A Different Way To Collage

Almost all paper collage techniques involve glue – gel medium, glue stick, Sobo, wheat paste, rice paste, etc. Because my fine motor skills are subpar I usually end up with glue, and sometimes bits of paper, all over my fingers. So I was intrigued to read about another way to collage, thanks to Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. She hosts an online monthly art book club, and one of her picks was Gerald Brommer’s “Collage Techniques.” Her review highlighted a different kind of adhering process Brommer describes.

The secret to the process is gloss acrylic medium. You coat both sides of your papers with the medium, allow them to dry, arrange them to your satisfaction, and then iron them down using release paper between the iron and paper. The iron melts the medium. The joy is once you’re happy with your composition you don’t have to take it apart to glue it down.

Yes, it has to be gloss medium because it gives paper a sticky surface, and you’d better use release paper if you value your iron.

I coated many magazine pages with medium (it dries fast) and made several compositions on watercolor paper and bristol board. The base also needs to have a gloss medium coat. The finished product has a glossy finish and is best stored covered with a nonstick sheet like wax paper.

I have several coated pages left for still more compositions. Goody, yet another form of scraps.

I can recommend Brommer’s book for serious explorations of collage. It is old, published in 1994, and the author is no longer with us; but it brims with wonderful examples of all kinds of art collages. It covers design, approaches, and specific techniques. I consider it well worth the $12 I spent for a used copy.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.

12 Comments

Filed under Books, collage, Techniques

12 responses to “A Different Way To Collage

  1. Hello, I had to Google what is release paper. At first I thought you meant maybe parchment paper. But this seems to be different? What they described as the kind of paper that a sheet of labels is adhered to when you buy it. So that the sticky label comes off easily.
    Is this what you mean? And how did you buy it without the labels?
    Maybe this is a dumb question. But hey, there’s no dumb questions right?

  2. Laceflower

    Your collages are very interesting. I hoard mags expecting to use them in collage but lack some direction. I found your book recommendation in the library and will give that a go. Thanks for the creative push.

    • Brommer’s book has several techniques to try, and I think he’s not pushing any one “right” way to do collage. What helped me with my magazine pages was to tear/cut out what I wanted and then group them by subject or color. In some cases I cut out the figures I thought I could use, which gave me a head start later.

  3. Norma Schlager

    I haven’t done any collage awhile, but your method sounds great, as are your collages.

    • It certainly has advantages over traditional collage methods, but I still manage to get my fingers sticky when I coat the papers with gloss medium. And thanks for the compliment.

  4. Barbara

    I was very into collage a while ago and, when I checked out the book on Amazon, it looked familiar. I went to the art/collage section of my library (I have a ton of books) and there it was. It is a good one!

  5. That is a neat trick/technique and your pieces are wonderful. Would you stitch through these? I wonder if ironing a very lightweight fiber paper (without adding medium to it), as the last layer, would adhere and so avoid the finished surface being sticky. I suppose it would take away from the collaged pieces.

    • Thanks. I haven’t tried stitching them as I fear the tackiness will impede forward motion of the presser foot. I’ve had that problem with freezer paper, and have inserted paper strips under the foot for easier sewing. A lightweight translucent fiber paper (or tissue) might be an interesting experiment, though I don’t know how long it would stick without the gel medium. I’ll let you know if I try.

  6. You’ve amassed some really interesting magazine pages. I especially like the cactus collage. Whenever I read something you’ve posted about a technique, I think, “Oh, that would be fun,” then realize I’ve got way too many things going on already, and absolutely don’t need to start down a new road. So, I’m enjoying those techniques vicariously. Thanks 😉

    • I hope that my experiments either inspire or convince people it’s not something they ever want to try. I also hope people will learn from my failures so they don’t have to make the same mistakes.

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