Part One: Observing and Capturing: Mark Making Drawings

Project 2: Recording and Capturing

Exercise 1.5: Collages and Creases

Object 1: Rag Rug

I chose a piece of a corrugated cardboard box as the ground for this sturdy and domestic item. My first idea was to paint bubble wrap to represent the loops of the rug, but the raised ‘bubbles’ looked too regular, and the paint didn’t stick well to the plastic, so back to square one!

To continue the ‘recycled’ theme of the object, I chose assorted recycled papers: newspaper, tissue paper and paper towels. I used the newspaper, as it was thicker, for the larger ‘loops’ of the rug border and the fraying areas at the edge, making little pads which were glued down with PVA glue. I thought about how much of the rug to show and whether to have it centred on the card, but decided to do a detailed version of one section, and have it come up to the edges of the card, so that it could be mounted on a piece of mount board and would seem to float above it and have more weight and dimension. The centre of the rug is made up of rolled balls of the other types of paper, applied in the pattern of the original hooking. The colour is watercolour paint, added afterwards, although some of the papers had their own colours (red, yellow, cream).

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Rag Rug Collage 55 x 35 cm Cardboard, newspaper, tissue paper, paper towels, watercolour, PVA glue

I thought it looked quite a lot like the rug texture (although also resembling an iced cake!). The border was more representative of the varied sizes of loops, than the more uniform centre. The downside to the technique is that it took a very long time to do. The colours are somewhat brighter than the rug, and could probably be toned down with a spray of tea. However, I didn’t want to wet the balls of paper too much as they were keen to unravel when wet. I enjoyed making this and the process very much reminded me of making an actual rag rug.

Object 2: Log Cabin Patchwork Quilt

I chose mount board for the background for this piece, and decided to use a piece of tissue paper for the quilt, covered with strips of various papers: pre-painted newsprint coloured with a mixture of coffee and acrylic gesso; recycled brown packaging paper; old magazine pages; a gold paper crown; an old fragment of a map; writing papers and two sheets of Japanese paper. I divided the papers into a light and dark pile, cut them into strips and glued them down in the Courthouse Steps block pattern of the quilt. Although I was not matching the colours, I tried to recreate the original textile’s palette of mainly browns and creams with flashes of green and orange in places. The decorated tissue was then folded and manipulated to represent the folds in the fabric, before sticking with loops of Sellotape to the mount board. The piece overlaps the background somewhat in the manner of the original, laid out on the table at the museum.

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Log Cabin Quilt Collage 58.5 x 46 cm Assorted papers including newsprint, map, magazines etc

When I got to the stage of manipulating the decorated tissue paper, I quickly discovered that it was not strong enough and ripped between the joins of the paper strips. I repaired the back where possible with Sellotape and eventually got it into the configuration that I wanted. Lesson for another time: use a stronger backing such as Tyvek. One of the strips contains part of an eye and mouth and it stands out. I left it like that as a surprise for the viewer. It could easily be painted over or glued over with a new section, if required. Again, the whole piece could be given a coat of brownish paint to give it a more ‘aged’ appearance. Although not altogether successful, I quite liked the finished piece, mainly for the pattern and colour scheme. I like the way the folds interrupt the regular pattern.

Object 3: Pullover

To represent the pullover, I decided to use a puffy kitchen towel. I was going to print the pattern onto it, then noticed that it already had a diamond pattern on it, so instead, highlighted that with watercolour paints. These spread out on the wet kitchen towel giving it a hairy, faded appearance. For the ribbed area I thought something stiffer would be required and used writing paper instead, cut into strips and finely pleated. I over-painted this with watercolour paint. The shadows were made from another kitchen towel, painted brown. I mounted it on quite a large piece of mount board to give it a more vulnerable, ‘small’ appearance.

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Child’s Pullover Collage 57.5 x 40.5 cm Kitchen towel, watercolour paint, writing paper

There are a number of things that I would do differently if I was re-making this piece: the size of the ‘label’; and the direction of the pattern, to name but two. I think it looks like a jumper, although perhaps not much like the original!

Well, this collage exercise took me a great deal longer than expected, but was very enjoyable to do. Overall, I was pleased with the results and may return to collage in the future, now with some more experience that will help to improve future artworks.

 

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