Another little paper Collage

"Beachy" paper collage by Helen Bushell,

It’s been a very busy couple of months ending 2017.  But I’m hoping to post more of our work this year starting with this little collage done with double sided adhesive.  This one I call Beachy.  Sort of has that feel of ocean for me.The size is quite small, about 6 inches by 6 inches  (15 cm x 15 cm),  but they seem to take quite a while to create.  So many possibilities.

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Paper Collage Using Double Sided Adhesive

Collage on Studio table, Helen Bushell, Summerhouse Art

A while ago, in another post on collage, I said that artists aren’t hoarders, we’re just collectors with a plan. Not all the paper that comes into our home leaves by way of the paper recycling bag. Paper is, after all, for collage artists, a valuable resource. So I use old envelopes to create paint patterns on and even save envelopes with that lovely security pattern on the inside, as a rather tasty texture to use in collage. Anything out of the printer is saved as well for its textural value.

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Time for New Paper Collages in Vintage Frames

Paper collage Helen Bushell,

I like to say that artists are not hoarders, we are collectors with a plan. So while everyone else is recycling all the paper that makes its way into the home, we tend to pick through it and save some savory bits for future use. For instance, I might like the color of an envelope from a birthday card, or the texture on the inside of an envelope from the bank, or the color in a bit of junk mail that made it past the sign on the mailbox and put them aside. Or sometimes we’ve saved some cool mags found at garage sales. So it all gets tucked away, more or less in an organized manner for later use. As I say, we have a plan….

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Just A Few Scraps of Stained Glass …

You just never know where a few scraps of stained glass will lead to…Blue and Orange stained glass abstract, Helen Bushell,

I’m one of those people who never throws much out. As artists, we can see potential in old chipped dishes, old furniture, old scraps of paper and magazines, and even old scraps of stained glass. Back in 2010, I’d been given lots of small stained glass scraps by someone who was cleaning out “junk”. Well, as it’s often said, one persons junk is another persons treasure. My friends know me well, and later that year, I got a couple of boxes of stained glass scraps for my birthday and I did make some mosaics with these scraps.

Abstract glass mosaic, Helen Bushell,

And then, everything sort of sat around for a bit. But I did happen to have an old illuminated sign box that I use as light table. Now the thing about colored glass, what really excites me, is what happens to all that color when light shines through it.

So a few years ago I started to have some fun applying shards of glass to glass, first old windows then those glass frames you used to be able to find where you have to sandwich the picture between two sheets of very thin glass. Now, I wasn’t interested in creating the usual stained glass where you surround the piece with leading, because what really interested me was the layering of color in the light. And I got a bit frustrated gluing glass on glass until either Will or my son Dave, walked by and said, “Well, why don’t you just glue glass to both sides of the glass?” Well, duh. And that is how I got onto gluing glass on both sides of the glass.

Also, I wasn’t interested in creating pictures with glass. What I played with was just using the scraps as they were and creating abstracts with them. Which turned out, at least to me, rather well. I loved the look and the windows have been sitting on windowsills in the house ever since I made them. Here’s another view of the glass piece at the top of the post.

Abstract Glass in Window, Helen Bushell,

Now the beauty of having a mind that’s open to possibilities is that you never know where you will end up next.

I’ve always wanted to do more with those compositions, and I looked at light boxes and all sorts of things for a while and then just sort of forgot about it all. Then a few weeks ago I was looking at prints, and print files and looking around for what I could convert into prints. And in one of those ah hah moments my eye lit on the stained glass comps in the windows of the kitchen. So, together with Will, who is more of a master of photoshop than I, I played around with it and found that the glass transformed really well into abstract compositions on paper. Which we immediately ran through our new printer and loved the result.

We do have some print on demand shops, one being our shop on Society6. So today, I’m happy to show the first of these new Stained Glass Prints,

composition-in-blue-and-orange131768-framed-prints Society6

already converted into a few fun home decor products, one a pillow, and much more to come yet. Just click on the pics to go to Society 6.

stained glass society6-pillow by

 BTW if you’d like to comment, and we do appreciate comments, please just click on the title to bring up the post with a spot for comments at the bottom.)












The Happy Vintage Radio Robot Collage

When birthdays roll around, we’ll sometimes go all out, gather up the glue sticks, scissors, lots of old magazines and go mad with collage and create original birthday cards. This May, our grandson’s birthday called for something just a bit special, like maybe a something bigger than a card. And, being creative grandparents, we spent a whole day having fun, cutting out and sticking down bits and pieces and created a poster of a Robot! And not just any old robot either. This guy is not just a collage, he’s an assemblage of all sorts of parts!

Radio Robot Collage by

He’s got Vintage radios for head and torso. He’s got a moped headlight on his shoulder, candle sticks for antennae, watch parts and even an old flashlight for hands. He’s got a car grill and Bar-B-Q for torso parts. He’s got swirly eyes and lightning bolts. He’s got car wheels to roll around on and at the very top of his head flashes a light bulb, for when he’s having great ideas.

