Sticky Fingers

I’ve been paper collaging like mad the past week or so to give my brain time to develop quilting plans for a few pieces. Ignoring something is often a surefire way to have solutions find me. And I wanted to work more with paper anyway.

Thanks to collage classes that have you create papers to use, I have a healthy supply of solid and patterned papers. In addition, I have a backlog of magazine pages from the Sunday NY Times, plus lots of monoprint rejects from my friend Penny. Then there are the wallpaper samples she gave me, and my rejects from monoprinting and painting classes.

So now I have a paper scrap glut in addition to a fabric one, but I’ve been organizing my papers while I work on collages.

I set out to assemble collage parts that could be used to quickly make a larger composition. I got the idea from Mary Beth Shaw of Stencil Girl, but many others have a similar approach. That went well with organizing my papers as I combined color families and similar styles and cut out images.

It’s a good thing I bought new sharp paper scissors.

Then gradually the parts became whole compositions.

Birds was made almost totally from bits Penny gave me. The background is a magazine page she used to clean her brayer. The gold half moon is a rejected monoprint, as is the patterned piece on the upper left. The small birds are from a napkin she gave me. I stitched together the big pieces, and used markers to emphasize some of the birds’ features.
Squiggles began as a sheet of mark making, with curved lines painted in acrylic. I used a white gel pen to add more marks, and the odd one out was actually a collage part I made. The pieces are sewn to a vinyl wallpaper sample.
Orange Caterpillar combines acrylic paint experiments with markers, monoprint rejects, and part of an ad for a purse.
Lemons uses Penny’s monoprints and images cut from magazines. Again, it’s sewn to a vinyl wallpaper sample. Thanks to a class by the Jealous Curator I learned how to fussy cut such images.
Boats began as an art part, but grew with bits of monoprints, markers and oil pastels. I keep revising it, but I think it’s now jumped the shark.
These two are more what I had in mind for parts. I glued (glue stick) lots of torn scraps over a watercolor experiment cut in half. Maybe paint will be the next step.

As per usual I crammed too much into each piece. However, I am learning to use realistic images and rely more on a glue stick rather than matte medium. (I also learned that not all glue sticks are created equal. I was satisfied with the Leeho brand I had on hand, but not with the Scotch brand.) It was making me crazy to find that each collage class I took (I relied mostly on free Creativebug classes available through my library) called for a different way to adhere paper. I found that medium is too heavy for thin magazine papers and can cause the ink to smear, especially if you use medium below and over the image. However, if you use a heavy paper like bristol or watercolor you need the medium for staying power.

I hope to continue the use of photographic images in my collages and allow for more white space. My quilting background makes me think every space has to contain some material. At some point I’ll learn that paper doesn’t fall apart if you leave part of it empty. Maybe by then I’ll have learned to keep the glue on the paper and off my fingers.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under collage, Techniques

7 responses to “Sticky Fingers

  1. It looks like so much fun! I have been wanting to do more collaging myself. My library sells books very cheaply, and they had a set of encyclopedias from 1962 that they were giving away for free! I was not greedy, I just took one volume — T/U because that would have Textiles. Of course it also had Texas, Telephones, United States, and USSR! A lot of gorgeous maps. I told myself I would rip up the rest, but I keep reading random and now I know there is a difference between typhus fever and typhoid!

  2. Fun pieces – I say fun but I think I have a pretty good idea about the work that was involved in making these (but isn’t that fun?). I love that dark blue squiggle to the left of the red vertical squiggle, it looks like it is projecting out from the piece because of the white highlight on the edge. Did you mean that was done with marker or paint, or? My favorite is Birds. I can see how these would be good exercise for getting ideas for quilting a quilt.

    • Well, you can have fun doing creative work. All the white marks were made with my new UniBall Signo pen. The ink can come out a bit thick, but it covers well. The collages are helping me with composition as I have to deal much less with how to hold the pieces together. I love the ease and speed (no ripping out) of making changes with markers, paints, or pasting over, which encourages me to try different placements.

  3. I would disagree that you’re cramming too much into each piece. I especially love Birds, Squiggles and Boats. (When I scrolled down to Boats, an “Oh Wow” escaped my lips.) Now for full disclosure: I adore crazy quilting where too much is impossible.

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