Friday, 30 December 2016

Climate Change of Life

Backgrounds from children's science books.  Man with a neck brace from a medical book. That woman is Maude Stettiner (1931) painted by Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957) Russian born surrealist painter, set and costume designer.

Happy Hogmanay!

To all at Kollage Kit - all the best for 2017!

ten thousand things

Title from Chapter 42 of the Tao Te Ching:

Tao gives birth to one,
One gives birth to two,
Two gives birth to three,
Three gives birth to ten thousand beings.
Ten thousand beings carry yin on their backs and embrace yang in their front,
Blending these two vital breaths to attain harmony.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

THEME: Janus for January

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Janus is the god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, doorways, passages, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces, one looking towards the past, one towards the future. It is conventionally thought that the month of January is named for Janus.
Your challenge: Make a collage with a Janus head on it, one face towards the left and one face towards the right. The faces don't necessarily have to be past-future in orientation. However you want to do them—including absurd, dada, surrealist, whatever—is fine. As for the part of the collage that isn't Janus-faced... it's up to you! =smile=
Happy New Year! Shall I do the next month of themes, or would someone else like to volunteer?

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Wishing You a Creepy Christmas

I have a lot of collage resource material. I have it all pretty much organized too. Most of this collage is made with images from a book called Christmas Curiosities: Odd, Dark, and Forgotten Christmas. So it was fairly easy for me to find a lot of creepy images. By the way that is the face of Krampus, a horned, anthropomorphic folklore figure described as "half-goat, half-demon", who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts! Pretty scary.

Friday, 23 December 2016

tacky overlaps with creepy

Believe it or not, my conscious intention was that this should look either horrifying or just plain horrible. =laugh=

In case you can't read what the grumpy cat (underneath reindeer's shark head) is saying: "It's the most terrible time of the year."

He promised her wealth and richness, but then ......

Another tricollage just recently made by Josephine (starter)., Lynn (continued) and Sabine (finished)..
not made for Xmas but I thought it suits the theme very well.

Creepy Scraps

Some scraps me and Hazel did for a show back in 1991 from the archives. The clown looks a bit creepy to me so this one will have to do. Have a great time everybody and don't eat too much Xmas pud!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

THEME: Creepy Christmas!

For once I don't have to use a whole lot of words to describe the theme, because there's a whole Flickr group illustrating the concept of CREEPY CHRISTMAS. =grin=

Just remember: "creepy" is in the eye of the collage artist, so whatever you want to showcase in the way of scary santas, rabid reindeer, sinister snowmen, gnarly gnomes, frightening fairies, eerie elves, and any other terrifying or ghastly or downright ugly or even just vaguely disturbing Christmas-related horrors, go for it! Have a blast!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

the fatal book opened!

Background is fibrous paper with acrylic paint and rubber stamps. Click image to enlarge it, and read bottom row (French, English, German) for more information.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Scenic Views

I have a great big box of vintage postcards that I have collected and and/or purchased for resale. Last night I had fun picking out FIVE postcards to glue together (actually FOUR parts of different postcards are glued to ONE "giant" postcard, a view of the Boulder Dam, the only bit of it seen in this collage in the upper right.

The man with the camera is from a vintage travel brochure.

Collage Kits

Some original Collage Kits I made back in the 90's for a small press fair packed full of ephemera and other paper clippings.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

big tooth, big shark

The notion that not just humans, but other animals on the planet, leave ephemera in their wake is fascinating to me. So to celebrate one of the more spectacular examples of Nature's ephemera, I photographed a fossil tooth I have of C. megalodon, the largest shark that ever lived, considered by most taxonomists to be an ancestor of today's great white shark, C. carcharias. If you want to read about Megalodon, check out this article. Why does a shark tooth count as ephemera? Because shark teeth grow in what's referred to as a "conveyer belt," each tooth that gets shed being quickly replaced by a newer, sharper one that rolls forward into place.

As for the big shark that shed this tooth, the following is a useful diagram. The red and grey sharks are the conservative and maximum estimates of Megalodon's size, the maximum being 20 meters (67 feet). (!) The violet shark is a whale shark, the largest shark extant today. The green shark is a great white, and there's a black human figure for scale.                                                                            


My own Megalodon tooth is not all that large: just 4 3/4" (12.1 cm) tall. They can be as tall as 7 1/2" (19.1 cm). I purposely photographed my tooth with some shadow showing, to give you a sense of what it's like in 3-D.

