Tag Archives: Paper Collage

Rice Paper Birds

Sometimes a new piece of paper can suggest a new direction, or a new way of seeing things. Such is the case with a gift of the most delicate pale blue translucent paper my daughter Laurel brought me from Toronto. For a while I just admired it hanging in the window with other strips of translucent paper being hung over it for effect. Eventually, two new pieces took shape.

I love flocks of rice paper birds. Playing with such sheer papers encouraged me to focus more on the abstract shapes of birds and the spaces between them (and less on the individual birds).

The birds don’t alter space.
They reveal it. The sky
never fills with any
leftover flying. They leave
nothing to trace. It is our own
astonishment collects
in chill air. Be glad

(Li-Young Lee ‘Praise Them’)

Fall Scraps of Sunlight

Having just spent two days playing with paper with others, one day being a collage PLAYshop at the Qu’Appelle Valley Centre for the Arts, and the second day taking place here at the farm (Scrap basket free for all), I can honestly say, I would love to spend a whole week like this. Except I might not still be married! My patient husband had to borrow a chair to sit down to eat lunch, his current reading material was hidden under a scrap basket and his usual paths had detours but he managed with good humour. It is all cleaned up now and I am still married.

Following are photos from the PLAYshop and scrap basket adventure. A few highlights first:

  • I liked that we had people from age 9 to over 70, grandmothers and granddaughters, mothers and daughters, aunties and nieces, good friends, people who had come before and people who gave it their first try.
  • Joanne brought a beautiful paper wasps nest, and this paper was used for many creations. See if you can spot them.
  • We visited but sometimes were so absorbed and other than music in the background all you could hear were so many pairs of scissors as they cut through paper.
  • It was November 7th and 8th and “the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all our senses .” (thanks Joni Mitchell). Who could believe this weather in November? The sun was so bright I was uanble to get a picture of Sunday morning’s scrap basket crew.
  • On Saturday, we got to pop in at the pop up market!!

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I have  three big scrap baskets, full of treasure. Today’s challenge was to just use what was in the scrap basket to create something beautiful.
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Joan's beautiful creation from saturday's PLAYshop. She came up to the farm Sunday and found just what she needed to complete her collage. see the next photo.

Joan’s beautiful creation from saturday’s PLAYshop. She came up to the farm Sunday and found just what she needed to complete her collage. see the next photo.

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Raising the Roof

IMG_2164My summer plan was to stop creating collages for a while, and focus a little more on watercolour painting. Then, this beautiful blue lining from an envelope Jessie received  with a grad card captured my heart. The paper is silky, the geometric patterns simple, the different blues thrill me. The envelope lining is almost perfect – just a slight tear. It beckons me from my work table every time I pass. It wants to be a house. So, I put the watercolours aside and pull out my scissors.

envelope lining - to die for

envelope lining – to die for

envelope lining becomes a house

envelope lining becomes a house

trying different background papers

trying different background papers

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I try the house with the roof on and it doesn’t look right. So I raise the roof a bit…. suddenly in the new space created I can see that a tree wants to grow – a golden tree. I find the perfect gold foil – the wrapper from an expensive chocolate bar.

a tree begins to grow from beautiful and fragile gold foil

a tree begins to grow from beautiful and fragile gold foil

tree is raising the roof

tree is raising the roof

gluing the tree - toothpick and wet glue

gluing the tree – toothpick and wet glue. Slow work…patience, Sue

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green leaves from cigarette papers, turquoise leaves from old wrapping paper

green leaves from cigarette papers, turquoise leaves from old wrapping paper

almost done

almost done

birds fly from the tree

birds fly from the tree

flight

flight

"Raising the Roof" - Paper collage using candy wrappers, envelope lining, cigarette foils and other papers

“Raising the Roof” – Paper collage using candy wrappers, envelope lining, cigarette foils and other papers. 18″ x 24″

 

A few days later, rectangles of the original envelope lining plus a new piece of purple paper from the Paper Umbrella inspire me – this one is about RAIN, I think, and responds to the deluge of rain we got in early July that caused flooding in much of Southeastern Saskatchewan.IMG_2195

 

in the window…this paper is marbled gold in the back and I like how the light picks that up.

in the window…this paper is marbled gold in the back and I like how the light picks that up.

