Skip to main content

Collage: Remnants of Consumption

Lesson 6 from: Experiment with Abstract Collage Art

Amy Wynne

Collage: Remnants of Consumption

Lesson 6 from: Experiment with Abstract Collage Art

Amy Wynne

buy this class

$00

$00
Sale Ends Soon!

starting under

$13/month*

Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

6. Collage: Remnants of Consumption

The process of creating and removing is all very important to producing the best collage abstract art. Uncover the potential in randomness and how nothing is very truly wasted.

Lesson Info

Collage: Remnants of Consumption

So I was teaching a collage class a couple of years ago and I had this idea because we were, you know, working with regular papers, hand painted papers, I had this idea to diversify the papers that we were putting down. I gave the class the assignment and you might want to try this, that for an entire week. They didn't throw away any rappers, any um like boxes or anything that their food came in that they might have normally recycled or thrown away. And I said I'd like you to keep it all in a bag, like keep it all in a bag and then bring it to class and they did it and they kept their jolly rancher rappers and they kept their um T bar boxes and they kept their, you know, the little containers for their tea bags and they came to class the following week and I had them spread out on the floor and each of them just like laid out all their trash on the floor. And I said, all right, this is what you're gonna use for your next collage, all of these remnants of your consumption and we all hav...

e remnants of consumption, right? I mean, it's actually kind of a problem in terms of just, you know, the amount maybe perhaps that the earth consumes. But I thought why not twist that and make something beautiful out of it. So, it got me thinking actually of my own practice and I thought, well that would be kind of neat to try. So I took a sketchbook and I was actually in Italy and I took all of the packaging, like stickers and packaging off of all the food that I was eating and I didn't really think about making art. In fact it's probably good not to even just think like I'm making art, I just really thought about collecting um towards making and I took these stickers and I just stuck them in the book, I didn't do anything on top of them yet, I just stuck them in there every day, I'd collect something and just stick it in the book and then I came back home and the book sat around studio for a while and then I said, you know what, what if I took these stickers that I stuck in the book and did a month long practice where I actually took a remnant of something I consumed here back in the States every day for a month, glued that on top of the italian remnant and then did a little drawing painting on top of it. So for an entire month I filled this sketchbook which was occupied with these italian remnants. I put an american remnant on top and then I drew and painted on top of that and it really became such a fun playground using shapes and colors that I would never have thought to use before. So that was exciting and I filled this whole book and I really love the fact that it's just kinda like chunky and full of all of these wonderful collages and then I started to think you know, what are some other things that just happened to arrive. So I started to collect envelopes. So we all get mail and you may have noticed or maybe you didn't notice that. Like the inside of business envelopes are actually really cool. Like they're there are blue ones, there are gray ones, look at this, that's almost like a snakeskin pattern, There are ones that look like confetti, there are ones that, let's check this one out that are like a little more geometric and have windows. So I started to get like a little bit obsessed with just envelopes. And I have a huge collection of envelopes now and they all have different interiors. So this was collecting the remnants of like things that we open that we normally would recycle or throw away and I thought how could I use that as collage material? So I started to take the envelopes apart, like peel them apart kind of carefully and at first I started to glue them together and play with the patterns, play with the stamps, play with the interaction of shapes and then I started to run them through my sewing machine. Um I started to sew lines onto them and bring them together which is a little more experimental but sewing can actually be connected to drawing because you're making lines with string and I started to paint on top of these collages. I started to work with different colored threads. And I actually also started to be quite interested in how the backs looked as well. So this possibility of working with again remnants, things you have around the house, remnants of consumption is really an exciting possibility. Then I started to play with like little scraps of cardboard and started to work with sewing them together as well. Um and I I like that look. But I felt like I wanted something almost more sculptural, something a little bit hardier. So my next little obsession and I do think that creativity and inspiration can sometimes uh involve like needing to kind of latch onto an idea and play it out. So what I started to do is, you know, we flattened boxes for recycling. We flattened boxes all the time. And with so many boxes arriving in the mail, I thought, well, what is the shape of a flattened box? So I'm just gonna flatten this out. This is I started to get like, so curiosity also for me, really important, I started to think like, wait a minute, like what is the shape of this box when it's flattened out. So I started to take my tea boxes when they were empty and boxes that would arrive from other shipments and start to flatten them because each one is a different shape and each one I just, I don't know, I just thought it was really interesting and beautiful that it was like a surprise each time that the flattened box was um a possible shape that I could work with. So you guessed it? I started