Rest of the collage: Background from an old map of southern India. Ephemera include advertisements, greeting cards, fortune-telling cards, Loteria cards, pharmacy labels, ration tickets, other tickets, and cancelled postage stamps. Artistamps & their cancellations: bananas by Anna Banana, bunny-cum-airplane by the fabulous C. T. Chew.

The Medicine

I am also a collector of 'thingies'., someone who never leaves a rusty nail unnoticed.
Or stuff I find hidden in the pages of old books .... like some of these objects....
a 'medical' note dated 1930 ..... some 'free' orange juices bottles', one for each month, which enables me to buy you all a drink ..... cheers!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Collage Diary

Collage diary pages from around the mid 90's. Used an old book to collect found scraps each day on my walks from home to work etc. Was hoping to continue it for a whole year but got bored and the book was so full it would hardly close!

Ephemera -- Prayer Cards

I order a steady supply of weird things from eBay.  Last year that included a packet of 25 or so sepia-colored vintage prayer cards.  They're small, about 3x4", and these date from the middle 1900's.  I'm collaging (desecrating?) them with some anatomical cuttings and other scraps, for a little book project I have in mind.  The cards are a centuries-old tradition in the Catholic Church.  They typically show a religious image on the front with a verse or prayer on the reverse, and are used to commemorate special moments (First Communion, Confirmation, funerals, etc.).  Many of them are quite beautiful.

FROM MY COLLECTION! I did NOT make this. : )

I LOVE ephemera. I have quite a bit tucked away in boxes and also all over my studio--tacked to walls, sitting out on a table, etc. I just posted reasons (under the comment section of this week's theme) why I didn't participate in last week's theme for which I am sorry but I just posted comments to all of your lovely creative work!

AGAIN, I DID NOT MAKE THIS COLLAGE. But it fits Fi's theme so well and I put it out at Christmas so I thought why not share with you all!

It was found at an antiques market and it has a frame which I omitted in this photo. Made entirely of vintage Christmas cards by an UNKNOWN artist, pasted on a 30" x 11 3/4" board which has a painting on the reverse.

a certain delicacy of intent

From my archives. 6" x 9" = 15.2 x 22.9 cm. Background is 19th century ledger paper—the thing itself, not a reproduction. (If you look in the upper left and tip your head to the right, you'll see where the bookkeeper has written "ditto, ditto...") Snake by Albertus Seba. Women are angels from a late 13th century altarpiece by Giovanni Cimabue.

THEME: ephemeral, ephemeron, ephemera

This year the two winter holidays of the Winter Solstice (Yule) and Christmas fall on different weeks of the KK calendar, so I'll be posting a theme for each one.

The two solstices and two equinoxes are ephemeral—i.e., transitory, not lasting very long. As it rotates around the sun, Planet Earth never literally comes to a stop, of course, so those four times in the year refer to infinitesimally short points in that transit.

The adjective ephemeral derives from an ancient Greek word meaning "not lasting more than a day."

The noun ephemeron means any transitory, fleeting event—like a kiss under the mistletoe.

Ephemera, from the Greek plural of "ephemeron," has come to mean—in the context of archives, collections, and art/craft uses—(usually) paper items whose value is short-lived.

Here's a partial list of ephemera: advertising trade cards & other advertisement materials (e.g., flyers for events), airsickness bags, bookmarks, catalogues, used greeting cards & postcards, used postage stamps, letters, junk mail, pamphlets, posters, prospectuses, zines, tickets for bus-train-ship-plane travel, movie tickets, lottery tickets, ration tickets, defunct or very devalued paper money, medical materials like old prescriptions & hospital/clinic notes, calendars, schedules, place cards, party invitations, package labels, packaging itself, snapshots, film stock, brochures, receipts, used office items like post-its & rolodex cards, old maps, old books, political materials, old ledgers... Also Nature's ephemera, like shed feathers, fallen leaves, shed insect or reptile skins, shed fur or hair, shark teeth, seashells...

This week's challenge is to make a collage either referring to or utilising something ephemeral, an ephemeron, or ephemera itself. It's not just a category of physical paper/plastic/etc. items: it's a concept as well. Go with it wherever your creativity leads you...

Happy Winter Solstice and have a Cool Yule! =grin=

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Listen Carefully

          Thanks to Fi's hint with this theme I couldn't resist the master and his ear.

Monday, 12 December 2016

An Insect Brigand And The Lair It Forms

Not sure how this fits but thought I would upload it anyway as it's the only thing I've made just lately. I like the idea of the beetle making a lair out of old paper scraps - the sort I often find myself in!

