A Passion for Collage & A Great Giveaway

November 08, 2010, 10:53 am  Posted by Lark

I’ve had a passionate, unending love affair with collage for as long as I can remember. The gleaning of seemingly disparate elements–from dusty book pages and colorful paper ephemera to textural discards and handwritten elements salvaged from old letters and journals–reconfigured into an artful visual arrangement is a sort of creative alchemy. Components can be few or many, but combined they tell a new story.

My own personal exploration of collage has taken the shape of three-dimensional assemblages and, more recently, encaustic paintings. It’s my way of transforming the seemingly ordinary into something elevated and beautiful.  I look to some of the greats of the medium, including Joseph Cornell, Lenore Tawney, Ray Johnson, and Robert Rauschenberg for a rich and inspiring heritage of the craft. And I seek out the work of some of the contemporary collage masters, including Aldwyth, Randel Plowman, James Michael Starr, and Lynn Whipple for new explorations of collage’s vast potential.

And so it should come as no surprise that I was really enthusiastic to be involved in the publication and support of a couple of my favorite recent Lark books: Masters: Collage and Scraps: A Field Guide to Collage. Both of these books are absolutely brimming delectable morsels of visual inspiration. I have them at the ready on my own studio shelf, and here’s your chance to have them, too. We’re giving away one free copy each of Masters: Collage and Scraps to one lucky winner. For a chance to win, leave a comment on this post by 9 p.m. on Monday, November 15, 2010. Any comment will do, but how about sharing the names to some of your favorite collage artists or favorite use for collage in your own crafts? One winner will be selected at random, and we’ll announce the winner on Friday, November 19. Click here for the official rules. Good luck! Congratulations to Darlene from Cinnamon Pink for winning the giveaway!

But, wait! I also have something special for every single one of you. We’ve collected five free beautiful collage pages, crafted by Scraps co-author Christine Clemmensen. Just click on the following links to download each PDF file: words of inspiration, circular doodles, paper ephemera, stamped stars background, and handwritten background. Feel free to print them out to your heart’s content to use in your own collage explorations.

Want to know more about collage? Check out Wikipedia’s concise entry on collage and The International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction.


55 Responses

    Wolfiemcguire says:

    My newest favorite collage artist is my friend Tim Manthey. I’m looking forward to collaborating with him very soon. Check out his work at http://www.cloudnectar.blogspot.com.

    Akingston1 says:

    My favorite collage artists include Hannah Hoch and the other dada artists of her time, Jess, and Fred Tomaselli, among many others. I mostly use old pre-1960 magazines to make my collages.

    I love to use all sorts of typography in my collage pieces. Great post – full of good information.

    Sarahdanforth says:

    one of my favorite collage artists is my ladylike cohort, ms. nicolle mcconville. i’m not kissing up, i’m just stating the truth.

    julie m says:

    i am new to collage. i am still browsing the internet a lot for inspiration and haven’t yet developed a favorite. at this point i am using free clip art and photos/text from old books i have collected. i do like Lynne Perrella and recently purchased her book, Collage Lab. These books look like a great way to expand my horizons.

    JulieS says:

    Collage is fun–I collaged an old dial telephone. I’m not familiar with many collage artists, but I love art books of any kind and always like to learn new art techniques.

    Nick Bantock opened up the collage/mixed media world to me. I highly recommend the Griffin & Sabine series to anyone who hasn’t discovered it!

    Tkmore says:

    I haven’t done collage since I was a little girl. I made a collage for our fair and got a blue ribbon. I love the inspiration online for collage, and am collecting the pieces and inspiration to dive in again several years later!

    MATTHEW ROSE says:

    I’m very happy to be included in the MASTERS: COLLAGE book, and since the publication a lot of people now visit my web site and write me, asking: Why are you an artist? I tell them: I like the hours.

