Life

Monochrome

 

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I took a 6-week collage class recently. I felt a little silly signing up (was there more to collage than glueing paper cutouts onto other stuff?), but I felt very drawn to it, and it turned out to be a fantastic class. I learned all kinds of cool new techniques, and my teacher and fellow students were very inspiring. We got to raid an enormous pile of salvaged art supplies and the wood shop scrap pile.

My teacher noticed that I was making a lot of work in black, white and grey. This seems to have been true for my more recent sewing projects, too, so I thought I’d share a little color-coded photo essay.

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Paste-paper mobile, now hanging in our living room.

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Shredded knit fabric scraps on a wood background. (Video tutorial on how to shred t-shirts here, by Childhood Flames).

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Python leggings, with swap fabric gifted to me by the lovely Heather B.

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Collaged wood blocks for my nephew.

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The most basic of basics, a white tee for my husbo.

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Collage and paint on wood.

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Medium transfer (teeth), shredded fabric pieces, dot collage, vintage magazine collage. I think my multi-talented sister made the ceramic piece?

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A work in progress.

I noticed that it was really hard to keep the photos themselves monochromatic! The lighting colored the whites yellow or blue, I have some earthy wood backgrounds on a lot of my pieces and furniture, and I apparently like blue accents. As soon as I look at my photos with a white background, it becomes apparent how much tone is behind them.

I know I won’t be creating in monochrome forever, but there is something liberating about it – I’ve been focusing more on texture and composition – even as I’m looking forward to the colors of spring.

 

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44 thoughts on “Monochrome

  1. There’s such a variety in the work here. When you reduce your palette, the textures stand out even more. I just want to touch some of the shredded knit/wool pieces! Gorgeous.

    • I agree – I’ve always been more interested in graphics, so it’s been a nice to explore texture a bit more. The shredded knit pieces are made from regular old jersey scraps, so it’s a pretty accessible material!

    • I hadn’t really explored working on wood much, but having access to that scrap pile was awesome. It was nice to work with a substrate that doesn’t warp!

  2. I love collaging and scrapbooking. It’s almost essential for every project, but the funny thing is, I’ve never posted about it. For me, the progress of a project is not linear, more chaotic. There’s a lot of back and forth, mistakes, research, etc, and my sketchbook/notebook is a place to keep it all so that it doesn’t seem too uncontrolled.

    • Interesting you say that – my teacher suggested that we have at least a few projects going at a time so that we don’t over-focus on one. Most classes began with at least one of us asking the rest of the group whether or not their piece felt complete. If you feel comfortable sharing, I’d love to see some snippets of your collaging.

  3. That sounds like such a fun class! The idea of having a pile full of materials to rummage through is so appealing – especially when someone else tides them up instead of them sitting on the kitchen table for days!

    • Yes! It was really nice to rummage in the class but not bring it home. In fact, I brought a couple of huge bags of fabric scraps to add to the pile!

    • It was a super cool class! I’m not sure if you’ve tried the paste paper technique (what I used for the mobile), but it’s done by mixing acrylic paints into a cornstarch/water paste and texturizing it – really easy and fun.

  4. It seems that the class was well worth it. All of your projects look so nice, and I especially love them all together on that table top. They play off each other really well.

  5. Oh I love these, the mix of textures from shredded fabric on wood is very cool. I particularly like the mobile, and the blocks for your nephew… and I haven’t been commenting but I was in awe of your gift to yourself of time off work to be creative, what an amazing thing to be able to do, it was wonderful to read about it and the effect its had 😊

  6. Sounds like such a great class & I love what you created. My baby would love those wood blocks you made for your nephew – all those geometric shapes & black& white. I love the shredded knit fabric pieces – textural work is just so appealing, I immediately wanted to touch these pieces when I first saw them!

    • I had no idea that babies respond to black and white until my collage teacher told me! The blocks were really simple to make and quite fun – the imagery is mostly from old magazines, and the glues (Yes paste to adhere the paper to wood and a matte medium coating) are supposed to be non-toxic.

  7. Wow this was fascinating. Looks like a great course, even if you did feel a bit silly. Really interesting to see your textile love side of things merge with the collage here.

    • It was amazing, and the silly feeling went away as soon as I set foot in the classroom. I really enjoyed working with fabric as collage fodder. It also got me more interested in exploring some embroidery techniques, too!

  8. These are gorgeous! I’m so happy you’ve been pursuing this. Also, the second to last paragraph reminded me of a realization I had while I was a painting undergrad – there is SO much color in white!!

    • Yes, so true! Come to think of it, I learned something similar in photography class – the only true white in an image is an area with no information.

  9. The mix of wood and fabric has me very intrigued. Mr. Stitch generates a lot of wood off cuts and now you have me thinking that perhaps I need to take a closer look at them. Those are some pretty nice art pieces you made, Ms. Morgan!

    • Lucky you! If you end up glueing fabric or paper, I highly recommend Yes paste. It’s spendy for glue, but amazing. You can use an old gift card or credit card to scrape on a really thin layer to the wood.

  10. Gorgeous! It’s really fun watching your aesthetic unfold through the photo series. It seems that your time away from paid employment has been really fruitful. I do hope that whatever direction you go next, you find ways to continue to nurture this and to grow!

  11. Wow these are some great pieces. And they all go together so well. I used to love doing collages back in high school but this really takes it to the next level with the mixed media. I hope you show us some more pieces in the future!

    • I think you’re right – they should stick together! Right now they’re on top of our fireplace but I think it would be fun to play around with hanging them.

  12. What a beautiful photo essay. Your course sounds inspiring and your wooden blocks are just memorising They really will make the perfect baby present. Oh and you know I love those leggings.

  13. The mobile is fab and I am loving all the pattern, texture and movement in these pieces. A lovely visual feast for your readers – thank you!

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