4 Artists: Animal Paper Collage

Paper collage fascinates me. Most styles of quilting are a form of collage — putting together pieces of many different fabrics to build up a pattern or picture — but the limitations caused by the need to sew seams* keeps me from achieving the truly detailed results I want from my animal art. While looking at animal pieces by other art quilters, I stumbled across a paper-collage dog portrait and got curious. Here are the artists I discovered while surfing the web.

My favorite is Dawn Maciocia, who lives in Scotland. Her lively animal portraits balance realism with whimsy and her use of line suggests that she can draw quite well. Her subjects are mostly mammals and birds, with an emphasis on the wild. To get a sense of how complex and time-consuming her process is, check out this short video:

Laura Yager’s work is also whimsical, but much more in-your-face. She strives to make the world a better place with her “happy art” and her neon animals do the trick. Her strongly colored papers are also high in pattern making her work more like a quilt than any of the other artists listed here.

LauraYager
Paper collage by Laura Yager

The work of Samuel Price is much more realistic, though his realism is noticeably pixellated. Using pieces of photographic images, he builds up a new photographic image with the fuzzy edges of a newspaper photo. His main subjects are dogs and horses.

Callie by Samuel Price
Callie by Samuel Price. Look closely at this dog’s ear and nose. The peachy parts are built up from photos of human body parts.

Last, but definitely not least, is Elizabeth St. Hilaire. Her charming art work includes goats wearing blossoms, sheep highlighted with rainbow colors, and tiny birds perched on flower stems. She uses papers with both printed and hand-written text as well as painted and color papers to achieve her naturalistic animals.

Field of Sweet Dreams E. St. Hilaire_web
Field of Sweet Dreams by Elizabeth St. Hilaire

Who did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

*I know I could be fusing (gluing) the fabric instead of sewing it, but that’s not really my thing.

My Creativity-Party Accordion Book II: Instructions

Last week, I posted about a book I made to commemorate a gathering of friends and where I went wrong. Here are instructions for how to make the book the right way as well as my way. The separate sets of pages make this book a great choice for group projects such as collaborations or swaps. You can also use this structure for a travel journal that you assemble after you return home.

This book was a collaboration made by my friends to celebrate my 40th birthday, back when I was still known as "Kathy"
This book was a collaboration made by my friends to celebrate my 40th birthday, back when I was still known as “Kathy”

For those who missed it, when I put my book together, I realized I’d made a mistake in measuring, and I wound up with a text block that leaned to one side. I made oversized covers and added “danglies” to fill in the space along the spine.

Party Book as seen from the top. Notice the way it leans...
Party Book as seen from the top. Notice the way it leans…

Here’s how to make the traditional version of this accordion-style book. (Notes for my funky version are at the end.)

1) Make your pages. I cut 90-lb watercolor paper into strips 4.5” x 12” to get two 4.5” x 5.5” pages with 1” left over for a glue tab.
2) Fold. Measure 1” in from one end of the paper strip, score, and fold back. With the tab folded under, line up the end of the strip with the edge of the fold. Crease. This will divide the paper into equal halves*. (If you measure instead, be careful. I didn’t account for the width of my bone folder and got unequal pages.)

Folding the page in half (the tab is underneath)
Folding the page in half (the tab is underneath)

3) Mark your tabs. With the tab to your right, use a marker or pen to draw a “this way up” arrow. Be bold; this tab will be completely covered up when the book is assembled and the arrow insures the finished book’s pages all go the right way.

One prepared section (2 pages) with well-marked tab
One prepared section (2 pages) with well-marked tab

4) Pass out the pages to your friends or decorate them yourself.
5) Glue the finished pages together. Put glue on the front of the tab and lay the next page in the book on top of it, so that the edge of the page lines up with the fold. Once all the pages are together, put the block under heavy boards or books to dry.

Gluing the decorated pages together
Gluing the decorated pages together

6) Make your book covers. Cut two pieces of mat board or heavy cardboard a little larger than your book pages.** I like 1/8” extra along the spine, top, and bottom, and ¼” extra along the front edge. Decorate the outside of the covers.
7) Glue on covers. When the text block is dry, glue the front cover to the back of the first page. Cut the tab off the last page before gluing it to the inside of the back cover. Add a ribbon tie by laying the ribbon vertically between the back cover and last page before you glue them together.
8) Dangly time! (You can add danglies to either version of this book.) Use, ribbon, fabric, paper, buttons, beads, feathers, tags, found objects, whatever you want, and make danglies – pieces that are long enough to stick out past the edge of your book cover after you attach them behind the spine edge folds of your accordion pages. In my haste (this was so much fun, I couldn’t go fast enough), I used double-stick and masking tapes. If your book will be handled much, take the time to use something more permanent, like glue.

My Birthday Book, opened out, accordion-style.
My Birthday Book, opened out, accordion-style.

*To get a funky trapezoid like mine, just make the fold between the pages consistently uneven, e.g., always fold the edge to 1/8” above the tab fold.
**The covers of my book cover the entire trapezoid. I just measured across the longest distance from spine edge to fore edge.

My Creativity-Party Accordion Book I: Turning a Flaw into a Feature

Do not be hasty, that’s my motto. –Treebeard, The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Do you ever have a sudden vision of an enticing project and find that you can’t turn your back on it? A project that you don’t have time for but you can’t resist doing anyway? It happens to me all the time and my excitement can cause me to rush. In the case of my party book, my haste to prepare the pages led to an interesting flaw that I decided to make into a feature.

