Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Thing About Collage


"The Visual Spectrum" - A Color Wheel Series
I work mostly with abstract or non-representational art and I particularly enjoy a collage style of design.  When I think of the word "collage" it conjures up images from the latest magazines of layers of items/stuff/ephemera that is mostly unrelated to each other all jumbled on a background of some sort.  I don't care for most of them as they look "scrapbooky" and very personal to me.  I can see that they might have meaning to the maker, but they have very little meaning to me. 

When I create art I am inspired by something like color, nature, a piece of cloth or an idea.  When I am creating the piece I think about what looks good and how much of this or that or where to put things.  I consider composition, balance, contrast, color, and focal point.  I am not only creating for myself but to hopefully successfully share my thoughts, muse and artistic skill with others.  Yes, I am making things to try to sell them, so I want other people to like them.  In order for someone to like it they need to see something in it that they can identify with or that moves them or makes them remember something.  It needs to have meaning to them as well as to me or it is not, in my mind, a successful piece. 

So when I am making a collage I want it to be interesting, have good "flow", be a balanced composition, and hopefully have beauty.  Not too much of anything or too little.  As Goldilocks said, just right.

Here are three of my series of color wheel quilts that are approximately 12"x12".  They are collages and some have beading, some have hand embroidery.  All 12 of them were very fun to create and each one is unique.  I made them cohesive by their size and black bindings but other than that I just went with whatever I was inspired to do with the fabrics I chose and the colorway I was working with.  They are essentially monochromatic pieces and yet they are still colorful.  Some of the fabrics have other colors in them that help make the piece interesting.  
"Periwinkle"

"Tangerine"

"Scarlet"
 When I see these all together it is difficult to pick my favorite.  I see things that I could have done better and I see things I really like.  Every one is interesting, full of detail, and fairly true to their corresponding color on the color wheel.  It wasn't hard to do that.  I had all the fabric in my stash.  And I enjoyed working with every one. 

Collage does not have to be messy, busy and heavy with stuff.  It can be colorful, detailed and balanced without being overdone.  Know when to stop adding more fabric, more embellishment, or more stitching.  That isn't always easy, but that is part of the process of creating art.  Overdo it and you lose what you are trying to say.  Don't do enough and it is boring.  Find the balance. 

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