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.

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.



How we Created our own unique collage Christmas Cards or E-cards

xmas-holidaywmEvery year we look for Christmas cards but rarely find exactly what we like. We’ve also looked at e-cards. Not that there isn’t some wonderful artwork out there. But this year we wanted to do something unique to us. And we want to be green about it all too. So what to do?

I used to look for Christmas cards at Thrift stores. Believe it or not they do exist there and you can buy a real selection that way instead of a box of all the same card. It’s a good idea, you’re recycling but takes a lot of time.

Bill and I happen to really like to create collages from old magazines. This is what I call fun with Glue sticks and Scissors. Why not create collage Christmas cards? Some will become paper cards and all the images will be used for e-cards too.

This year I just happened to have found in my reorganization of old mags and papers saved for collaging, quite a few Christmas editions of decor mags. Voila, lots of relevant stuff to create our own Christmas cards. And I also kept some of that glossy junk mail that comes to our mailbox to use as more collage fodder. If you’ve saved old Christmas cards you may want to look at them with a new eye, as fodder for Xmas collage.

So with the table strewn with mags and busy cutting out colors and textures we soon had more than enough to start with. The idea is to look through all the mags cutting out bits with an eye to color and texture not necessarily literal depiction’s of trees, santas etc. We try to go for the “feel” of Christmas. And with a sense of abstraction as well. And this is what we came up with…… a few abstract art cards in the Christmas theme

Deck the Halls with lots of color


An abstract take on Rudolf?


A psychedelic take on Giving Joy


Sometimes you only need one word….Merry


Another collage using almost the same elements, the snowflake and the colors


Another idea we had last year was to create our own e-card in Photoshop. So in a way, just another collage but of a favourite Santa ornament and some decor arranged into a jolly looking card. Now you may not be a fan of e-cards. They are hard to display for one. But we think of the paper and resources saved too. I also like to take the time to send a little personal message to everyone with each email.


Ok some people on our list still get the real card. We just happened to have a lot of old stock greeting cards from a former business and we just scan our images into the printer and create a new image and tape that onto old cards. You can do the same by just taping an image onto card stock cut to fit any envelopes you have. So there you are, a DIY way to create your own unique take on the Christmas card. Have fun. We did.

Oh, here’s a little bonus thought, in case you didn’t get your cards bought and sent in time.  Why not create something great with some family photos and collage and create an e-card you can send out at the last minute? Cheating? maybe, but why not? It’s still personal, you get a chance to be creative and send something unique to your friends and rellies.


Playing with Paper, Scissors and Glue Sticks on Rainy Morning


I’ve not been posting much but I have been working…..really.  I won’t even show  a photo of my studio..way too much stuff going on but none of it resolved.  But the other day, with my good friend, Mary Lou, at the kitchen table, good music on the CD player and a few old mags found at garage sales last summer we had a little fun.  Her collage was not quite done, but I’ll post my rather over the top collage of crazy color. Nothing quite like playing with glue sticks, scissors and recycled papers and mags.  I’ve got another one waiting, still to do.  Oddly, I’m finding this a good exercise for generating ideas for my other studio work.  I may just play again this morning.  My motto:  Have Fun EVERY DAY!