Some More Red and Green...

An old thrift-store painting of a building fire has been sitting around my house forever.  Recently I did a couple pieces for an exhibit in which Northwest collagists were asked to "echo" certain Northwest social realism artists working in the 1930-40's.  (Our instructions were not to imitate these artists, but to be inspired by them...)  While working on pieces for that exhibit I decided to glue some book and magazine scraps to this old painting, looking for a similar social realism feel.  So, now we have a collaboration between Unknown Painter and me, and here it is:

Big Fire at the Dream Factory

Sunday, 11 December 2016

le rouge et le vert (deux)

Source: contemporary magazines, scientific journals, postcards, and catalogs; all clipped before snipping, and stored in boxes labeled by color.

Now this one is more my style... not Christmassy at all.

The Cool Kids Are Back

This one is pretty Red & Green I think.
Collage made together with Sabine and Lynn, so-called tricollages. These ones are made with magazine covers which brings me to sources and storage.
I found these boxes with old magazines from the 30, 40, 50 and sixties a few years ago on local book markets.
I keep a lot of them under my bed;))
I'm also like Angie, have a lot of snippets already in transparent plastic folders with randomly subjects like 'figures seen on the back', 'figures smoking', 'sitting in chairs', 'crippled' etc. etc.
Also have book by themes, piles of anatomy, boxes full of colors and patterns, pretty chaotic but I always know where to find something .... having said that I couldn't find a picture of all those magazine piles I once made (to much photo's on my comp., lol).

Saturday, 10 December 2016

le rouge et le vert (un)

The title is a joke on Stendhal's novel Le rouge et le noir.

Source: All images from the Artful Home catalog, stored in a 6" x 9” white envelope labeled "Glass Balls, etc." in a large grey box labeled "Little Things."

Thursday, 8 December 2016

the birth of planet earth

From my deepest archives (circa 2009), when all my playing with paper took place on the outside of padded mailers for books. (We had WAY too many books, so I was de-accessioning like mad through This is the only book-mailer collage in the style I was struggling to invent that was separate from the computer-generated address label. It's pretty typical of my rough-hewn early collage efforts: more drawing and doodling than actual collage elements.

In terms of sources, it's amazing to me how little has changed. I was into stickers, so that's where the Earth came from. I was just starting to collect postcards: the lotus was from a postcard in a bulk batch from Pomegranate. The vine-cum-umbilical-cord came from an advertisement in a magazine in my dentist's office, which I surreptitiously tore out and made off with it. =laugh=

The Earth Mother I drew, colored with markers, then glued to a piece of red construction paper. (Her right hand was supposed to be holding the vine/cord, but it didn't work out quite right.) The border was a doodle I'd already done on a piece of white printer paper. I colored it with markers and glued onto the rest of the piece.

When I say "little has changed," I mean that even today, my sources are junk mail, catalogs, contemporary magazines, stickers, postcards, colored paper, and my own drawings (only when I can't come up with what I need in any other fashion). Plus, a few years ago, I started collecting "cutter books" in themes like animals, the circus, magic, and so on. I love Taschen--their catalog and their books!

And I still steal images, and sometimes whole magazines (!), from the waiting rooms of my dentist and my doctors.

But I don't have any vintage materials, nor do I go to yard sales or library sales to find them. I envy those of you who have stacks of old magazines and stuff. No one in my family saved those sorts of materials, and I'm too much of a recluse to go out looking for them... =sigh=

Curios Thing 240

3 pages from Curios Thing 240 which has kept me away from this blog for a while. 16 pages of A5, folded and stapled. Limited edition going out to family and friends over the festive period. I try and make one every year - have done since the mid 80's when I was heavily involved in mail art network. Not had much time for it over the last few years - blogs taking over but nice to get back into finding amusing items that might fit this small format. Other small 'zines over the last 30 years or so have been U-MAK-IT, Christmas Catalogs, Curious Dog, Curious Snail, Curios Nahpro ( with Art Nahpro ), Curios Families ( with Roger Radio & Family ) Curios Radio ( with Roger Radio AKA Roger Stevens ) and so forth. Will add a link to the online digitised version when I get round to it.

THEME: Sources &/or Storage (Open Theme)

Since people are busy this month, here's another open theme week. Make any sort of collage(s) you wish. Then, if you feel inspired to do so, tell us about its source (where you found the paper) and/or about how you store it in your studio (stack in the corner, shelves with boxes, plastic bags of pre-snipped clippings, etc,). But if you don't want to put any words under your collage(s), that's fine, too

If having no theme isn't giving you any ideas, go with the Winter Holiday colors of red and green, a well-known combo used by Vincent Van Gogh, a compatriot of Josephine.

