sides. Additionally, I found a sketch of Tower Bridge illustrating its front side. Using these images as references, I sketched the monuments on Crescent board. This step of the project was likely the most difficult, as it was challenging to draw the pieces so that their measurements were equivalent. I then cut out my sketches using an Exacto knife and glued pieces of maps onto their surfaces. From there, I formed Big Ben and Tower Bridge, using glue to attach each of the sides to one another. Next, I covered both monuments with Modge Podge to secure the maps and their position. Lastly, I attached both monuments to the guide, fastening them with Elmer’s Glue.

In the past, when I have chosen a project, I have always stuck to my original design. However, when taking my first shot at this assignment, I saw that my first idea just was not going to work out; it was too complicated and too time-consuming. This fact made me feel uncomfortable, nervous that I would not finish the project with a suitable sculpture that I liked. I had always assumed that my first idea was my best idea and that all my others would not be sufficient. Despite my nerves, I found that my second attempt was better than my first. Accordingly, through this project I learned that it is okay to start all-over, working from a clean slate. Furthermore, I discovered that sometimes being patient, taking the project one step at a time, can help you create your best work.

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