I look at magazines like the Feb. issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and think "I'll never be able to do collage well, especially collage with words." Then I have to remind myself about "baby steps" and about how learning takes time and practice.
OK. That's the program for this year's BJP... one piece at a time... just do it... see how it grows (or doesn't)! My piece for February is finished and at least I like it better than the one for January. Here's how it looks (click picture to see detail).
Originally, when I spontaneously chose six words for the month, I didn't have any sense that they were related. The word I circled as the most compelling at that moment was cry. Immediately I wanted to change my mind, to circle play or any of the other words. Three weeks later, with my piece complete, I'm so glad I stuck with my original choice because, little by little, I realized that all six of my words are about my Mom and our relationship.
I wrote about my tear in the center of the beaded heart holding a picture of Mom and about my love surrounding her in my previous post here. Now, looking at the completed piece, so many associations and memories of Mom (some recent, some in the distant past of childhood) are unfolding... triggered by all six of the words!
When I view it, not as attempted collage, not as art, but as a story about my Mom and me, it's a delight and a treasure! Maybe that's a lesson for us with our art... to view (and to value) it from the standpoint of what it tells us. Just a thought...
The technical and design issue for me about collage with paper, cloth and beads is how to make all the elements interconnected and whole. To make the words for this piece, I created them in Photoshop and then printed them on fabric (poplin) with my inkjet printer. The heart is beaded on felt. The background is drawing paper painted with acrylic paints.
When I first laid out the three elements, the paper and heart looked OK together, but the words looked dull and unrelated. What could I do to make them come forward a little, but not so much as to overpower the heart? The answer came in steps and with trial and error...
First I stitched beads around the borders of each word. That helped a little, but not enough. I needed some way to enhance the edges of the words, bring the color and texture of them more in line with the little edge of felt showing around the beading on the heart. I tried crocheting a scalloped edge with a single strand of embroidery floss. Yuk! I tried drawing around the edges with marking pen. Yuk! Finally I got the idea of couching a six-strand length of embroidery floss around the edge. That worked pretty well... the color was right and it gave a slightly uneven texture, similar to the felt. Here's a picture of the three steps... 1- plain, 2- with beads and 3- with a couched edge.
I'm looking forward to March and already curious about what six words will pop into my mind on March 1st! It's a fantastic pleasure to look at all the juicy, creative, fun, stimulating pieces being done by this year's BJP participants. OMG!!! We are soooooooooooooo way cool!
Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post about Mom and me and crying... I really appreciate your kindness and encouragement!
- Black background paper - 8.5 x 11 inches
- Painted background paper - 7 x 7 inches
- Beading - completed on red wool felt, then stitched to background paper
- Words - created in Photoshop, printed on fabric, glued to paper with bookbinder's glue