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Taking a Collage Break

April 25, 2017

I call it a collage break, because that’s how it feels. I love playing with paper more than just about anything creative that I do. So here are the new ones I’ve done over the past few days.

These are all four inches square. I like this size and format a lot. A frame much larger than four inches is a nice presentation for these little ones.

Here are some random pictures of my favorite things, hand painted and purchased collage papers. I hope they inspire you!

Visit my Etsy shop to see these collages and more.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2017 4:36 pm

    Love these, Martha! I have a flat file filled with all sorts of rice papers and other ephemera I need to use one of these days. Are these on paper?

    • April 25, 2017 4:53 pm

      Thanks Fil! Yes, they are on a paper backing. I started with a base piece of paper already cut to size. Then I mounted the finished collages on heavy watercolor paper that gives them a half-inch border all the way around.

  2. April 25, 2017 5:58 pm

    Beautiful work!

  3. Suzanne permalink
    April 25, 2017 6:55 pm

    These are gorgeous. I love the papers you have used and the imaginative ways you have combined them. The size sounds like a very good format. I’ve been making collages on smaller rectangular backing. I like the way the square format you are using creates a basis for grid formations. Thank you for the inspiration. I am interested in what kind of glue you are using or is that a creative secret?

    • April 25, 2017 8:09 pm

      Thanks so much, Suzanne! No secrets. Most of the time I use half Elmer’s glue and half water. But this time I tried a technique I learned a long time ago in a Jonathan Talbot collage workshop. All papers are coated on both sides with acrylic gloss medium and allowed to dry. They are then used in collage by ironing the components down with a tacking iron. (I used a plain old used iron.) A piece of transfer paper is needed between the iron and the coated papers. The transfer paper silicone coated paper, and I use the discarded sheets that come with sticky labels. Since all surfaces of the collage papers are coated, they fuse together with the iron. You may be familiar with this technique already. It’s time consuming to prepare the papers, but they are fun to work with after a collection accumulates.

      • Suzanne permalink
        April 26, 2017 1:04 am

        That sounds fascinating. I like the idea of coating the paper with medium. I will look out for some kind of transfer paper. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like that in art shops over here in Oz. It’s interesting to learn of your process. The iron would give a good bond and the medium would give everything a cohesive look. Thank you for sharing your method. You have just gone a long way towards helping me solve a problem with my own collages.

      • April 26, 2017 9:33 am

        Suzanne, I think you can order that transfer paper from Jonathan Talbot. (He calls it release paper, which is more accurate.) Here is his link. But better still, just go to your local office supply store and buy the smallest package of sticky labels you can find, peel off all the labels from one sheet, and you’ve got one. Or you might even have some in your printer supplies. The shiny side goes against the collage, and the iron is applied to the back. Another thing that’s helpful to know is that once your papers have dried, you can stack them, but they will tend to stick together. I’ve usually managed to yank them apart pretty well without damaging them. But I may need to start storing them with waxed paper or plastic wrap between them. This is all new to me, so I’m just telling you what I’ve learned so far! 😉


      • Suzanne permalink
        April 27, 2017 3:54 am

        Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an informative reply. I looked at sticky labels in a store today then decided I might try doing the same thing with some iron interfacing I have already. I’ll let you know how it works. I like your idea for paper storage – keeping papers clean and flat is a problem for me too.
        It’s great to talk to another artist who is figuring out solutions to similar problems. 🙂 Thanks.

      • April 27, 2017 7:05 pm

        Suzanne, I contacted Jonathan Talbot this morning with my question about storage of the coated papers. He said he uses silicone parchment paper. I didn’t know there was such a thing. Here’s just one link:

      • Suzanne permalink
        April 27, 2017 8:19 pm

        Sounds like amazing paper. Thank you for the links. I’ll take a look.

      • April 28, 2017 10:05 am

        I’m going to try regular parchment paper first. I use it for all kinds of things in addition to baking, so I always have some around. I’ll report my results!

      • Suzanne permalink
        April 28, 2017 11:34 pm

        That’s a good idea – it is very dry and resilient so it should work well.

      • April 29, 2017 6:23 am

        Suzanne, I placed a sheet of coated paper inside a fold of regular parchment paper, weighed it down with a dozen books, and left it there for several hours. It did not stick! Out today to buy a couple of rolls.

        It occurred to me that in addition to parchment paper, freezer paper would also work, as long as the sheets of coated papers were against the shiny side.

      • Suzanne permalink
        April 29, 2017 7:56 pm

        It sounds like you are really getting some work done. I look forward to seeing the results.

      • May 5, 2017 11:06 am

        Suzanne, I am hoping to get more done by the weekend. In the meantime, I’ll post some thoughts about art in general.

  4. April 26, 2017 4:12 pm

    Wonderful, and I like reading about your approach in the comments

    • April 27, 2017 7:27 am

      Thank you, Jean! So glad you like the collages, and that you read the comments too. I need to be more engaged with the comments section. Sometimes they are more fun than the blog itself!

      PS – I hope everyone takes a look at your blog. I am now following you both on your blog and on twitter.

  5. May 1, 2017 5:41 pm

    Man you’re going at it. WOO HOO. Love that Martha! It makes me smile.
    You were talking about collages before, so I’m not surprised that you’ve made some. I love them. 🙂
    I’m working on artcards again. I watched Before the Flood and it inspired me to keep creating.
    It’s about saving the environment, and the meanings you can find in works of art. You really should take a look if you haven’t already. If you have, what did you think?
    I’m live on twitch now! Can you believe it Martha!?!
    I’m nervous as heck still, but that nervous feeling seems to go away after awhile. I get used to being live. I’m kinda pushing myself to overcome that nervousness.
    I can’t seem to remember if you do the live thing or not? I would REALLY LOVE watching you create though and I bet it would inspire alot of others too!
    I’m on Wed and Fri 12-2 at: if ya wanta check out my channel.
    Last time I streamed and put on music I ended up singing to it. LOL It kinda hurts my jaw to sing now so that’s a test too. To see if I won’t sing…lololol I probably scare people off with my voice…hahahaha
    Let me know if you ever do stream though…that would be awesome! I would be the first to be there watching…

  6. May 5, 2017 5:11 pm

    meant to write earlier that I loved these collages, papers, and all the comments and answers. Thanks for sharing.

    • May 5, 2017 8:11 pm

      Thank you, Patti. Glad you’re finding some of this useful/interesting. I’ve enjoyed the back and forth a lot.

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