Stay warm! Have fun! =smile=

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

wacko shapes

Tools used: stencils. For each shape, I turned the paper upside-down and used a wide variety of stencils (alphanumeric, geometric, etc.)--the stencil images stuck to each other to create weird shapes.


So another thing I sometimes do is making my own business cards and stamp my handmade stamp on the back. With making a name stamp you have to write backwards, which is not much of a problem to me, I love to do some mirror writing.
To make the cards sturdy I laminate them. It's easy to buy these machines in office shops and warehouses, they come in many forms and sizes.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Iron-On Transfers

There's another sewing product that I've used to do image transfers in some collage and book projects.  The process is simple -- you purchase a packet of iron-on (heat) transfer sheets, which you can find at a fabric or craft store, then you use your copier to print an image onto the transfer sheet, and then you simply iron it onto the paper or book at a fairly low setting.  It adheres nicely and the images are somewhat transparent, letting the underlying text or pattern show through.  You can use b&w or colored images, and the finished page has an interesting, slightly rough texture.  Here's a sample page spread with two different iron-on transfers (underneath a hand-cut page):

Saturday, 3 December 2016

contained chaotic curves

Except for the background, all images snipped from postcards of the fabric collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tools used: brush-tip and chisel-tip markers. The images are thick, from postcard stock. When you work w/ thick elements, the recipient of your postcard can see the white insides of the cardboard pieces. So I hit on the idea, a few years ago, of using markers to color those white edges, before I glue them down. That way the images do a better job of "melting" into the collage. For the blue-&-white Morris pieces in the middle, I used an indigo blue marker. For all the others, I used a black marker. Usually I also color the outside edge of my collage postcard, but it doesn't seem necessary for that light background. The black marks you see in the brown areas surrounding the women, etc., are part of the fabric pattern.

You can see how especially on the blue-&-white pieces, the marker bled a little bit, giving them outlines of blue, more obvious in some places than in others. I don't consider that a problem. =smile=

Tip: When you're coloring the edges, hold the collage piece so that the white or other color of the opposite side is facing you. Why? Because if the marker slips a bit while you're moving it along the edge, it will tend to slip toward you, onto the back side of the image. That way, you don't accidentally make a stray mark on the image itself.

Stamps in all sizes

I am a big fan of making and using my own stamps in collages.
The second image shows a tiny bit of my collection, most of them are usable on both sides. On the left corner you see some of the materials I use, such as speedball, cork, linoleum but most of all I use erasers, whatever and wherever I find them.
The green stamp is the same kind of stamp like the yellow eraser and was made by my granddaughter about a year ago ..... it runs in the family;))

Friday, 2 December 2016

Needle & Thread

I like to sew on paper, and frequently use NEEDLES and THREAD in making my collages and artist's books.  If the paper is thin, you can just stab on through the layers, but sometimes you'll need to use a heavier needle or a skinny AWL (there, we now have 3 tools!) to punch your sewing holes prior to sewing.  I usually don't back the paper with anything, just carefully stab the needle and pull the thread, but every once in a while I'll stick a piece of thin tape on the back if the paper wants to tear.  Sometimes the sewing is used to actually attach one piece to the background; other times I'll just sew on one piece and then stick it down the usual way with some kind of glue.  The needles are regular sewing and embroidery needles, but sometimes you'll find a more exotic needle will do the trick--I've used some weird curved needles that are intended for making stuffed animals, and also some loooooong needles that apparently are intended for doll-making.  The thread is usually regular sewing thread or embroidery floss (separated into one, two or three strands).   Here are two pages from a recent collaged artist's book (one page with a lot of sewing, and one in which I used the threads to simply dangle across the page spread).

Page spreads from "A Blue Thread Runs Through It"

Thursday, 1 December 2016

return of the birds

From my 2010 archives. It's pretty crude, 'cause I'd only been making collages for a couple of months. Created for a challenge to make a postcard illustrating the "return of the birds" in the spring. I glued a large photo of a robin's nest to a piece of cereal-box cardboard, then cut it out all the way around to make a bizarrely shaped postcard. (You can mail almost anything in the U.S., if it has the right postage on it.) It's not so great, artistically, but it took many hours to make because (a) I checked to be sure the birds are all indigenous to the Washington, D.C., area, where I live, and (b) they are all exactly to scale, from the big red-tailed hawk down to the tiniest wren. I had to do some serious math! =laugh=

Tool used: Two tools, in fact--the Xyron sticker maker in 2.5 inch (6.4 cm) and 9 inch (22.9 cm) widths. You can read all about it, even watch videos of it in action, at those two Amazon links. You just insert the paper & crank the handle--no electricity required.

