Tag Archives: collage

The Morning After

The morning after Halloween is much anticipated by the squirrels in this hood, but the pumpkins are terrorized. Just a reminder to hang on to all those candy wrappers your kids will be generating. They can be used to make a Candy Wrapper Collage coming up this month.

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Travel Collages

I’m back from quite the adventure. Turkey is truly a visual feast, filled with warm, friendly people and breathtaking views. We’ve poured over our photographs and souvenirs (no mugs), and come to the conclusion that trip collages are a wonderful way for children to remember  special moments such as these.

Embarking on your journey with your collage in mind is the best plan. Have children collect things along the way which they can easily bring back. This can include boarding passes, ticket stubs from entrances to museums or historical sites, receipts from purchases, labels from products used, maps, newspapers and so on. Once home, you can even print up some of your favourite photos to include in your work.

Looking at my daughter’s collage above, you can get a sense of her experience in Turkey. It was extremely hot so she chose to include a weather report from a newspaper; maps showing places we stayed and streets we favoured; ticket stubs recording our visits to memorable sites and museums; colouful images of mosques, graffiti and  the Grand Bazaar  combined with cloudless skies and endless sea. And of course there is the ubiquitous blue amulet which is believed to protect against the evil eye, sold in every possible form imaginable. She has chosen to spare us images of the topless granny on the beach, or photos of the thousands of feral cats that roam the streets in the intense heat. Did I mention it was hot?

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The Unexpected Picasso

Baigneuse et Profil by Pablo Picasso, 1930. Photo:http://picasso-paris.videomuseum.fr

When you consider Picasso’s body of work, three dimensional pieces in sand don’t usually come to mind. So this turned out to be a surprising discovery I made when visiting the Musée National Picasso in Paris a few years ago. Click on the link and select ‘oeuvre en 3 dimensions’ to have a look at the other seven works in this series, and for inspiration to make your own version. Here’s a quote from Picasso which nicely explains why we shouldn’t be surprised by his explorations:

“When you come to think of it, I am probably a painter without style. ‘Style’ is often something that ties the artist down and makes him look at things in one particular way, the same technique, the same formulas, year after year, sometimes for a whole lifetime. You recognize him immediately, for he is always in the same suit, or a suit of the same cut. There are, of course, great painters who have a certain style. However, I always thrash about rather wildly. I am a bit of a tramp. You can see me at this moment, but I have already changed, I am already somewhere else. I can never be tied down, and that is why I have no style,” Picasso wrote. (http://www.abcgallery.com/P/picasso/picassobio.html)

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Things That Caught My Eye

OCAD’s Grad Show was bursting at the seams with work from talented students. It’s just the sort of outing you need to motivate, inspire, or send you down the treacherous path of trying your hand at something new without any formal training. Thought I would share with you a few works that caught my eye:

Kira Shaimanova’s fantastical three dimensional illustrations have a lovely unsettling quality. She makes her dolls out of clay, creates her own sets, then photographs them together. Is it just me, or does the doll below look like Bjork?

Sweet Talk by Kira Shaimanova. Photo:http://www.kirashaimanova.com

Tiffany Eting Wu’s fibre art installation provides an interesting commentary on how crime scenes are represented in the media. Her hundreds of delicate, white flowers were in perfect contrast to the subject matter.

Crime Scene by Tiffany Eting Wu

Flora Shum’s printmaking was stunning, and definitely my favorite. The wall was filled with her delicate prints, which included etchings on handmade flax paper.

Detail of Flora Shum's work

Amanda Muis’s canvas and encaustic on wood was beautiful. From a distance, I was tempted to think pasta. But on closer inspection, it reminded me of a microscopic view of something like mitochondria… traces of high school biology lingering in my brain.

Detail of Tempest by Amanda Muis.

Elisabeth Heidinga’s installation is about how humanity’s over-consumption is impacting negatively on the environment, and how our behaviour patterns are contributing to increased numbers of animals becoming endangered.

Detail of an installation by Elisabeth Heidinga

Abby McGuane created an interesting marbling effect with her collaged black and white inkjet prints. Slightly different sized holes were cut in superimposed copies of the same image, thus creating the marbling effect. Unfortunately, the depth of these spaces doesn’t really come through in the photograph. It really was neat.