collecting flattened boxes, I have a huge box of them, but I've chosen some recent shapes that I've collected, that I flattened out, that I thought might be kind of fun to put together as a collage. Now notice I'm not really using the colored side, I'm actually gonna make some space here. I'm actually quite interested in um the variations of the colors of the cardboard. And I'm also interested in like these circles in this case how these circles might interact together. And I started to work in this way, but I realized that my regular glue stick and my regular Elmer's glue is just not gonna cut it because these boxes are bendy and they're harder and and they're a little tougher to glue down. So I got a hot glue gun and I'm gonna show you how I start a collage based on remnants of consumption having to do with these flattened boxes that I've been working with. So again, it's just another possibility if you like this idea to collect things from home and use them everyday things as material. So this is a little mini hot glue gun. Um it has a little glue stick in it and I've plugged it in to warm it up, you want to be careful because it is hot if you decide if you have a hot glue gun, great, know how to use it if you don't have a hot glue gun and you're curious about it. Um You want to avoid touching the tip of it because it's very hot and you get burned. But the beauty of it is that rather than gluing something down with like a liquid glue and you have to sit there and hold it and you know, these sorts of things would invariably curl up on you. The beauty of a hot glue gun is like it's one and done, you put it down, you lay it and it just sticks so I want to show you that. So, one thing I think about is like, all right, I've got these two shapes. There's a shape. Now there's a conversation between the shapes. Alright, well what do I want that conversation to be like, do I want it to lay over a white section? Do I want it to lay over another circle? Do I want it to lay on the side? I kind of like how this is lining up with that and that these edges are spilling off the edge here. It's just I'm I'm feeling it, I'm feeling that that might be the position so I'm gonna go ahead and I'm gonna just squeeze the glue gun and lay some hot glue on the back of this piece, huckle can be a little stringy, then I'm gonna put the glue gun on the side and it, it takes a couple of minutes to set up, so you have a moment to really to work with it and then I'm going to go ahead and just press this down, you can kind of feel the warmth coming through the cardboard, just give it a moment to set and then you can see kind of how quickly it attaches itself. So that's one shape that I'm interested in. I also really love this, it looks like eyes like glass is. So let's try to see where that might end up. I'm thinking I got a lot of circles going on down here, maybe if it comes up a little a little higher up into this area. Also like do we let things overlap off to the side, kind of like where that's going. So I'm once again going to just put a little glue on here, you don't need a ton. I love the hot glue gun, I'm just gonna let that just set right in there. Yeah. And then ultimately you want to do one more shape. I like this gray cardboard against the warmth of the brown cardboard, so let's just do and oh, I have a choice white or gray, gray would create a little more variety. White, we've already got a white shape. So again, you're sort of asking yourself, you know what might create variety, what might look good in conjunction because, you know, collage like a lot of, you know, visual making is all about relationships, it's all about what might look good in conjunction with something else. I'm thinking this one wants to go here, so it's a little bit of a felt sense of where things might go again, you can arrange things in advance, I'm doing it a little more free form right now a little bit more playfully, but this possibility of working with remnants, you know, I have a few more here, you can keep adding them. Sometimes I'll put something underneath to show through if there's circular shapes, but this possibility of working with remnants of consumption things that you might not normally think to investigate, you know, open a box, flatten it out, what's the shape, What's the color? Maybe take a look inside your bills. You know, once you get over the shock of what's in there, like take a look at the envelope, like, wow, that is a bonus. Maybe I could use that for something if you are into sewing or into drawing, you can make collages that have that come together with glue, but you can also make collages that come together with sewing of things that you collect. And maybe over time you might consider, you know, creating a book, creating a situation that has uh layers of remnants of things over time, it really almost becomes like a diary of your life and when you're using things from your life from everyday life, I actually think that it starts to bring a little bit more of a sense of human connection and meaning to the work. So you might just want to try it like on a certain week, like just collect things and lay them out and play a little bit with how they might come together as a collage. I think you'll find it to be a very playful process and also you'll be able to tap into pretty much a never ending um supply of materials for your collage work. So give it a try and explore how consumption can be an inspiration.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Collage Materials
Collage Papers
Collage Value Map - Inverse
Cubomania

Ratings and Reviews

Susan Gold
 

Fantastic class! I am a beginner when it comes to abstract collage, and Amy demonstrates a generous number of techniques—all accessible and with clear instructions. She shows how each step can yield exciting variations, and she inspires play. Many of the techniques utilize a photo as a “muse” or “mother image," and it’s fun to discover new possibilities for my photos.

a Creativelive Student
 

Antsy G
 

Student Work

RELATED ARTICLES

RELATED ARTICLES