January 7, 2015

Tips for Random Acts of Collage

Wow, yesterday's collage post really tickled your collective fancies. To help you get to the next
step, here's 10 tips for techniques that work for me.

1. Because I am trying to open a window into my Self, I don't plan, design or think anything through ahead of time. I am no psychologist but I just can't see how it can work if you do.

2. It helps to have a good source of fuel. I have accumulated a basketful of clippings from art magazines, auction catalogues and other very graphic publications that are often in the "free" bin at local libraries or very cheap at flea markets. Feel strange about cutting them up? Get over it. (See why I was gently steered away from a career in social work?)

3. In addition to beautiful, dramatic or downright strange images, I also make sure the basket also includes a supply of anatomical parts. Like arms, legs, and feet...

...and don't forget lips! Nothing like slapping a nice juicy pair of lips somewhere.
And I don't limit myself to human body parts,either.
Damn, what number are we on?

Oh yeah.

4. I also use bits of paper, old bits of writing that I have collected from flea markets over the years, cloth scraps, or the occasional photo. The books say to make color copies of all that stuff. I have only done that with the most irreplaceable of items. For me, they're better off in collage than in the bottom of a box in the back of closet.

And beware, once you open your eyes, everything becomes fuel. If you find yourself peeling the labels off your tuna fish cans, you might have gone too far.

5. I don't glue any image down completely when I first start out. I do stick down the center of the largest images, so I have to commit to something. But I always keep the edges open so I can tuck other images behind them. I often find that leads to a whole 'nother adventure.
6. I have finally figured out that I can even rip images to make edges or holes wherever I want them to be.
 7. As I mentioned yesterday, its good exercise to fill all the white space on the page. When I've had it with gluing, I sometimes just color with craypas or colored pencil. That counts because it is way outside my comfort zone. In fact, its so far outside that my Self gets extra credit.  What is way inside my comfort zone is finding spaces where none existed originally.

8. Once most stuff is in place, I glue it all down. But I have recently discovered that not everything needs to be stuck to the page.

9. I also like to have a good supply of words or phrases that are silly or compelling. Well, don't we all...
10. I learn a lot about myself by observing what I cut out, what dominates a finished piece, my most comfortable orientation (diagonal),etc.

It cracks me up, giving art advice to you guys. Next, I think I'll call Annie Lamott and give her a few tips on writing.


  1. i love it. the "giving art advice" is really letting us in on your process which is
    wonder Full to listen to...and that's funny, because i just realized that this post especially
    comes in through reading a Voice talking...like i can Hear a Voice! more good.
    This all comes at a time when it's regenerating...not sure i'll actually collage, as i
    no longer have kept mags, but who knows. and to me it is so much to do with
    my way of cloth making.
    THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep talking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. So tempted to ask you how long you have been hearing these voices...

      But in truth, thank you. That's the best compliment a writer can receive--to have a voice.

    2. And yes about that Voice:

      Why shouldn't you give advice... You are creative, have a wonderful sense of color, skill with needle and thread, a discerning eye for rounding up treasures for your story cabinets, a wicked sense of the absurd, to me, all markers of a strong creative, artistic bent. Add to that your deep sense of getting it and by IT I mean life, WELL so what's not to listen to, when you speak of ART or anything else for that matter.

      And no this is not a paid advertisement for the Julie S. scintillating method of curiosity collages...but rather taking a moment to joyfully and righteously acknowledge a unique woman.


  2. Let me know what you find out, Sharon. I've been married to the guy for 16 years and it is still a puzzle.

  3. Thank you for these great hints. I discovered collage this last year and love it! Like you, even though I've tried, I don't think drawing is my thing! I love your collages and your blog!

    1. Thanks so much, Deb, and glad to have you here! Are you a Deb from Spirit Cloth?

    2. I did do Jude's Patchwork Beasts workshop, and have sent her feathers and stones. (Not sure if that's the Deb you are thinking of??) I still do lots of stitching but haven't kept up with my blog!

  4. dear Art Teacher,

    thank you for the tutorial, will there be another class in the (very) near future?
    I sincerely hope so

    yours truly,

    Saskia, your humble pupil

    P.S. I have read previous comments and wholeheartedly subscribe to all the positive reviews, I would fully recommend you to anyone looking for collage classes.

  5. This is a fantastic post ... makes me believe anything is possible, much more so than the many books I've flipped through
    Thanks for taking the time to write it (and yes, I heard your voice, too ... )