Saturday, 23 July 2011

Collaged Row Houses - Home Tweet Home

Here we are again, another challenge from PDA. A set of five little row houses with a theme of "Home Tweet Home".

I was stumped by this at first, of course it had to be about birds - didn't it? Animals in  general and birds in particular are not something that I would use as a main subject for my collages. I am far more at home with people. I like to be able to tell a story based on their actions or facial expressions. So the theme gave me lots to think about and not a few sleepless nights ( well OK I am exaggerating a little for litterary effect, LOL). I was unsure how to go with this theme until I had the idea of using a window. I would view the birds thru a window and put people in front of the window as if they were carrying on their real life. In fact I turned this idea on its head for one of the pieces for humerous effect, I have a strange sense of humour at times. Here is a shot of the little row houses lined up on my stairs at home.

The stairs forms a great background for this as the carpet is a darg green, but that's another story, as they say.

each little row house was to be within a particular size, no more than 7.5 inches tall and 5.5 inches wide and no less than 5 inches tall and 3.5 inches wide. I made my set a mixture of sizes between these limits. The basic shape of each house was cut out from matt board to give a good rigid basis for the piece. I selected some backing paper/card which I had been sent by a fellow member of PDA with a swap and covered the boards with this with a turn-around at each edge to give a neat appearance. The back of each row house was also layered with a different paper to the front for contrast.

"Buy My Flowers"

I found some creative commons licenced pictures of windows on Flickr, and printed them from my PC, enough for all the row houses. I also downloaded images of birds from the free images available on PDA, and printed them also. The other images are mostly from free collage sheets which I have collected from those offered by Kim Newberg on the PDA site or other sites and blogs by Kim.

"I Did Pay The Rent"

Most of the set had birds layered between the window frames and a backing paper for contrast. However the above piece was different. The birds were "outside" and the person was "inside" the house.

"Yes, I Will Phone"

Most of the titles are chosen to reflect the people in ront of the window frames. As I said I like to tell a story and to this effect, I select elements which are in some way ( often tenuously) connected and then arrange them in a way which I find pleasing and taking note of composition. The geometry of the space I had for placing the images below and around the windows made this a little more difficult than usual for me here.

"Hello Beautiful"

I also used a little stamping here and there to fill in a few little spaces inconspicuously. A pity this image is spoilt by the effect of the flash on the young girl's face, it was a glossy image.

"The Farmer"

You will notice that all of the set have a metal charm at the apex of the roof line which is itself emphasised by various complementary ribbons / papers.

I said I had a few problems with this theme but at the same time as it took me at least a little out of my comfort zone I really enjoyed the challenge. Of course most of my mixed media stuff is around ATC's so the much larger size also gave me a little more scope than usual. Thanks for the challenge Kim!

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A shadow box assemblage

I was given a (for me) very hard challenge by Kim in the PDA Designer's group last month. We had to create an artwork using a collage sheet which depicted lots of small flower images. Not my cup of tea at all. Straightaway, I knew I would be using some of the images as decoration, but not as a main image for my piece.

After lots of deliberation I had some ideas and in a spare moment started a rough sketch of what it might look like, and how it would go together. To be different I was going to use a sardine tin ( used!) to form a shadow box, or at least that is what I think it is. For my regular readers, you may remember the first use of a sardine tin. The top cover, forming a frame around the tin, would be in matt board and I would use collage to complete the artwork. My initial sketch, looked something like:-

I.e. it was to be a wall hanging, with lots of danglies including beads and charms However, the best laid plans "gang aft awry". Also, I had intended that the flower images would be layered to a stiff baking (?) and would be placed on the frame to overlap the edges and break up the lines. I later decided that this would mean the images would be difficult to cut out and leave unsightly edges which would spoil the clean effect I usually search for.

The first step was to cut out the shape of the frame and remove the opening behind which the tin would be placed to form the shadow box. Secondly, I cut out a board to fit inside the tin and which would be collaged to form the interior image. I layered a backing paper to this to this in the usual way, and then added the images of the child, butterfly wings, a clock and one of the flower images. The whole board was then inserted into the tin and a black, woven, fabric edging strip was bonded around the sides to (1) prevent a viewer from seeing the shiny sides of the tin and (2) hold the decorated baseboard in place.

The frame was covered with a craft paper backing and images were added, including two more of the flower images. As an aside, the backing paper had been sent to me as a gift with a trade but I cannot remember the name of the friend who sent it. I file images/papers under several different headings but but often forget where they come from, so need to keep making apologies. Does anybody know how to crossfile source with colour / topic / theme / size / etc. If so I would love to know.

Back to the shadow box...

The two parts were then bonded together, using a strong rubber cement to give an instant adhesion, the piece then looked like this from the back:-

The last step was to paint the whole back with black acrylic, before adding a lable with a title, and other details, from an angle the front then looks like this:-

And I had arranged the bottom of the frame so that piece would be stable when standing up right. In a position on a window sill, I think it looks quite attractive and am very pleased with it.

Just to finish this post, here is a closer view of the finished piece from the front. I have not yet come up with a title for it, this is unusual for me as I do not often find any difficulty because I work to a theme. However I think my only issue with this is that I concentrated too much on using the flower images to the detriment of an overall theme. Any suggestions for a name would be very welcome, thanks in advance. So here is the promised close-up :-