Tree

First, I bought the paper. Last piece in the store. A vivid luminous green just like the spring we know is coming….someday. Couldn’t leave that paper alone….I saw a tree in that paper, a tree with the roots showing. I took out the scissors and followed the patterns on the paper, and slowly, cut out a tree.IMG_1785 IMG_1833 IMG_1824Next came birds  in the tree. First try, the branches obscured the birds too much and as my favourite art critic, Jessie, said, “Mum, that really sucks.” She was right!!  But the birds persisted…. that tree was calling for BIRDS!!  With some birds, I recreated the branches with a lighter green  rice paper so the branches would not be so overwhelming. With others, I took the branch right out of the tree showing the bird’s colours boldly. Time after time, I turn the tree over and hold it up to the light….the tree is different on each side.Sometimes I am surprised!

the branches on this bird are made with a lighter coloured rice paper than the original branchescc

the branches on this bird are made with a lighter coloured rice paper than the original branchescc

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Linda came for a visit and made an artists trading card while we worked

Linda came for a visit and made an artists trading card while we worked

IMG_1906 IMG_1907A few weeks previous, I had Glacier Glass cut a variety of sizes of plexiglass. When I picked them up, I was amazed as one piece was huge (30″ x 42″) – certainly the biggest piece I have worked with so far. “What was I thinking?” I wondered. “Where will I store it?” I hid it under the couch. Turns out that this piece is exactly the right size for this tree!!

Next step is to put the tree on plexi glass  with  tape and add more birds and branches before I can apply the special glue used with plexiglass.

Just one piece of plexi glass with the protective wrap on the other side giving it that wax paper look. There are still some branches, roots and birds to add.

Just one piece of plexi glass with the protective wrap on the other side giving it that wax paper look. There are still some branches, roots and birds to add.

“Tree”is complete. large and unwieldy as it is, I take it out to photograph it!! It blows off everything. So, finally, I lay it in the grass.

"Tree" lying in the grass! Rice paper, other paper in plexiglass

“Tree” lying in the grass!
Rice paper, other paper in plexiglass

Then I lean it against the barn door and get some photos, inside and out!!

"Tree" Rice Paper in Plexiglass sitting in the barn door

“Tree” Rice Paper in Plexiglass sitting in the barn door. This is the opposite side from the one pictured in the grass above.

"Tree" Rice paper in plexiglass, from the inside of the barn…love the shadows

“Tree” Rice paper in plexiglass, from the inside of the barn…love the shadows

detail "Tree" - rice paper and plexiglass

detail “Tree” – rice paper and plexiglass

Tree currently at the Paper Umbrella

Thanks to darlene dePourque who lent me Mary Lou’s window and took this photo with a fish eye lens. My friend Maggie wrote that it looked like the tree had uprooted and let the birds take it for a flight!!

Next stop – the Paper Umbrella in Regina!

Looking for Love in all the Right Places

 

I love to create art with people of all ages. My recent morning at the Regina Early Years Family Centre (Gathering Place location in North Regina) saw me playing on the floor with my youngest group ever and their moms.

looking through the paper...I think the sounds that tissue paper makes were more interesting than the "translucence"

looking through the paper…I think the sounds that tissue paper makes were more interesting than the “translucence”

The minute I walked in the door, I felt at home and I felt comforted. There is a large tree in the corner made of twisted and curved brown wrapping paper. My sense was that there were small nests all around the room, and enticing corners and caves  inviting the curious to explore and linger. Nothing large and plastic in primary colours!! A magical place. A place for children and parents to spend good time together.

scrap baskets - full of possibility!!

scrap baskets – full of possibility!!