    Launadromoff says:

    The book is quite wonderful, it shows a wide range of collage artists, I being one of them. I am very proud to be
    in the book!! Launa D. Romoff

    Sharlyngp says:

    I haven’t done any artistic collage since art class in college. However, my whole home seems to be a collage of sorts…a bit of glass here, some fabric there, beads everywhere, books upstairs, and odds and ends everyplace! I’d love to win the books! They look great!!!

    Mel says:

    I am a collagist by trade, so I of course am very excited about this blog post! My favorite collage artists, besides the ones in the “Masters” book, are old school: Lenore Tawney, Picasso, Kurt Schwitters and all the other German dada artists. I love using vintage ephemera in my work – I collect it, too. :D

    I’ve enjoyed seeing more collage online via twitter connections lately (like the work of Silvio Alvarez of Brazil: http://www.silvioalvarez.com.br/galeria.html)
    Another inspiring resource is the annual juried show of the National Collage Society: http://www.nationalcollage.com/2010.html
    Among others!!

    Melissa says:

    Thank you for offering such a wonderful giveaway and for inspiring me to remember some favorite collage artists. You have already named two of my favorite — Robert Rauschenberg and Joseph Cornell. I will add Romaire Beardon to the list and also my local teacher and mentor Patricia Waters. Thanks again.

    Sarahjanesina says:

    Masters Collage has some amazing work in it. I love Liz Cohn’s work and of course, the fabulous Marty Gordon. I just love doing collage as well, it feed my soul!

    Beadsophisticate says:

    I am using collage principles for inspiration in some beading I am working on.

    Esiff says:

    Would love to have the collage book..my fave collage artists are Cornell of course, Hannah Hoch and so many of the DaDa-ists..too many to name…I am a collage artist for too many yrs. to remember!

    AbbyMarie says:

    I enjoy working on collage using my rubber stamps, paper collection and things from nature. I just found Randel Plowman’s work and really like it!

    Irishknitter1955 says:

    I like to use collage work on dimensional items such as boxes (always looking for storage!). But one can always use the boxes for “goal” boxes. I find writing down the goal makes it more tangible and begins that journey. Then you can go back and look at your collage work for inspiration and review your goals to see how far along you are in that particular journey or use it as a reminder to nudge you along. I also like collage work because “anything goes!”

    Twinks says:

    I recently was FREECYCLED 40 years worth of National Geographics. Now some may consider it an abomination, but I went through every page of every one of those Geos and removed everything that I thought I could use…textures, patterns, particular images, colours, and retro ads. I had some ideas about using certain of the elements as collage interest in my paintings. However, with all that wealth I knew that eventually an inspiration would come to me for a larger use. Then it saw it – I had put together a large 6 panel screen from hollow bifold type doors to cover my patio doors, they were blank white. It was a canvas that had been waiting a long time, now I knew I had the answer to both. What will eventually emerge on my screen will be the stages of my life using the Geos and my collection of family photographs as the collage elements of a larger work. I hope to begin within the next few weeks. Thank you for giving me a forum to tell my story of rescue and reuse.

    justval says:

    My favorite collage artist, Jim Dine. I discovered him years and years ago, he incorporates painting with collage, printing, etching, and paper-making. The thrill of tearing, cutting and gluing of paper, pretty sure the love started back in the late 60′s with a jar of paste and a magazine

    Martin Delabano says:

    I’ve been making collages since I was 17…some 36 years ago. Being an artist and teacher I’ve discovered that collage is the way to work for me. It allows me to work quickly and to recycle.
    Martin Delabano

    'tia says:

    As a collage artist and teacher, this book would be a welcome addition to my class library. Ray Johnson is my inspiration!

    charlotte says:

    looks like a beautiful book! … i like lance letscher. (o;

    Sfiebig says:

    I own the Masters:Collage book and I am totally inspired every time I open it! The Scraps:A Field Guide to Collage book is something I have not seen before and would love to add it to my library! Not only do I learn new techniques from each book, I often receive justification of my own creativity, especially when I think I have gone too far, not far enough, or missed the boat entirely!

