Mid century modest houses “Off the Grid” — New collages from Mel Kolstad

collage by mel kolstadThis morning I wrote about my vintage Brother Charger 651 sewing machine and how I would use it to sew onto my collages. Well, golly, here to show us just what that can look like:  the latest works from our good friend and former Retro Renovation Collage Artist Laureate Mel Kolstad (see her 13 collages of reader houses!).  This new is called “Living Off the Grid” — for reference, these are each six inches square. Can you see the stitching — gives another multimedia dimension. Mel writes:
Hey Pam!
OMG, busy lady – how are you?  I have to tell you – I nearly PLOTZED when I saw the post about Jubilee wax!  Not only is the bottle AWESOME, but did you know that it makes a fantastic sealer for collages at a fraction of the cost of mat medium?  SCORE!  😀
Living on the Grid - greenSpeaking of collages, I just made three that your readers may find fun.  I got a sewing machine for Christmas and have been merrily sewing paper ever since (I plan on sewing actual fabric too, at some point).  I just love these mid-mod house designs – HEAVEN.
collage my mel kolstadAnyhoo, I hope all is well with you – and congrats to you for continually hitting it out of the park.  🙂

Well, golly, thanky, and YOU, TOO, for out-of-the-park-hitting, Mel, darling! You continue to be my #1 vintage collage inspiration. I love this new series.Hey, readers: One of the reasons I like to make tiny collages, is that … I can finish them.

And now, I know that I can save money by using Jubilee kitchen wax as a top coat! Vintage on vintage!
See all of Mel’s work here: MelKolstad.com and specifically her collages for sale here.

      1. tammyCA says:

        Cool! She was very passionate about collage. Mostly she was known as the ‘Poor Little Rich Girl’ in the ’30s and then dating/marrying some famous men in the ’40s/’50s, then the clothes designer (and, Anderson Cooper’s mother), but she always loved to create art.
        She was childhood friends with Carol Matthau (wife of Walter) who wrote an autobio later on that I have always loved to re-read (she was a very good writer) called, “Among the Porcupines”…Gloria’s artwork is on that book cover.

  1. Annie B. says:

    Hello, Mel! You’ve once again proved yourself as the font of fabulous collage inspiration. You never cease to amaze, especially with these new mini masterpieces.

    I am so interested in how you created them: what kinds of paper did you use; did you stitch the components of the houses onto the paper or use glue (gwoo); are the houses paper or stitchery? I hope I’m not asking you to reveal “trade secrets”, it’s just that I’m fascinated by your work and all the creative possibilities of sewn collages.

    Finally, I will always treasure and adore your “House I’m In” collage bestowed upon me by you, Pam, and the Retro Random Number Gods a couple years ago. RR Readers, check out Mel’s tiny miracles at Pam’s link above. Mel is Swell!

    1. Annie B. says:

      Mel and Pam,

      The “Love the House You’re In” collage collection would make a fantastic RR calendar: a different house each month.

    2. Mel Kolstad says:

      Oh my gosh! HI Annie! So nice to see you here! 😀 You are NOT asking me to give up trade secrets – I’m happy to tell you! 😀

      I began with some vintage grid paper. I found these TEENY homes in various vintage ads and brochures, and glued them to the grid paper. I then sewed random lines on the collage (with my BROTHER sewing machine!) and lastly, added some vintage graphic tape around the borders. These collages are all on hardboard with gallery edges, so I painted the edges the same color as the grid paper. 🙂

      I’m SO glad you like your “Love your House” collage, Annie!! It was my pleasure! 🙂

      P.S. Excellent idea for the calendar! 🙂

      1. Annie B. says:

        Mel, you ARE a peach! Thank you so much for sharing your techniques and ideas. I once used a needle and twine in a collage just to see what the effect would be. Using an actual sewing machine has limitless possibilities.

        The info about Jubilee Wax is invaluable: a mult-taksing collage fixer – perfect.

        Thanks again, Mel. You’re truly a class act with talent to spare.

  2. Carole says:

    As a collage artist myself, I find these extremely clever. Gives me an idea for documenting the homes that my hubby and I have lived in. 🙂

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