I came with my scrap baskets. Art programmer Kat supplied glue sticks, scissors and other kinds of paper. I like to think of myself as a beginner in art, but my time with these artists taught me so much about what it really means to be a beginner. Turns out that I have a ton of preconceived ideas about the purpose of glue or scissors, not to mention paper!  Here is some of what I learned from these small teachers:

  • A glue stick looks like lip balm. So it is reasonable to open the top and put it on my lips. What happens? STICKY LIPS!!!
  • It is a lot of fun to take the cap on and off a glue stick. Again and again and again. Why stop?  No gluing is necessary. It is still fun.

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Photo courtesy www.studiosproutssantacruz.com

I spent 15 minutes with one little girl. At first she enjoyed digging the glue out of the glue stick with her fingernail. Then she could put some of the glue on paper. Then we tried another way –  together we dragged the glue stick across the paper. You have to hold the paper down when you do this. She reminded me of the deeply satisfying feel of glue when we move it across paper – it both slides and sticks, all at the same time!! We did this a number of times. Eventually we tried putting a scrap of  paper on top of the glue. When you do this your fingers get gluey or gooey and they stick to the paper. It helps to have a (relatively) dry fingered adult to separate you from the paper. Once this is done, you shake the paper and the two pieces of paper stay together. A miracle! A big smile! Two big smiles! It took us a long time to accomplish this and we were both quite pleased I think.

the many wonders of a glue stick

the many wonders of a glue stick

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  • Scissors are very cool. I watched many children, especially boys, cut with scissors. Tissue paper is very hard to cut. It is too floppy, it moves all of the time. Firm paper, like construction paper or wax paper is much easier. Cutting with scissors takes 100% concentration – it is an an almost hypnotic activity. I love that scissors kind of sound. The straight lines produced by the scissors as the paper separates into two is amazing. Nobody wants help. Nobody wants to learn to hold their scissors properly. They mostly just to enjoy the pleasures, sounds and miracles of cutting with two blades of steel.
photo courtesy of www.lynaot.come

photo courtesy of www.lynaot.com  I love this photo because it shows that wonderful concentration and absorption that cutting demands

IMG_1846 IMG_1849 IMG_1853 IMG_1854This small girl below played with the paper for a while and then came straight for my lap, totally intent on having a cuddle. Her mom said that she has this beautiful gift of love, knowing just who needs her hug. We had a long cuddle… a great interlude of love in the midst of creativity.

finding love

finding love

Some of the parents fretted because they were not creating art with their child. They were creating art because they wanted to and their child was doing their own thing close by.  The kids had very different ideas than the parents. To my mind, this is a great thing! I believe that just as our children need to see us reading books and enjoying them if they are to grow up to be readers, they also need to see us creating art…if they are to grow up loving being creative. They need to see us creating at the kitchen table, on the living room floor, and If I had my way – in the halls and lobbies of schools and doctor’s offices, parks and playgrounds, shopping malls and arcades. Anywhere and everywhere! In fact, anytime I have created art where there are children or youth, they are magnetically drawn to see what is happening, and more often than not, they want to create as well. It just happens.

we get messier and messier, paper is fun to throw in the air and why not?

we get messier and messier, paper is fun to throw in the air and why not?

See my bird

See my bird

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our tree of blooms, birds, unidentified flying objects and one dinosaur

our tree of blooms, birds, unidentified flying objects and one dinosaur

Thank you to Kat and all the great staff at the Regina Early Learning Family Centre for the invite. Special thanks to the moms, grammas and caregivers, and the biggest thanks to the small ones who taught me so well. To find out what else is happening at one of Regina’s two Early Learning Family centres, check out their FB page.

 

Dear Grade 4’s

Smokey the COLLAGE Cat

Smokey the COLLAGE Cat

Dear Grade Fours,

I thought you would enjoy meeting one of our three cats – he is called Smokey and this is our living room (a big mess!) before I came to visit you today. Have you heard of CALICO cats? Well, I think Smokey is a COLLAGE CAT – happiest when lying on papers, or even better – in the middle of a collage piece I am working on. Deep down, Smokey is an artist too.