And when we were all done, and just before we’d sent him off, by special post, folded very carefully into a big brown envelope, we scanned him and saved a file just for us. And we played around creating new versions of him.

And then it occurred to us that he was so much fun that we should share him with everybody. And so here he is, Mr. Radio Robot, now available on Society 6 as a print or a beach towel.

Radio Robot Beach towel on Society 6 by summerhouseart

And on RedBubble as a lovely poster that anyone can share and decorate their kid’s rooms too. We created lots of versions on other products too.

Radio robot poster on Red Bubble by Summerhouseart

Our grandson doesn’t mind. He’s got the original. And best of all, he liked it so much he wants to make one himself! Can’t ask for more than that.


Playing With Collage on Quiet Afternoon

Round the Bend, collage, by Will Bushell,
Round the Bend, collage, by Will Bushell

We look for old magazines at garage sales, but with a difference. Not necessarily to read, although we often do, but we are looking more for interesting papers and colors and images to use one day in collage. Lately, I’ve fallen in love with the inside of business envelopes, they often have such lovely textures to use. My favourite for now is Speckle #10.

Map line with speckle, collage, by Helen Bushell,
Map line with speckle, collage, by Helen Bushell

I’m also afraid that I hardly ever throw anything out. So I also have a box of scraps from former collage afternoons. Just in case we might need that particular letter or color or texture.

It's all in the wrist, collage by Will Bushell,
It’s all in the wrist, collage by Will Bushell,

Someone once commented on the fact that we’ve got an awful lot of stuff saved, from magazines, to scraps of stained glass, old dishes and ornaments, and even a stack of old furniture. They asked if we are hoarders. Well, I replied, artists are never hoarders, we’re just collectors with plans.

Grid with color, collage, by Helen Bushell,
Grid with color, collage, by Helen Bushell

So of course, if we decide on a quiet afternoon to make some collages, we’re ready to roll, or should I say cut and paste in minutes. We have old Train mags, old Wallpaper mags, all sorts of old magazines, we have a big glue stick and a few pairs of scissors. So the kitchen table is cleared and the fun begins! And sometimes, the chaos of magazines, scraps and glue stick might remain on the table for a few days and we eat our breakfasts around it all. Until……one day we say, let’s put it away until another collage day comes along.

Speckle #10, collage by Helen Bushell,
Speckle #10, collage by Helen Bushell

As you can see, we have very different styles, even though we are both working intuitively. I’m sort of the type who likes to keep piling it on until I like it, the more color the better. And Will, he works slowly, more deliberately, finally creating a perfectly balanced, minimal composition that I always love immediately. Even without the titles, it’s pretty easy to tell which collages are whose, right? Hope you enjoy. BTW you can find some of these images on Home decor products like pillows, wall art and even furniture in our Society 6 shop.

Tornado, collage, by Helen Bushell,
Tornado, collage, by Helen Bushell,

Having Fun Creating Collage Faces

We recently had our grandson Andrew, out for a visit.  It’s always fun to see life from the point of view of a 6 year old. Being the “artist grandparents”, we like to encourage him to be creative. Last summer we gave him a little sketchbook and lots of pencil crayons to use and this year we did the same. But I wondered about something else we could do, that would be easy and uncomplicated, but still lots of fun.

I remembered some really great collage faces done by a grade 3 class that I’d found on Pinterest. You’ll have to look at this link, just click on the pic. The faces are just fantastic!  Please feel free to check out my collage board on Pinterest too.

3rd grade photo "humanimal" montages | by wimomz/kari
3rd grade photo “humanimal” montages | by wimomz/kari on Flickr

And….to give ourselves a little practice and ok, have some fun too, we thought we’d better try some out ourselves before he came over that day. Well, although the ones done by the Grade 3 class had lots of animal noses, we had to make some adjustments. In our stash of old mags we mostly found lots of people faces and very few animal faces to use. But never mind, all was good. Making one led to making another and before you knew it we had a small collection..

Ta dah!….

Collage faces
Collage faces
Collage faces
Collage faces

When Andrew came over that day, it turned out he was much more interested in playing with all the toys we save for him instead and we didn’t get a chance to make any collages with him. But all is well, he has the collages to put on his wall at home and he really likes them.  I’m pretty sure Mum and Dad will be sitting down soon with him to make some odd but interesting faces too.

Anyway Grandma and Grandpa had lots of fun and hey, there’s still lots of face parts and magazine clippings left over.  We could make some MORE!


New Scarves on Red Bubble

Royal Jester Scarf by Will Bushell, on Red Bubble
Royal Jester Scarf by Will Bushell, on Red Bubble

We’ve been adding new products on some of our Print on Demand sites.  Red Bubble has come up with a lovely scarf and we’ve been having a bit of fun applying some of our designs to them.  As you can see, they are HUGE and would look lovely wrapped or tied. The fabric is soft and light.  Here is Red Bubble’s description.