    Jane Dalton says:

    The work in this book is diverse and I can use many of the examples to inspire my art students. I particularly like the work of Stephanie Dalton Cowan….great imagery and rich color and texture!!

    Jane Dalton
    Director of Art Education
    Maine College of Art

    Stephanie says:

    I enjoyed contributing to this wonderful book, and I have received some very nice email comments from artists and collectors alike. The comments have been on the the wide array of collage approaches and interesting artists included in this publication. Some of the artists that stood out to me were Cecil Touchon, Michael Mew, Dennis Parlante, Liz Cohn, and the author; Randal Plowman. ~ Stephanie Dalton

    I stumbled onto collage seven years ago when I glued a bunch of black and white photo clippings from The Sun magazine onto a blank card and added a quote to make a unique Christmas card for my mother. (I was giving her a subscription and wanted it to be special.) I found both the process and the result so satisfying that I kept going. While I worked full time and finished an MFA in creative writing, I kept making black and white collages. I used Mod Podge to glue down ripped black and white photo images and cut up quotes. I literally made hundreds of these.

    The process of tearing, arranging, and gluing was calming and relaxing in a way nothing else in my life was, and I ended up with gifts for friends and family. I even had a small show of my work in Berkeley at a writing salon. The feedback I got from exhibiting my work was eye opening. I had no idea how the combination of words and images would affect people so powerfully.

    When I completed my graduate work, I began making what I call story collages in earnest–setting up a little studio in place of my living room. (I am lucky to have a very supportive partner who helped me get rid of our couch so there would be room for my tables and boxes!) I began to incorporate fabric, paint, and color into my collages, moving away from black and white, but continuing to incorporate words in order to tell a story with each piece. I found Claudine Hellmuth while doing an online search for other collage artists. She has two great books–my favorite is Collage Discovery Workshop–that have been extremely helpful and inspiring in my process.

    Last year we moved from San Francisco to Portland, Maine. I got my first official studio space and within no time I had my work in a local gallery. I began working at Maine College of Art and now teach workshops on narrative collage through their Continuing Studies program. I love watching other people–particularly people in their 40s and 50s who never considered themselves artistic or creative–get excited when they make their first piece of art. One woman in my workshop last September exclaimed “this is so much fun” in the middle of our class. I strongly encourage an atmosphere of play and experimentation, telling everyone that I’ve learned tremendously from my mistakes, which often led me to breakthroughs in my own process.

    Most recently, I am using miniature canvases and Victorian copyright-free images of men and women to make ornaments that I’ll be selling at our holiday craft fair.

    Although I love the big names in collage and shadowboxing–like Joesph Cornell–most of my favorite collage artists are relatively unknown. I have an amazing New Mexico landscape made of paper and paint on board by a woman in her 70s that I found in a gift shop years ago on a trip with my mother and sisters. This piece was more than I could afford at the time and the gallery owner was kind enough to let me pay in installments over several months. Owning it has given me so much pleasure and I am continually inspired by the use of color and texture in this work.

    I would love to own both of these books and am so happy my friend and colleague Jane Dalton recommended this site.

    bonnierose says:

    I love collage.. I’m a big fan of art journaling guru Dina Wakely… love her stuff… just started into mixed media collage and art journaling.. so I wud love to win these! hugs bonnierose
    fargo nd usa

    I love Masters: Collage and I am also delighted to have been a contributor :) Yes, I agree that Joseph Cornell and Rauschenberg were amazing. I enjoy the work of so many contemporary artists too – these books are great sources of inspiration for me as well.

    Annie Crow says:

    My favorite use of collage is to make cards for people, and in my annual DreamBoard parties, where we put together our hopes/dreams for the year. Aside from the folks already mentioned I don’t know that many current collage artists, so these books would be a lovely introduction!

    Nina says:

    Thanks for offering this giveaway. I have Masters: Collage on my wish list on Amazon, so it would be great to win. My two current favorite collage artists are Sandhi Schimmel and Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson. Please Google them to see their gorgeous, creative works of art!