Detail from Unseeing by Abby McGuane.

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Everything But The Kitchen Sink Collage

Charlene by Robert Rauschenberg, 1954. Photo from: http://sauer-thompson.com

This type of collage is referred to as assemblage or ‘combine’ and involves combining objects not normally used as art materials, on painted canvas surfaces. If you look carefully at the image above by American artist Robert Rauschenberg, you will notice pieces of cloth, newspapers, and even a flattened umbrella.

Now it’s your turn to look around your environment, and think about what you might like to combine on a canvas. As the title of this post implies, anything goes!

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Victorian Photocollage

The Art of Victorian Photocollage is an amusing exhibition currently on at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In the mid to late 1800’s as photography became increasingly popular, aristocratic women began creating unusual collages by placing photographs of human heads on, among other things, animal bodies. These were then placed in imaginary landscapes which were typically watercolours they had made. This created humorous, and often bizarre results. I had children use images of their favorite musicians to create collages in the same vein as these Victorian photocollages.

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Hiding From March Break?

I’m not going to help you hide, but to cope. Entertaining children during March Break may appear to be a daunting task, but you really can come out of it unscathed. And if you’re not escaping to the sun, you can seek solace in the fact that this will not last forever. As soon as kids hit their teens, they’re quite happy to fend for themselves and would rather you not interfere with their chill time anyway.

First of all, weekends don’t count so you’re really only faced with five days to fill, unless of course your children are in private school, in which case I wish you much luck and plenty of wine. I’m down to one child in need of entertainment, and I can’t stress enough the importance of friends. It’s more fun for your kids, and everything they do lasts a bit longer when they’re together.

Unless you’re going on a big outing like skiing, mornings should be long and lazy; that’s half your day already. Let the kids indulge in some cartoons, or throw them outside to play in the snow. Forget the snowman, challenge them to make a snowwoman which will have them in fits of laughter; give them squirt bottles filled with coloured water for a little Pollock on ice; have them shovel the driveway. There could be incentive in this, if you know what I mean. After all, we are also interested in preserving your sanity. Little stolen moments to read the paper and have a cup of tea are golden.

Lunch. At this point, you better have a plan for the afternoon like a friend coming over. Give them lots of opportunity to fend for themselves. Set them up with an arts and crafts activity, karaoke, a dress up theme like Alice, board games, computer games, a treasure hunt, etc. Maybe you’d like to bake something with them that could end up being their snack, and the beginning of a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. You could play ‘beat the clock’ and have them clean up the kitchen before the timer goes off and the muffins are ready. Before you know it, your kitchen’s clean, the kids are proudly enjoying a snack they made, and evening is around the corner.

I’m a firm believer in not having to go out to the same, overpriced, crowded places, year after year. The wonderful thing about Toronto, and many other North American cities is how multicultural they are, giving you an opportunity to play tourist. You can actually go to neighbourhoods like Little India, Little Italy, Greektown, and Chinatown, and feel momentarily immersed in that culture. The people, colours, sounds, smells, food, street signs all help to transport you. Why not propose a day trip to China with your children and their friends? Walk through your local Chinatown, visit the shops, eat some local food for lunch, and don’t forget to buy a little souvenir. Make sure the kids bring a notepad to record their thoughts or make sketches of things they enjoyed seeing. They can also take photographs, and save any receipts and business cards, so when they come home they can create a wonderful collage of their outing.

If you live in Toronto, I do have a few suggestions. First would be the Textile Museum, where they have special activities for the occasion. Since it’s off the beaten path, it’s calmer than the big museums and a beautiful space to visit.  The Paper Place is having a collage competition and providing materials free of charge. You just have to pick up the package, take it home, and bring back the collage once finished. It’s an inspiring shop to take your kids to. Another plan is to hang out at a bookshop, followed by a hot chocolate. Indigo/Chapters and Mabel’s Fables are really great about letting you hang out for as long as you want. And while I’m hoping to stay far from the madding crowd most of the time, I might brave one visit to the AGO, or the ROM which has a new bat cave to visit. And this time, make the gift shop your friend; it’s good for at least half an hour. Bonne chance!

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