Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Using Throw-away Pictures in Collage, Part 1

I love making collages, and I have a little secret for you: even though I am known as a fiber artist, I consider everything I do to be collage. I absolutely love the gathering and sorting of snippets, whether they are pieces of fabric, found objects or paper ephemera. Old pictures are no exception.

I have an entire box full of what I call throw-away photographs: you know, the ones that used to come in a pack of printed film (yes, pre-digital era!). When film was developed, they didn't just print the good images; you got them all, and it was up to you to throw them away. I started saving them for use in my workshops so that I could pass them out to all the students to try our techniques. Over the years, I have made some amazing work with these throw-away pictures, so I thought I would show you how I alter them.

A recent grouping of pictures pulled from my box
First, you'll need an old, crappy picture to practice on. You will also need very fine grade sandpaper and a damp paper towel. Down the road in this process you'll see how the little spray mister is used, and how I added color. But for today: first things first!
This black and white picture of clouds is a good one to use. It has little character by itself, but also has a lot of areas ready for scratching up with the sandpaper. Don't get bogged down picking an image. Just grab one. Even a magazine image or a page from an old book will work, as long as the paper isn't too fragile.

I usually fold up a small piece of the sandpaper, then use it to scrub, scratch and draw on the surface. The direction of the scratch marks as well as their length will become visible later, so have fun with this part.

Next time: adding color


  1. And so fun. You know about this box of "throw-aways". In my next post, you'll see at least one that was yours : )