Beginning Collage

Last Updated 10/14/09

written by Judi K

If you call collage layering, it will be easier to do. Most stampers are used to putting several things together. The difference between putting a rectangle on top of another rectangle and making a collage is that there are MORE pieces and usually not all rectangles or squares - but like everything else in stamping there are no rules.

Start with a folded card. Arrange, but do not glue, three different pieces of stamped card stock (a triangle that's long and skinny, a keystone shape or other oddly cut four-sided piece, and one that's torn). Make sure there is some overlapping and that things are at a diagonal for movement (diagonals make your eye travel).

Add two to five more elements (calling the pieces elements makes it sound like art!). These things can be buttons, embossed pieces, found objects, stickers (don't take off the back yet - you're still arranging).

Think of the composition the way you would any other kind of card making. If everything is centered it will be formal, if things are scattered you may need to keep rearranging till things feel just right to your hand or eye so keep moving them around till your hand or eye will travel in an interesting path. The artist is in charge of making things interesting - and this is the way it's done...

Some things need to be large and some small. Some dark and some light. The trick here is contrast. But contrast doesn't have to mean hugely different. All the same size will work, too - and you can always use elements that are all shades of white (there is still contrast, it's just not as sharp) or all the same color (black) because there will be contrasting textures from one thing to the other. All of the elements can be stamped cutouts, or just some of them. In other words, what you use is your decision (I love to add a few very thin strips, scraps I've saved - for some reason they usually tie things together really well, and I also enjoy torn pieces combined with cut ones).

Do not glue anything. Go away for a day and come back to decide whether any adjustment is needed. For the sighted people, shut your eyes and see if the design would work if you sent the card to Maggie. Testing with your fingers is not your normal way of seeing but it is a great way to make sure that the design has a focal point. Maggie can ask a sighted friend to check hers and offer comments (without moving anything, though, that's up to the artist), or simply use her hands again to make the decisions.

The main thing is to keep moving and changing things till you decide it's just right - and then go away and come back to make sure that you STILL think it's right and make adjustments if you've changed your mind.

Till you glue things in place, it's fluid (another art term for "easy to make changes").

See how easy it is? No? Still feels hard? Don't think your first one or even your fifth one have to be a masterpiece - think of them as sketches and keep them as part of your creative evolution. I guarantee that even the ones you think are horrible will teach you something (and I'm guessing that if you sent them out as RAKs people would be delighted and amazed at the combinations). It's a great way to use "stuff" that's sitting around - unexpected juxtapositions of this and that - a key, a torn piece from an envelope or carton, you know the things that are in a box waiting to get used, too interesting to toss out.

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