  • Large 140cm square ( or almost 56 in x 56 in.)  so a lovely size for wrapping and tying.
  • Full print is visible on the front and reverse
  • Microfiber polyester with a slightly transparent effect
  • Hand wash only. Do not dry clean or tumble dry.

Another example is my design Spread Sheet Tango on both a scarf and also matching Pencil Skirt.

Spreadsheet Tango scarf by Helen Bushell on Red Bubble
Spreadsheet Tango scarf by Helen Bushell on Red Bubble

Pencil Skirt,Spread sheet tango by Helen Bushell on Red Bubble
Pencil Skirt,Spread sheet tango by Helen Bushell on Red Bubble

Then another of my Painted Daisies design….

Painted Daisy scarf by Helen Bushell on Red Bubble
Painted Daisy scarf by Helen Bushell on Red Bubble

And also of a Collage done by Will titled “You May Know One”

Collage scarf by Will Bushell on Red Bubble
“You May Know One” Collage by William Bushell on Red Bubble

and another lovely collage by Will, Tuesday Afternoon, which is really a favourite of mine.  But we hope you’ll have a look at all the other designs we’ve posted too.  And if you see something you would like made into a product we haven’t done, just drop us a line.

"Tues Afternoon" collage scarf by Will Bushell on Red Bubble
“Tues Afternoon” collage scarf by Will Bushell on Red Bubble



We’re putting our work online!

Will and I have been looking at our artworks in a whole new way lately. As a couple we’ve produced quite a lot of work in the form of paintings, collages, mosaics, drawings and photographs. We’ve been looking online lately and wondering how these artworks would look on other objects. So we’ve started opening online shops on various Print on Demand sites and having some fun seeing how our works look on things like pillows, iPad skins, totes and mugs, etc.  There’s a huge selection.

Here is Helen’s painting of Abstract branches on a pillow

pink-branches Helen Bushell -Society6and also on an iPad skin…

pink-branches-ipad-Society 6And Will’s collage as a tote bag

&-tote-Society 6

and a mug.

&-mug-Society 6

And we think they’re kind of fun! The images shown here are on products in our Summerhouse Art Shop on Society 6. Society 6 has a great reputation as a good quality printer that really gives great customer service and promotes artists too. We hope you’ll have a look, since these and other images are ready to be printed as regular prints, printed canvas, tote bags to even larger items like shower curtains and duvet covers.

As we expand our images and shops, I’ll be updating on the blog so the latest new images are here too.


Earth Day Abundance – Recycled Art Supplies

Leading up to Earth day I’ve been signing petitions almost everyday. There’s one or two in my email everyday. I care about all the things I sign petitions for:  like no oil tankers on my coast, no nasty pipeline through the forests, saving whales from navy maneuvers, the list goes on and on. So many nasty negative things.  But today is Earth Day and I want to talk about being a Positive force and Abundance!


I want to talk about up-cycling and recycling from an artist’s point of view. I want to talk about looking for art supplies. And all I see is ABUNDANCE! For those of you who are artists and are already using ephemera and found objects to make artworks, you know what I’m saying. There is just so much out there and it’s cheap, almost free, just waiting to be reused, with imagination. It’s more than a trend now, it’s more than a movement, it’s become a way of creating for many artists. And that makes me feel so much more optimistic, it’s the balance to all the negatives that I’m signing petitions against everyday.


My way of life, of finding and reusing everything is so rewarding I couldn’t do anything else now. It’s a way of seeing things. For instance a broken favourite egg cup or milk pitcher causes only a moment of regret and then,


well, it will join all the other shards collected in recycled salad containers ( made from recycled plastic) in my studio.  Another way to create studio storage.


And one day become a Pique Assiette Mosaic tray like this one with handles made from old silverware.


Although I do not subscribe to magazines, since I get them from the library, I do buy old ones sometimes at garage sales



and they become part of my stock of color supplies for collage birthday and anniversary cards.


Or for playing with, creating colorful collages.




And beads, there are so many beads out there, in thrift stores, and me, the eternal magpie always attracted to color and texture can’t help but collect them in my little recycled boxes.


And the boxes stay under the coffee table and sometimes, when I’m watching a movie I’ll bring them out and string them together into a bracelet or two.


Even old frames are collected, most free or almost free. I also collect old board that we cut up to fit those frames and with a coat of gesso they are ready to paint on, whenever the urge strikes, and I never have to worry about the cost of framing.


So this is my little treatise to Earth Day. My little contribution to saving Her from all the baddies out there. It’s small, but there are a whole lot of artists out there just like us and every bit of positive energy counts in the grand scheme of things, I’m quite sure.