In the picture of Smokey, you can see the paint chips which each of you chose as your favourite colour. Here they are as Darian arranged them on the table. Some of you picked more than one favourite colour!

Paint Chips

Paint Chips

Back at home  with Smokey’s help, I cut out different shapes in tissue paper that matched your favourite colours. Together and with the help of your teacher and Jessie and Marina, we created the colourful rooster pictured below. I call him Raggedy Rooster – is this a good name? For some Raggedy Rooster was too messy, for others he was just right. One thing I love about creating art is that there are many ways to create a rooster – and all of them are fine. One of the things I hope we can learn together is how each of you like to work best as an artist. Some like to be detailed and exact and like everything to be very neat. Others like to cut or tear quickly and don’t mind if everything isn’t perfect. The beauty of collage is that all these ways make for beautiful pieces.

"Raggedy Rooster" - this rooster's got attitude!

“Raggedy Rooster” – this rooster’s got attitude!

Below “Raggedy Rooster” is the rooster you drew together – when we were learning that a rooster is a collection of shapes. Below your rooster I have included some roosters I have created – one is a collage and is your classroom right now.IMG_1531

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Free Range Chicken - watercolour

Free Range Chicken – watercolour

“Free Range Chicken” is not really a rooster, just a very fancy chicken who gets to run around in purple running shoes. Does she remind you of anyone?

I look forward to seeing you all again on Thursday when we will create something that flies – could be birds, dragonflies, dragons, rockets….Thank you for all the ways you are helping – sweeping the floor, emptying water, teaching me how to speak without an Ontario accent, keeping me in line and giving me such a fantastic and warm welcome to your classroom.

Smokey says good bye – here he is, napping again, near a basket of paper!! His eyes match the yellow paper.

What is Smokey the COLLAGE cat's favourite colour??

What is Smokey the COLLAGE cat’s favourite colour??

Bye for now,

Sue and Smokey

For the month of March, I am privileged to work with the grade 4 students in Mrs. Anna Maria Burianyk-Noey’s classroom at Balcarres Community School. I will share some of our adventures in this blog from time to time. We are exploring the medium of paper collage and hope to create some rice paper panels to add colour and beauty to the new entrance of the school.

 

Lumsden PLAYshop for the birds!!

This past Saturday saw me in Lumsden with eleven other creative souls who came to play with paper, scissors and glue… We spent a companionable day contemplating  beauty, exploring our own particular styles  – some  of us loving to tear the paper and go freestyle, others preferring the small, telling detail……We took note of what was difficult for us, what felt like “work” (not always a bad thing!) and what felt like joy? As we cut and pasted, some of us asked “What makes me hum? What gives me great pleasure and satisfaction? What tickled my funny bone and loosened the muscles around my jaw? Do I like to work slowly and carefully or is my way to move quickly?”

For me, each PLAYshop is unique, each a gift in its own way. One of the delights of my time in Lumsden was watching others as they played with the shape of birds – taking the same image and playing with it in so many different ways. This is something that brings me seemingly infinite delight!  I was so moved by the beautiful creations – the soft-edged and tender birds of a young mom, families of birds in palettes of blues or of autumn colours or yellows and purples, birds with flamboyant tail feathers. Others created  a flame, a dancing goddess, abstract pieces, an exquisite scene with a jewelled dragonfly, a line of dancing women joined by a single golden thread.

I firmly believe that a bracing winter walk in the middle of a day of collage play helps the creative process. But only one intrepid woman took me up on it. (Thanks Chris!) The rest preferred to let winter stay outdoors, except for the brilliant light streaming through the windows as we created a colourful and joyful spring within!

My thanks to all of the fine artists of Lumsden and district, for your dedication to creating space for art to bloom,for your love of beauty, and for the golden thread of friendship and support that keeps you loosely connected.

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so many beautiful birds

so many beautiful birds

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Some scraps of beauty to take home!

Some scraps of beauty to take home!

