I had to seriously challenge several assumptions I had about collage in this unit. My close minded approach in the beginning made it difficult to be curious and to explore. As I increased my awareness for my biases and misconceptions about collage and took steps to set them aside, I was able to make room for inquiry and to explore the materials within the guidelines of each exercise. Did I overthink? Yes. Did I push on anyway? Definitely.
This unit pushed and stretched me in ways I wasn’t expecting and I’m generally really fond of the outcome. At the outset of the collage of the course in Exercise 2.1, I was intrigued by exploring the collage works of artists like Giochi Di Carta; a papercut illustrator in Italy and Sally Payne.
Both designers are women which appeals to me and both utilize very uncluttered design styles with shapes that are simple and easy to understand. This research definitely influenced the direction of my work for the collage exercises and validated my preference for similarly clean, uncomplicated design.
Exercise 2.2 was my chance to bring together my research, materials, skills, and ideas. It was largely successful and the results were exciting. I was able to create the shapes I was seeing in a way that communicated what I wanted to. I borrowed ideas from some of the collage works I’d researched and went further to include some simple black ink drawing into one of the collages from this exercise. This disrupted my original assumptions of disliking collage and brought it to a place that I was curious about and keen to explore.
Exercise 2.3 brought its own unique challenges. I was really excited about the potential for this exercise and while I found parts of it to be technically quite difficult, I learned a lot and took risks that I wasn’t expecting to take. In the “waves” piece, I let go of trying to achieve symmetrical, even lines, rather to allow the finished piece to communicate the idea of motion. I feel like that was achieved. In the piece that illustrates the blossom, that was more difficult as the paper “lines” were leftovers from the waves piece. So the paper strips weren’t created for this specific illustration but I was determined to avoid waste and to create a collage drawing using what was on hand. When I view this piece, I do see a blossom which was one of my goals. I also did use scrap paper and eliminate waste. I was also able to modify the strips to fit within the shapes I was trying to create.
Exercise 2.4 was a real turning point for me. Not only was I keen to dive into the work, my excitement had led me to really prepare, think ahead and that shows in the collages that I produced. I was inspired still by the simple shapes and well-cut edges of previous work and wanted to explore rounder shapes. I tend to prefer straight edges and hard lines so the softer forms were a fun direction to take the exploration. As with previous collages, I incorporated a small amount of ink pen in one of the pieces. I’m happy with the outcome. It was in this exercise that I remembered my tutor’s recommendation to allow the subject to expand beyond the confines of the edge of the paper but it’s remarkable how much of a barrier this is for me. However, with conscious effort, I was not only able to incorporate this recommendation, I was pleased with the result.
Exercise 2.5 brought its own challenges. Every cut counts when working in a small space. The A5 pages were really fun to work with as they did allow me to complete a work very quickly. As with the previous exercise, I benefitted from sketching layouts ahead of doing the actual collage work. This gave my brain a chance to explore and gather ideas in the sketching portion and to focus on actually producing cohesive works in the collaging portion.
Below are some of my favourite pieces from the preceding exercises. Although, the full range of work is available in each post of the log.