It seems so much longer than a week ago that I was writing about Storm Eunice, now the world is in a maelstrom whipped up by a crazy tinpot dictator. The #100dayproje is providing light relief on days where I can't stop reading the news or scrolling Twitter. I know I'm not alone is being distracted, the feeling of impotence and fear and worry for complete strangers is shared by so many of us. So whilst I'm still busy creating for the opening of the Ebenezer Gallery in April and Open Studios at the end of May, plus working on commissions, I'm also creating lots of mini collages. The act of painting collage papers is relaxing, play and intuitive mark painting or just sloshing paint and ink around.
So what papers to use in collage? The simple answer is any! That's the joy of the art form, you can use virtually any paper, or textile and snip it. There are a ton of artists on Instagram who use found papers; magazine snips and old photos and combine these with painted papers to create a narrative.
The Edinburgh Collage Collective (link below) is a great community showcasing global collage artists and their work.
I use collaging in a different way; for me it is a way of adding texture and marks to a piece. The collage elements are used as I would paint, ink or other mediums; in other words I paint with collage.
So what paper and why?
The why first; usually weight is the most important consideration, a heavier paper is usually thicker which may be ok but most of the time I want collaging to blend seamlessly with the other mediums I'm using so the thinner, and more lightweight the better. These are my favourites, the list is not exhaustive but it's what I return to again and again... (I am a UK artist so the references are for UK websites)
Deli Paper; seen in the first photo above as the semi translucent piece and the snippet of green. A slight sheen, translucent, so great for glazing and relatively strong. I've bought from Amazon in the UK in boxes of 500 but the great website Handprinted.co.uk also stocks it so I'll buy it from them next time! The downsides are 1- the sheets are small and the colour doesn't always adhere well and can smudge. I counteract this by applying a thin coat of acrylic medium as an isolation surface coat.
Wet Strength Tissue Paper; my favourite! Originally developed for lantern and model making this does what it says on the tin, the fibres stay strong and resistant to tearing when wet which means you can really go at it's surface and layer up a lot of colour and mixed media and produce some great effects. The sheets are lovely and large as well so it can be incorporated into larger artworks. The brand I use in the UK ; carnivalpapers.co.uk
Found Papers; Those of you who know me from old will know that I collect old papers, in particular maps and I have incorporated them into my work for over a decade, as far as I know the paintings are holding up well but with found papers there will always be the question of whether it is archival. Archival papers are those that are alkaline and therefore resist the deterioration that acids can bring about; causing discolouration and and fibre breakdown. Now this process can take a long time and I'm not sure that my work will be relevant in 100 years (I'd love it to be but you've got to be realistic!) so I don't worry too much but I do use UV protective varnishes and finishes and personally I would never hang work near a heat source,in a damp room or in direct sunlight. So which are my favourite papers?
Maps, book pages, the inside of envelopes, old letters and documents, music sheets, junk mail, old dress making patterns....
Which are your favourites?
Hope this has been useful, Blog post 4 will cover creating the collage papers and different methods that I use. Please feel free to share your own tips and techniques and if you think anyone you know will find this useful invite them along or share this post.
Stay safe x