Let’s try collage. Collage is a technique of art where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. All sorts of things can be used to glue to paper, canvas, wood, metal, plastic, or fiber, separately or in combination. Some call collage a novelty. It was for me when I first started. I think by now it has evolved into art.

Here is a partial list of some materials that can be used:

Magazines; newspapers; construction paper; photographs; packaging; foil; corrugated packing material and other found objects. I’ve had this hobby for 40 years and am always looking for new material. I save it all. As you survey your materials, you’ll start to have ideas of matches and scenes to glue down.

You can tear the materials, or cut them with scissors or knife. To get started, you ought to accumulate a good sized pile of potential subject matter. Our object is to create a new reality by reassembling your choices into a pleasing image. It takes a while to catch on to the kind of images you like and want to work with. Save everything, because somewhere along the line, you may want to use them.

Start by assembling the necessary materials: scissors; mounting board; ruler; framer; glue; scrap paper; small wet cloth; your accumulated “sludge pile.” Determine the size or the area you want to fill. Will it be vertical or horizontal?  You already have a purpose…to create. Besides yourself, you might consider who else you’d show your finished work. Perhaps someone you know is ill or in a hospital. Your collage might just cheer them up. What you start out doing for fun may evolve into a serious hobby.

It is wise to have 4-6 inches of border surrounding the working surface. The reason for this is to fit a mat over the piece in case you want to frame it.

I started with glue sticks and Elmer’s white glue and soon learned that both have drawbacks. Elmer’s is water – based. It will bubble under the object and mounting board. When Elmer’s is old, it dries and the object will not adhere. Glue sticks also dry over time. I recommend Memory Mount by Crafters Pick. This is the stickiest glue I’ve ever used, is water-soluble, acid- free, and forms a permanent bond. If you spread it with your finger, you have to wipe it with a damp cloth. I like to use an old plastic credit card to smooth glue evenly across the back of the piece.

It is wise to check out collages that are in museum collections. Picasso was one of the first to experiment with collage. I found an artist on the internet that uses newsprint to create the portraits of famous people. He spends week’s painstakingly tearing newsprint to create facial expressions. Each serious collage artist develops her/his own skill set and techniques, and subject matter.  Wikipedia has a list of collage artists. Picasso was one of the first to experiment with collage. Some of which are listed here. Go online and survey their work:

 Nick Bantock; Peter Blake; Georges Braque; Arthur G Dove; Marcel Duchamp; Max Ernst; George Grosz; David Hockney; Lee Krasner; Henri Matisse; Robert Motherwell; Louise Nevelson;  Robert Rauchenberg; Larry Rivers; Kurt Schwitters

 Layout your chosen pieces and do not glue yet. Here are some of the things you will be doing to actively set up the work:

 rearrange, add, subtract, try overlapping, design, composition, color, texture. Sit with it; play with it; arrange the pieces in the size frame you want. After  you are satisfied, it’s glue time!

Decide which piece goes down first. You have to plan the entire process or you may get stuck in the corner. Put the piece on scrap paper as a place for excess glue so you will able to discard this when you lay the piece down. Place the piece and smooth it down with fingers, then use a brayer and with good pressure roll the piece flat with no wrinkles. Use a damp cloth to wipe off excess glue that may seep out. Make sure the glue extends to the edges of all your pieces. Many times, an edge doesn’t have enough glue and pops up. Work slowly. You may have a new idea in the middle of your work. It’s too late for that! Stick with your plan, the next collage you make will be better. Yes, you will make mistakes. Stick with it. Remember you are not famous yet.

Find a place for a studio space where you can leave your supplies out. Having your own private place to work really makes a difference. You will want to return often to experience the ZONE that occurs when you are immersed in creativity.

There are many subjects for you to think about. Here are a few examples:

Abstract; textures; grave stone rubbings – torn or cut; fashion; construction paper forms; family; comedy; technology; health issue; travel; ephemera; political; sarcasm; famous people; your favorite cause; religion; mixed media with paint etc; holiday; security envelopes; ticket stubs; cigarette packs;


A three – class studio course to be held at the:

Gallery North Community Art Center

January 25; February 1; February 8 2017

90 North Country Road

Setauket, N.Y. 11733




Tom Stock, instructor