Like all mixed media artists, I have a large collection of materials and tools in my studio. “Collect” contains the Latin prefix “col”, meaning “together.” I like to gather things together and look at them and rearrange them and try them this way and that way. For a long time I collected words, and I gathered them together into stories and books. These days I gather visual imagery: I hold things up next to other things to see what they look like together. If I like how they look, I make the collection permanent, by collaging them - yes, same word origin. The interim meaning of “collage” as an art form comes via French, in which coller means to glue - in other words, to stick together.
|Collage tools of the trade|
Very often, the stencils I am attracted to are ones whose imagery reminds me of something else, something that resonates with me, and I want to use that shape or texture with another bit or scrap of visual imagery and see what the effect is. Sure, StencilGirl® stencils often have descriptive names, but as much as possible I try to separate the word from the image, and just see the shape. What does that shape look like? Have I collected something else with those lines, or that rhythm? I’ll go digging eagerly through my collections or ephemera or rubber stamps or vintage photos in search of something that - if I put it with this stencil - I may now see with fresh eyes. It tells me a new story, or maybe an old story in a new way.
|Pam Carriker Stockinette Large (I used it upside down to look like evergreen boughs)|
|Face Map 3/4 Version 2 Mask|
The inspiration spread in Pam’s book had three tags on the edge of the recto page, but I wanted to put mine in the center of my Dylusions journal, tied into the binding thread, so that they could flip back and forth, and give the spread an interactive element and some mystery and narrative with “the reveal.”
I had more back burner ideas about the Adirondacks Mountains (I live nearby). Like the optometrist, I kept asking, “is it better like this? or this?” “this way, or this way?” swapping out shapes and colors. I kept looking at the trees; I revisited memories of canoeing on dark Adirondack waters shaded by overhanging evergreens. Memory is the most universal collage, and we shift things around both consciously and unconsciously.
Here. It is done. The infamous 1906 murder made famous by Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy, on Big Moose Lake in the Adirondacks. I collected all the pieces and shuffled them around until they fell into place, and then I glued them down: a drowned maiden’s hair. I wasn’t expecting to create something with a tragic story, but collage is a technique that always generates surprises, and that’s why I find it so fascinating.
|Carolyn Dube Hip to Be Square Small Alphabet|
|Face drawn using Pam Carriker 3/4 Face Map Stencil as a guide|
|Eye stencil from May 2017 Stencil Club "Woman of Mystery," by Pam Carriker|
|Background stenciled with Pam Carriker Stockinette Small Pattern and Stockinette Large|
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