This book was a collaboration made with my friends to celebrate my 40th birthday, back when I was still known as "Kathy"
This accordion book was a collaboration made by my friends to celebrate my 40th birthday, back when I was still known as “Kathy”

The idea came to me moments before the creativity retreat I organized to celebrate turning 40. I wanted a memento of the event and decided to have those at the party contribute to an accordion book. I was learning to make books by hand at the time, so I added watercolor paper and some collage materials to my other supplies. How hard could it be?

Color Me Happy by Kit Dunsmore. My entry in the book. (I was pretty excited about turning 40.)
Color Me Happy my entry in the book. (I was pretty excited about turning 40.)

When I arrived at the retreat site, I started frantically cutting and folding pages so they would be ready for my guests. I made folded double-page spreads with tabs for gluing the pages together after they were done. This way, everyone could work on the project simultaneously.

The collages I got back were fabulous. Even though some of my friends were anxious about “what to do”, everyone found something they could put on their pages. I was thrilled with the results and had the added pleasure of owning artwork by my talented friends.

Go To Bed by Maria DiFrancesco. One of the collages done by a friend.
One of the collages done by a friend.

This being me, it was two years later before I got around to assembling the book. As I began to glue the pages together, I realized something was wrong. Of course, I didn’t stop gluing because I was in a hurry to see the finished product. I had the complete text block assembled before I paused to figure out what had happened. Instead of a rectangular text block, I had a stack of pages that resembled the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Viewed from the top, my pages made a trapezoid, not a rectangle. Fortunately, I was amused by this result.

Party Book as seen from the top. Notice the way it leans...
Party Book as seen from the top. Notice the way it leans…

Along with being hasty, I am often lazy. I saw that in each section the first page was longer than the second and realized my hurried measuring had been inaccurate. However, I wasn’t about to take the pages apart and try to fix things. I decided instead to make it look like my funky text block was intentional. My solution? Fill the empty space along the spine with “danglies” using all sorts of odds and ends. The result was a book that says “Party!” in no uncertain terms.

My Birthday Book, opened out, accordion-style.
My Birthday Book, opened out, accordion-style.

What mistakes have cropped up in your projects? How do you deal with unexpected results? Are you in a hurry like me, finding ways to turn your flaws into features? Or do you prefer to undo things and fix the problem?

Next week, I’ll post instructions for making your own accordion book (the right way AND the hasty way) plus tips for holding your own creativity party.

Past Project: File Folder Pocket Journals

Here’s another project from the past, originally posted in 2011.

The Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors had an article on how to turn an ordinary office file folder into a little book with pockets for journaling. I don’t know if it was because it was an office supply or an opportunity to make a book or both, but I could not resist making one of my own.

Two pocket journals made from folding and sewing a file folder.

Since I want to be working in my art journals more, I decided to make a journal-prompt journal. Instead of journaling on the tags (as is done in the CPS article), I put different starting points or prompts on the back of my tags, an idea I got from the book Visual Chronicles by Linda Woods and Karen Dinino (see pp. 30-35).

I used a blue file folder and covered it with some pretty papers I’d collected.

Two of the pocket pages in my blue journal.

Then I made a bunch of tags by layering images ( from my own photos, magazines, old calendars, and scrapbook papers) onto cardstock or other heavy paper. On the back, I wrote or stamped my prompt (things like “Lessons Learned” or “I Feel…”).

Journal prompt tags

I enjoyed making it and had some ideas of other things I wanted to try, so I decided to make another one for my sister. I made her a blank version of the journal, putting in tags without any writing on the back so she could write “Happy Thoughts” of her own on them and make it into a gratitude journal. Her favorite color is red, so I used a red folder.

Gratitude journal; the tags are just waiting to be written on.

Firsts for this project were: 1) sewing on paper with my sewing machine and 2) using an office supply to make a book. I had a great time and love the results.

File Folder Fun: Making Pocket Journals

The Jan/Feb 2011 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors had an article on how to turn an ordinary office file folder into a little book with pockets for journaling. I don’t know if it was because it was an office supply or an opportunity to make a book or both, but I could not resist making one of my own.

Two pocket journals made from folding and sewing a file folder.

Since I want to be working in my art journals more, I decided to make a journal-prompt journal. Instead of journaling on the tags (as is done in the CPS article), I put different starting points or prompts on the back of my tags, an idea I got from the book Visual Chronicles by Linda Woods and Karen Dinino (see pp. 30-35).

I used a blue file folder and covered it with some pretty papers I’d collected.

Two of the pocket pages in my blue journal.

Then I made a bunch of tags by layering images ( from my own photos, magazines, old calendars, and scrapbook papers) onto cardstock or other heavy paper. On the back, I wrote or stamped my prompt (things like “Lessons Learned” or “I Feel…”).

Journal prompt tags

I enjoyed making it and had some ideas of other things I wanted to try, so I decided to make another one for my sister. I made her a blank version of the journal, putting in tags without any writing on the back so she could write “Happy Thoughts” of her own on them and make it into a gratitude journal. Her favorite color is red, so I used a red folder.

Gratitude journal; the tags are just waiting to be written on.

Firsts for this project were: 1) sewing on paper with my sewing machine and 2) using an office supply to make a book. I had a great time and love the results.