Let me tell you its advantages and disadvantages...

--strong permanent adhesive that sticks extremely fast & well, even without burnishing
--no bubbles & no wrinkles in the paper you put down
--terrific for mail art: this bizarrely-shaped postcard traveled 3000 miles west, and its Californian recipient said when she got it, nothing had been damaged, including every tiny outside projection; on a separate occasion, I sent postcards in the shapes of fish with lots of fins: they arrived intact as well
--not messy: the adhesive is solid, so hardly any glue gets on your hands or anywhere else
--machine itself is reasonably priced
--the big one is great for making all-over backgrounds in anything up to A4 size
--you can work with really flimsy paper, like that found in today's magazines and catalogs; you can also feed fabric, ribbons, whatever, into the Xyron
Not so good:
--once your element hits your collage-in-progress, it's stuck down for good: no moving it around as you can with other glues
--not kind to Mother Earth, because the empty refills are not recyclable
--the refills are expensive! just as with having to buy expensive ink for cheap printers, the refills are where the company sticks it to you... BUT you can shop around, on the Net and in craft supply stores for coupons, deals, quantity discounts, etc.

Bottom line: I can't live without my Xyrons.

THEME: Tools for Making Collage Art

This month, except for the week of Christmas, we'll be sharing with each other the "Tools, Tips, & Techniques" we use in making collages.

This first week in the series, you will look around your work space and ask yourself, "What tool do I use that my fellow posters on the KK may not know about?" It should be a physical object, not a source for fun paper. Then you will use that tool in making a collage in whatever theme you like. Underneath the collage, you will tell us what tool you used, plus how and why. Add a link, if possible, to a picture of the tool, with or without purchasing info.

As the series moves along, I may pick up one or more of the tools, tips, & techniques that get posted, and make them the theme for a future week.

Remember: we live in different countries, with different cultures, different availability of products. If you think it would help us understand, post a photo or drawing of your tool, preferably in use. It's OK, and in fact would be humorous, if your tool is very weird. Be quirky! =laugh=

Questions, comments, absurd remarks?

EDIT: If you only use "old school" items (scissors, knife, glue) in your work, no problem. Just consider this an "open theme" week, and go for it. If you feel inspired to do so, tell us about how you went about making your collage(s). But only if you have time, only if you feel like writing down a few words about what you did. Also, I omitted the line about each collage using a different tool. What was I thinking? =laugh=

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Let's collage!

celebration of u.s. postal service

See the two jack-o'-lanterns? They're what inspired this collage. For many years I've been frustrated by the fact that the U.S. postal service hasn't ever (that I know of) issued Hallowe'en stamps. They've issued stamps for Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Easter, Valentine's Day, and of course many for Christmas, so why not Hallowe'en? I've written to them at the address for the people who choose the stamps for each year, pointing out that Hallowe'en is second only to Christmas as the most popular holiday in the U.S.--if you go by how much money people spend on decorations, candy, pumpkins, party items, costumes, etc.

And then finally, this year they issued a set of four different smiling jack-o'-lanterns, on a fitting black background. Yay! I do hope they'll do Hallowe'en stamps every year. Now I wish they'd come up with something a little bit scary. =grin=

abstract of abstracts

I love those Colin Johnson collages as much as the rest of y'all, but I don't see him as fulfilling the theme of Horror Vacui. Why? Because there is lots of empty space in his work--like between the little dots. I interpret the theme as meaning there can't be any empty space between collage elements, even if the pieces are very small and close to each other.

Just a comment, that's all...I suppose the wavy dark grey lines at the top of this one could be said to have empty spaces between them, plus the white around and through the photo of the robotic-looking metallic statue, and in the text bits...ah well. =smile= I guess the question is, "When is white, or a solid background color, considered empty space, and when is it not?" Any thoughts on that, y'all?

In case you can't read the caption in the lower right that explains what the four pinkish-red monsters are about, it says, "Night Terrors (detail), oil on panel, by Laurie Hogin, reflect the various stages of psychological disruption due to the use of prescription drugs during the eight hours intended for restorative sleep."