One of my spring rituals is taking a collage class at IS183 with Karen Arp-Sandel. In addition to what I spend on the class, plus what I spend at Dick Blick when I get all excited and go buy more supplies, I usually end up with one nice, $400 collage for my mom for Mother’s Day. But she tells me she likes them. Hi, Mom!

Last week was my first week at the class. I came home all jazzed and immediately started digging through all the estate sale ephemera hoarded in the basement for its and bits with which to craft my Works of Art.

Over the past several days, I knocked out four ATC’s — Artist Trading Cards, 2″ x 3″ mini-collages… a fifth even smaller piece (above)… and a little something gift-card (not shown) that I sent to Annie B. along with a little something vintage that I found for her in my estate sale travels.

Making these little works of art is very gratifying. It really is *therapy.* And, it is a good way for me to focus my Vintage Hoarding. I was paying attention as I made these and noted my design principles:

  • (1) I try to only use an odd number of items (not including the card substrate). Of course, I now am counting and see how I am violating this rule. This alarms me. Must be Odd Number…
  • (2) I tend to narrow my choice of colors on any individual piece, — too many colors can be a cacophony unless done with a very practiced hand…
  • (3) I try to use only one ‘like’ item — for example, one word(s), one photo, one piece of vintage wallpaper, one vintage sticker, one piece of something dimensional…
  • (4) I also only use one piece from any given piece of ephemera — no repeating…
  • (5) I try to include something dimensional — that is, which sticks out. For those of you doing your kid’s school projects, take note — this really helps you get an A.
  • (6) I do not like my collages to be too literal. But, that is a personal choice, there is no *right* or *wrong*.

Haha, no “real” story here on the blog today, because I’ve dialed up the busy-ness of my life yet another serious notch by taking this class. However, in reality, this is a “real” story, because I find that practicing this kind of artwork — which involves carefully choosing and editing colors, shapes, graphics, textures, finishes, dimensions… is pretty darn similar to what we do when we decorate. I do believe there is such as thing as innate artistic talent, or decorating talent. But for most of us, that’s likely the smallest part of it. Practice. It’s all about Practice that you get really good at something. 10% inspiration. 90% perspiration.

  1. Just another Pam says:

    Urban archaeologist, retro sleuth, decorator, writer and artist too. You, madam, are a Renaissance woman! Mazette!

  2. tammyCA says:

    I have always loved collage art. Years ago when I was in college there was an exhibit in the gallery of local collage artists’ work and spoke to me in such a big way…one of them I wanted so much but didn’t have the $400. Here I am 20 yrs later still accumulating bits & bobs of vintage ephemera and still haven’t gotten around to making collages. Well, I did manage to make one as a wedding gift for a couple.

  3. midmodms says:

    These are really nice! You have a good eye. Many years ago now I stopped buying Christmas presents and started collaging cards instead. People love them, and I have several friends and relatives who have collected them all. I find old National Geographic magazines from the thrift store to be an excellent source of photos to cut up. Old decorating magazines, too. Wallpaper, origami paper, gift wrapping, my own photos, etc…

    I don’t have any rules really, just whatever speaks to me. It’s great fun.

  4. Elaine says:

    I love the collage art. In the past I have painted, embroidered, quilted, beaded… I love how I feel when I am working on beautiful things, and I have been looking for a new project. This is looking very promising. I wonder where I could find such a class, must look around when I get back home next week.

  5. Ooh, that’s positively inspirational! I am a hoarder of vintage ephemera and odd bits, and it would be great to do something with them instead of just having them hidden in a box.

    Pam – what do you use to attach the pieces to the backing?

    I might just try my hand at this this weekend – thanks for the kick in the Retro pants 🙂

    Mod Betty

    1. pam kueber says:

      Betty, I use ATC paper purchased from an art supply store. They come in little packages. Just stiff paper, really. In some cities, artists really do get together and trade these. They are never sold… I think the idea is that they are art for art’s sake only.

  6. Brian says:

    Thanks for sharing these! They’re an inspiration. They are pretty to look at, as “decoration,” but they’re also fascinating to ponder more deeply, as “art.” I like your sense of balance and your use of color, but mostly I’m impressed by the way the pieces have a satisfying coherence even though there’s not a clear statement or meaning that’s being hammered home. It’s a little like looking at postcards written to someone you don’t know in a language you don’t read. You’re really achieving something great. Thanks for the unexpected enrichment — I don’t hunt down collage blogs, so if it weren’t for you, who knows how long it would have been before I was reawakened to how wonderful collage can be.

  7. Annie B. says:

    Wooohoooo! Yippeeee! Yeeehaw! Faaaar Out! Yez Yez Yez! These are fantastic. Pam, you just get better and better (that practice thing?). I think it’s because you’re honing that already keen eye of yours. The learned techniques plus your natural creativity are really producing some gems……..and I’m gonna get one! Hot zig!

    AAAHHHH!! Thank you for sharing your art with me. I am terrifcally flattered and tickled Mamie pink. (And, something else vintage?? My, gosh, you have made my day, week, month……!) Thank you, Lady!
    Thank you for everything!

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