    Nina in San Diego

    Dana Barbieri says:

    Wow! This is a great giveaway! I love Stephanie Levy’s work (which led me here) and Claudine Hellmuth. Thanks for the chance to win two great books!!

    Lindsey says:

    Stephanie Levy has been one of my favorites for a while know. I love her juxtaposition of colored paper and drawings.

    Essexdebs says:

    Wow this looks awesome.I researched Lenore Tawney for my docent graduation in 2009 and have been playing with altered books and collage every since.Can always new visual inspiration

    Tomoko says:

    For a long time I have had an interest in making collage. Just have not done it yet!

    Linda Starr says:

    I like the use leftover scraps of fabric in a fabric collage on canvas, different textures, colors styles and see what I come up with. I like Stephanie Levy use of bright colors.

    Bea says:

    I love to make collages and at the moment I’m searching for a way to combine my photography with collage or mixed-media techniques. My favourite collage artist is Stephanie Levy. I love her unique art!

    Claire says:

    I enjoy working on collage using watercolor, handmade papers and found objects

    Oli27 says:

    ooo.. I’m so excited… One of my favorite artist is Romare Bearden. He was known for his mixed media and was a master of the trade long before collaging became one of the coolest things ever. His work envelops the world of music and art and his use of mixed mediums is very graceful. There is so much you can do with collaging and I enjoy it very much myself, especially when you get to peel the glue of your hands. ; )

    Eveozer says:

    I discovered collage 3 years ago. Then one day I picked up Art revolution and was introduced to Stephanie Dalton Cowan. Her piece, Free from the Past, just mesmirized me. Another artist told me about Masters Collage and I immediately ordered it from Amazon. When I read the list of artists and saw Stephanie’s name, I iquickly flipped to her pages and poured over her collages. Then I started from the beginning and enjoyed all the other artists.

    But Stephanie’s work still resonated with me on a deeper level, so I took a chance and sent her an email. She was gracious enough to answer back, and since then, we have been corresponding regularly and she has given me a lot of encouragment and advice.

    So your Collage: Masters is not only an excellent salute to the fine art of collage but also became a bridge between a fledgling and a master.

    Asiye says:

    the book looks amazing!
    i use collages in my journal/sketchbook
    my favorite collage artist is stephanie levy. I simply love how she layers things, her colours and every single art piece she does.

    a_mecom says:

    Love the freebies! They are great! Thank you!

    ~Barb~ says:

    The use of color in the work of Kelly Rae Roberts just soothes me and I adore her and every piece of her art I’ve ever seen.
    Peace & Love,

    Caity says:

    I use collage as background in my art journals (and often as a kick off point for writing, too) – anything NOT to see a white page waiting for me!

    papergirl says:

    I like to build up my own little paper world.

    Melanie says:

    I am really liking the work of Stephanie Levy and Randel Plowman.

    Lauren says:

    I admire Henry Darger’s use of collage. He did literally pick paper up from the ground and from the trash and made amazing and strange work.

    Heidi aka Digital Misfit says:

    I love collage. I am still relatively new to the art, but I love doing dramatic multi-textured backgrounds with my own watercolor art collaged on top. I find it to be so much more interesting than just a solid background. I especially love handwritten bits and typography accents.

    Marilynlandau says:

    I am so honored to be one of the collage artists featured in Masters: Collage. The publication showcases very talented artists and gives the public the opportunity to see the works of artists that they may not have seen.

    Jeanne says:

    These books look beautiful. Thank you for the chance.

    Abarrabarr says:

    My favorites are my mom and the Oiuseax Sisters (I think that’s how they spell it).

    Sarah M. says:

    I recently happened upon a small stockpile of vintage wrapping paper, stationery and postcards in my grandma and grandpa’s house that I have been using in my collage works.

    Edie says:

    I am just learning collage and composition. My favorite artists right now are Julie Prichard and Chris Cozen at the land of lost luggage on Ning.


    Hi there

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