Paper Collage, “Contained Action”

" paper collage, Helen Bushell,

We’re starting 2018 with a bit of change, a new blog design.  Nice and fresh and colorful.  Each time you open our blog you will see something new. And we’re hoping to feature more of our artwork, but maybe just a bit at a time.   This latest paper collage done with double sided adhesive is called “Contained Action” since it seemed to me to be flying bits flying around in a box of sorts.   I’ve been having a bit of fun doing these,  not only creating the collages but also creating the paper surfaces.   Each of these little collages is about 6 inches square.  So it’s tiny, but action packed. lol

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Sound Room, another paper collage

"Sound Room" paper collage by Helen Bushell,

LIttle scraps of paper, bits of painted paper and printed paper.  And it made me think of a Room with sound moving in it.  Therefore, the title.  Another 6in x 6 in paper collage.

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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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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!