Diane Maurer-Mathison takes collage and other altered art processes seriously as art. None of this here's-how-to-express-yourself-by-gluing-images-together stuff you get in some collage guides -- not that there's anything wrong with that approach. In fact, if I have any criticism of this book, it is that she does make the topic seem technically challenging in a way that could well be discouraging to a beginner. Her list of "basic" supplies represents quite an investment, especially for an individual who just wants to try out a new hobby. Really, paper, scissors, and glue are just fine to get started.
However, if you are serious about collage, or do it already and want to learn new techniques, this book is great. It is appealing to look at and easy to read, there are a variety of aesthetic and technical suggestions for inspirations, and more complex projects are laid out in clear steps, with photos. There are many helpful tips. Here is a sample of ones that interested me:
--after burning paper, hold at an angle over a just-blown-out candle to get a smoke pattern.
--don't use cardboard as a cutting base [guilty], get a self-healing mat.
--coat front and back
of paper ephemera to make it last.
--tear paper away from you to give a clean but ragged edge, toward you to show the paper core.
--when altering a book, remove some of the pages (say 1 out of 5) to create space, and bind/adhere several pages together into a block to make them more stable.
I read the section on collage most closely, as I am not planning to make my own paper or buy the tools needed for metal work or more complex assemblage, but she does explain these techniques as well. There is a also a section on the merits of various photoshopping tools and formats.