Next Paper Collage PLAYshop will be held on March 22nd in Fort Qu’Appelle.

Fall Colours PLAYshop, October 12, 2013

Paper on the drying rack, paper on the floor. paper, paper, everywhere!

Paper on the drying rack, paper on the floor. paper, paper, everywhere!

I don’t know about the others who came but I felt nestled into a warm paper cave on Saturday, with the window providing bright flashes of colour – rich yellow from the trees outside, a steely blue lake, and an ever changing fall sky. Those present shared their hopes for the day in one or two words – they came for a day of freedom, for joy, to play, to have fun, for some much needed “me-time”.  I noticed that while it is the quality of light that draws me to rice paper, for some others it is the quality of texture….tearing rice paper gives its feathery edges and creates softness as you will see in the photos below. We were honoured with the presence of Mary Lou who is just two months old. For myself, this was a very special treat as I was able to smell her beautiful baby smell, to walk with her, to burp her and to change all the while in a room of women creating beauty and absorbed in their art and having one good time.

Apologies to those present as I did not get a photo of all the beautiful artwork or participants. (It looks like I only took pictures of Deb, Darlene and MaryLou – they were the most photogenic!! What can I say?) 

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The hedgehog has the last word!!

The hedgehog has the last word!!

 

My first ever “What a Lark!” party

I received a phone call from Laureen after she visited my post entitled “An Exultation of Larks”. Winter was not loosening its grip on us. It seemed like it would go on forever. During this particular winter, Laureen had broken her leg and been homebound. So the longest winter in memory was even longer for Laureen!

Laureen was certain that she could bring on spring by dreaming up a party that celebrated women’s enduring friendships, the promise of the birds returning and a chance for all of us just to be, to play a little and have some fun. My part in the party was to read from my children’s book, Madame de Toucainville’s Magnificent Hat and to lead the women as they created their own colourful rice paper birds. We would have a lark together!

All of this was a surprise for Laureen’s friends.They knew they would be fed, and they each brought a pair of scissors but they knew not why! Many had never been in the “Lantern” before – at the back of the Early Learning Centre in Regina. Laureen has friends from many walks of life – some were meeting here for the first time. Laureen began with a warm welcome, a short rant about the evils of plastic and packaging (and what she was going to do about it). She had prepared a delicious bag lunch for each woman attending – no plastics were used. Homemade quiche, chocolates, cookies and a beautiful fruit cup. I first met Laureen at a True Knit Art Show. Laureen is a warm, loving, and creative person full of joie de vivre and it was so much fun to be with the women in her world for an afternoon. Below are some pictures of how together, we encouraged spring to come and stay in Saskatchewan. “What a lark!” it was.. Thanks, Laureen!

P.S. For those who attended, I never did share where Poached Egg Woman comes from. Click here to find out!

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My garden is blooming!!

Okay, so it's a PAPER garden!!

Okay, so it’s a PAPER garden!!

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Close up of flowers, Missy in the background dreaming horse dreams of luscious green grass!!

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a bird's eye view of my garden in bloom!

a bird’s eye view of my garden in bloom!

Some birds see the flowers and fly over!

Some birds see the flowers and fly over!

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Deep greens and blues are the colours I choose. (Birds love Gramma Alice’s Nova Scotia plate- me, too)

IMG_0025I have been having lots of fun creating my own paper garden, along with birds of all colours. Every garden needs some birds. Mostly I am using Japanese rice paper, along with some other papers. What I especially love is the way the light shines through this beautiful paper allowing us to enjoy the various textures. I love how it looks when paper is layered and one colour shines through another. Many of these birds also have candy wrapper shiny bits which the camera is not picking up. Hey, these are GLAM birds! (Plus, I think I need to clean my camera lens – see that blotch!!)

What to do with these birds and flowers? Hang them in my window? Create mobiles? Put them on lampshades? I am not sure. For the moment, I feel utterly happy playing with all this colour and fashioning flowers and birds. Spring is beginning to bloom in my heart, even as I enjoy some fantastic cross country skis.