Lately I have been dabbling into the art of collage. It’s the piecing together of all sorts of things like paper, photographs, tissue paper, fabric, cardboard – anything that can be cut or glued down onto a surface. Using scissors and paper is calming and easy to do; tearing paper adds another interesting texture to the design. Where do I collage? Why?
Up in the loft I have a creative space to write, play and experiment. The play comes in handy when my grand children visit because there are many exciting books on display, toys set up and the endless fun of lego construction. Play for me is experimenting with children’s picture art. Why do it? It’s part of my creative personality. It’s looking for, observing and finding. It’s making something out of nothing!
Since I was little, I loved finding bright and bold shapes, cutting out people from magazines and adding my drawings to them.
Now that I’m all grown up and retired, it’s a form of meditation. Thankfully, I can go to the Loft space and make a big mess.
I am inspired by artists like Eric Carle whose picture books exude charm, fun, bright and beautiful patterns and textures. Ezra Jack Keats also used this technique in his book Snowy Days. Rolling, printing, stamping, sponging onto sheets of paper with swirling strokes and bold colours, then cutting them up to create a double paged spread.
I like the random fun and surprises that come in creating an illustration. You never really know what the result will be even though you might have an idea to start with, then it changes and develops. I have been sourcing my shoe boxes that are filled with photographs and this one shows my grandson when he was about two with his wheelbarrow. I added leaves, bushes and greenery to enhance the image.
This collage shows a grand daughter playing with her doll. She is about to wash dolly in a bucket. Add, a cut out magazine dog, patterned rug on the floor, a cut out dog dish and torn paper background. Voila! My little original.
This one is made from sponging paint as the sand and castle at the beach. Cut out cloud, bucket and spade and water colour the water and sky. Coloured pencils for the hat and costume. Remember, I am a beginner.
Lots more to learn. Video clips to watch. Books to read. It’s also fun to browse through magazines like FLOW for creative ideas. Nature provides a great colour palette. If drawing is not your strength, perhaps you can work on the composition and line work.
Jeannie Baker’s new book, Playing with Collage shows the talent of her stunning collages using an assemblage of natural materials, like bark, plants, seed pods, earth and a treasure hunt of pieces from the backyard, kitchen or craft supply. She uses handmade papers, plastics, ribbons, lace, leaves, and spices. Her book is full of practical tips. Like me, she finds fun in cutting up and using old postcards, corrugated paper, threads and feathers.
So, if you are stuck for a Christmas holiday project for the children, why not make an egg-box collage with bits and pieces that the kids can use to make their masterpieces. A couple of glue sticks, recycled paper or cardboard and words of encouragement.
Display their art work in a favourite room. Enjoy the process.