Collage | Runners

A new medium, related to my sculpture, is collage. Cutting out pictures and words goes back to my days as a Girl Scout when I created “A Picture Collection” for the collector’s badge. For years I kept boxes of these clippings from magazines. In recent years, I found a wonderful source for used books, and began amassing vintage children’s books. Then I began chopping them up, keeping the book covers for who knows what. When the price is right, I also buy used contemporary books for kids to expand the range of type fonts, colors, and images. I’ve probably
destroyed/recycled over 1000 books. The word clips from them get filed by into a motley assortment of containers, labeled by category. Categorizing the world is a challenge. I am particularly fond of storybook illustrations from the 1940’s–1960’s. They are very WASPy, with few characters of color. Also I’m drawn to non-fiction books, such as the history of the Civil War or the Alamo, which show how my generation was miseducated. And, because I was immersed in Protestantism, religious books for kids are a goldmine. Then I discovered vintage wallpaper from online sources, and it gave the backdrop for the collages. A mash-up of nostalgia results, but it will be charged with political or ethical meaning. Then I give myself some relief and make collages that are simply pretty, just to see if I can do it.

Words have always figured into my sculpture, whether written on the ceramic piece or carved into it. Additionally, all of my pieces have lengthy background stories. In these mural collages, I’m exploring words as objects. An enlarged word or phrase commands the collage and may or may not be adorned with images. What is curious about this is that all of this comes from children’s, not adult, books….”out of the mouths of babes”. Typically I offer a plethora of words that center on the theme to show the range of a word, how it can be misconstrued when literally taken out of context.

My intention is that these 10 to 20 foot long collages be hung in corridors or in large spaces where people have to pass through and wait. Like hospitals, offices, airports, where boredom can be alleviated. They are not banners to hang on high as they should be read up close and personal. Therefore I’m dubbing them “runners”. The old wallpaper is mounted onto archival paper that comes in rolls, the collage is adhered and covered with a thick matte acrylic gel, and the whole thing then goes through a heavy printing press. I’d like these to hang loosely, unframed, to let the papers flow like the ideas do.

Work In Progress…