Saturday, January 10, 2015

Pieced Paper Botanical Collage


I had a dress-rehearsal today for a pieced paper collage technique that I would like to explore further.  I'm not entirely satisfied with the results, but I think that if I try it again with a more original design, the final result will feel less "forced."
I used a tutorial by Susan Black, published in Cloth Paper Scissors back in July/August 2013.  The first step is to brew black coffee to use as a stain for my watercolor paper.  I used a packet of instant coffee that I've had in my craft stash for years for just this purpose.
I used a 2-inch foam brush to lightly apply a wash of the coffee to my 9x12 sheet of cold-press watercolor paper. 
Then I dabbed more coffee onto the paper, and the initial light wash "contained" the pools of coffee within their perimeter (except for a couple renegade dribbles that ran off the side of two of the four papers I stained).
I tilted and turned the paper to let the coffee run around the page, and then used my embossing tool to further spread it around the page.  It looks like a very light wash of neutral color until it dries, and then you can see the varied layers quite well.  There is no way to tell how a given background will turn out, which is part of the fun of creating them.  Here are the four different backgrounds I created:
For the next step, I drew a pencil sketch onto tracing paper, using basically the same design that Susan Black uses in her article.  She advises us to place the tracing paper over top of the coffee-stained background as we draw, which helps with the composition and design.  Next, I held the watercolor paper up to the window with the tracing paper underneath, and copied the design onto the watercolor paper.  In retrospect, I would trace it quite lightly, because the pencil lines are not part of the finished product.
Finally, I painted the stem, and then chose papers from my stash to piece over the drawing to create the collage.  I used my tracing paper drawing again, holding it up to the sunny window under the scrapbook papers I selected.  I drew the shape in pencil, and then cut it out and fit it into its place in the collage.
I used a glue stick to adhere the papers.
I used watercolor paint for the stems--vidrian hue toned down with burnt umber.  Then I used a black pen to add outlines, dots, leaf veins, and accents to the stems.  I used two colored markers, including one with a bit of a metallic quality, to write the word "wonder" in the corner of the collage.
I like it, yes, but I copied Susan Black's design almost directly, and I would like to do a more original piece next time.  I feel as though the piece looks "forced" when it so closely mimics her work.  I enjoyed the process, though, and look forward to trying it again, when I can make the final result more "my own."

9 comments:

Jewels said...

This is cool Andria - always good to try new techniques - based on what you learned I am sure you will "make it your own" next time. I am into the second week of the Document Your Life project and pushing myself to do some different things as well.....

iHanna said...

It's beautiful! I don't think it looks forced at all, but then I haven't seen her original and can only judge this as is. I like it, well done Andria!

PamelaArtsinSF said...

I like it too -- looks great. And I really like that coffee wash....

Sue Hare said...

Very nice. I like the paper piecing. I have seen that in magazines but never tried it. On my to-do-list. One technique I tried recently which you might want to try is called the Bokeh technique (found in photography but can be translated to cards, etc.) A thought!

Megan P. said...

This is really cool! The coffee wash was unexpected, but it makes a lot of sense and I'm really drawn to the color. I hope to try this out sometime soon!

lee said...

It's wonderful thanks for sharing

Anne said...

Yet another of your "experiments" that I want to try! I really like this.

Caatje said...

It looks beautiful and indeed not forced at all, but I get that it might feel that way to you, simply because it wasn't your own design. Then again, how else are we supposed to learn something new?
I think often our opinion of our work is not so much about the work itself, but about how we felt when we made it. I do love how it looks though. Can't wait to see your own interpretation of this idea.

Parabolic Muse said...

I love stealing from others' ideas. It gives me confidence and new ideas. And it also pays them back for stealing others' ideas.

It's the circle of life!