Collage studies in a series

One of the ideas in Jane Davies great book Collage journeys is to do all her exercises as a series of collages. She suggests that you assemble a group of materials that you find interesting or challenging and primarily use those materials. That’s what I have done here.

Chinese Idea - collage studies

It’s about getting started, and I really need some ides to start with right now. I haven’t created any new work that I’m really happy with, so I made these quickies as an exercise. I think I might to more like them in the future.

I was hoping to create a similar look on all of them… but that didn’t really work out! All of the 6 pieces ended up very different even though I used the same material and was trying to calm myself down and look at the previous one.

Set material
This is the collage material I used: a few pre-cut strips of Japanese paper, text from a Chinese magazine and a black- white- and gold floral wrapping paper. The reason I choose these things was because they’ve been in my stash for a long time but I don’t grab them/use them.

As a foundation I cut out squares from brown paper (taken out of a notebook) and got to work. I couldn’t help but to also add a little bit of gesso, red crayon + pencil scribbled lines.

Collage studies - starting out

I was trying to work quickly and intuitively
, but because these materials are not familiar to me I felt quite lost. I wanted a minimalistic look but that too was not successful, at least not in most of the collages. I used the brown paper because I like that look, but still I managed to cover up most of it. Again noticing how hard minimalistic is to me! I love adding, adding, adding.

These are my favorite details in this series of collage studies:

Chinese Idea - collage studies detail

Chinese Idea - collage studies detail

Chinese Idea - collage studies detail

Jane Davies writes (on page 94 in her book Collage Journeys):

See how the materials themselves can express a range of moods or ideas. Be open to the unexpected. Themes may emerge that you had not intended or thought of.

So, I’m really liking this simple collage exercise, but not the outcome as much. But that doesn’t really matter here, the idea is to just get your hands moving and doing something. Glue down, keep going. But still… what to do with “exercise collages”? Throw them in the trash? What do you do with yours if you make them? :-)

15 Responses

  1. Hanna, I love these! They are very striking and definitely have similarities that tie them together. Maybe you can glue them into your art journal? Definitely don’t throw them away. Put them away for awhile and look at them again in a month or six months, you might be surprised by how much you love them after some distance.

  2. Jag tror att det är jättebra att bara göra, även om man själv inte blir så nöjd med resultatet. Det kan väcka någon idé som leder till något annat sedan, men ändå är det lätt att fastna i tanken att det alltid ska bli något bra av varje projekt. Jag sparar i alla fall det mesta jag gör, även om det inte är bra, det går oftast alltid att återanvända på något sätt.

  3. Oh, Hanna, keep them for sure…I’m loving the play and what happened as a result! Like that brown kraft paper as well. I bet that you’ll find something very cool to do with them.

  4. Oh Hanna, I LOVE the outcome! Love that rustic look with the brown paper as a background. The colour-scheme is very Asian looking and wonderful composition. Just beautiful in their simplicity. I can relate to the difficulty of minimalism. I love layering too. Minimalism in anything but collage for me ;) I caught my breath when you mentioned throwing them away. Too beautiful! Umm…are they not postcards right there? ;)

  5. Definitely do not throw them away! I do a lot of things I am not quite sure about at first, but I just put it up for later. You will be surprised how you will look at it from a different angle when you pull it out later. Also, where do you get your Japanese magazines???? Here in the states, I am thinking probably an oriental store?

  6. I love you showing these experiments – looks like a great exercise. DO NOT throw them away…I know a few artists have a box where they put ‘unfinished’ or ‘currently unloved’ pieces and then pull them out for later use on another piece. You may be surprised where they turn out to be the perfect piece – you can chop them up for use too of course :-)

  7. I’m also working through Jane’s book and am still working on my series though I even went so far as to copy her theme of palm trees. I’ve done 4 but now that I have the idea was thinking of trying my own motif. You’ve inspired me to do that. I think these all definitely show as a unified series and I like that some are a little simpler while others are full of layers.

    I’ve read over and over to not toss out any works, whether exercises or paintings you’re unhappy with because they can all become fodder for future works. You might look back on it and suddenly see an inspiration for a new collage, or cut one of these up and use it as a layer in another piece. I have a bin that I keep all my unsuccessful or incomplete pieces so I can flip through them when needed. Though I don’t think I’d be cutting these up – I really like them!

  8. oh, wonderful! I just took my book back out so I can check this out! Love what you did and how you did it! The process is the fun part, and your pages are beautiful in design and composition, too. I try to learn so much…thank you for sharing and inspiring…and for visiting my blog! hi! I am now a subscriber…. Kath

  9. I love them. Apart from displaying the whole series, you can copy them to postcard size, use them for journal covers, print and make notecards or tie a ribbon around them and send them to me ;-) but seriously I would love to see what you decide to do with them.

  10. A great exercise to get the creative juices going.

    One thing that I have learned from the past, is to save things that you don’t like that much in a seperate box. Wait untill next year and open up that box of ‘rejects’. You might have changed your opinion about it – or you might want to work further with them. A lovely process of learning…!

  11. As a collection they are certainly interesting. And I think it’s still minimalistic because you used only a selection of papers and colours.

  12. Hi Hanna, I keep my experiments in a experimental box after I have dated them. Then I take them out and look at them a few months later to see if there is something else that I want to do to them or use them in parts and pieces for other projects. You could make a 3-dimentional bird house out of these or use them for other things like the backs of journals or inside covers.

    Hugs from Alaska, Sherry

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