Making the Switch from Fabric Collage to Small Paper Collage

Here we are, Will and I, basically still at home, staying safe. Making little forays out now and then for curb pick up or quick shops, masked up, sanitizer hand cleaner at the ready. Summer has zoomed by, today the calendar says it’s the start of Fall. But, the time has not been wasted and has been, for the most part, put to good and I may say, even enjoyable, use. The upside of being an artist I suppose. We’re rarely bored, even stuck at home.

I’m taking a short break from the frustrations of dealing my new sewing machine, all that thread changing, stitch setting, constantly reading my instruction manual. Lol. Yes, sewing is not second nature to me. Even though I love playing with the fabric, pushing scraps into pleasing collages. And even though I love zooming around, the feed dogs down, drawing and scribbling with threads and stitches, I said to myself, enough! Time for a change…..

Fabric collage creation in my studio, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

So, I decided to transform my little studio from a sewing studio into a paper collage studio instead. Luckily, I’m quite organized, but then, I have to be. My studio measures about 10 ft by 12 feet (3 x 3.5 m). It’s full to the brim with shelves stacked with dishes for mosaic, a large easel for painting, shelves holding fabric scraps, paints, brushes, glue, tools. All this not to mention, 3 or 4 sewing machines, one new but most rather vintage bargains found at garage sales and thrift stores brought back to life by Will’s talent with oiling and cleaning, So after the work table is cleared, the fabric packed into recycled plastic storage bins, the little ironing board folded and put away, it’s just a matter of bringing up the boxes from under the work table full of folders of paper scraps and voila!, I have the paper collage studio!

Creating paper collage in my studio, Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

Most of my paper collage is made with paper design and textures of my own making. I’m not one for using much from old mags. Lots of mark making is saved. I do like to create abstract collage and for that I need lots of colour and texture. So, every time I paint, before I clean off my plate of leftover wet paint, I use paper from old envelopes, junk mail, whatever and rub the the paper on the leftover paint. It makes amazing one off prints and you get some interesting textures. These are all saved for later use in paper collage. So, before you know it, the table is now piled high with scraps of paper, pencil crayons and matte medium.

I’ve decided to have a bit of fun, work small (around 5.5 x 6in or 14 x 15 cm), do them up, 6 collages at once on mixed media paper. This approach has had the added benefit of keeping me loose and intuitive as I work, each piece is not getting too precious. So I’ve been taking my time, playing with each arrangement, fiddling with details, and enjoying the process. But they’re starting to pile up a bit and I’m planning on putting them up on our FoundMadeArt shop. Some will also be scanned for use on products on our Print on Demand shops too and may become prints, pillows, clothing, furniture, all sorts of things. I’ll be posting each group as they become scanned and ready. Hope you enjoy! Here’s batch #1.

Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com
Collage on Paper, by Helen Bushell, summerhouseart.com

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