Sharon C.

I like combining paper and fabric, and each time I sit down to create something with paper and/or fabric in a collage-type piece, I feel the pull of my kindergarten days, muttering to myself, “and who doesn’t like working on something you can use paper and glue!”

The first notan pieces I did were pretty “ho hum” to me—probably because I prefer angles, lines, and geometric shapes (see Fig 1 and Fig 2).  I found that cutting in curved lines did not appeal to me.  But I liked the shadow shapes that unfolded on the outer edges.  It provided an interesting contract and balance.  The pieces as a whole did not, however, excite me so I decided to make copies of the designs then cut them up and reassemble them hopefully into something more interesting.  I do that a lot in my art quilts if I think something is boring or bland.  It makes simple pieces look complex.  

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The look “felt” better to me once cut and reassembled (Fig 3), but this morning while sitting at my worktable and surrounded by bits and pieces of paper, I decided I would create a collage (Fig 4).

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I believe in serendipity—which seems a driving force in my work.  I had made copies of my original squares and in the tray of my copy machine was the copy of notes I made for a recent talk so when I started cutting my sheets of notan work, I also snipped some of the words (also like using words in my work). 

It wasn’t until I finished constructing my collage that I felt a sense of satisfaction with this exercise—but that happens frequently when I try something new.  I guess I tend to resist new ways at first, and it’s not until a bit later that I can work things to “my own” aesthetic that I begin to have a sense of “wow, I like this.”

I immediately saw a couple of uses for this kind of work.  The first had to do with images worked in Photoshop Elements.  I do a lot of digital designs (then print them in small batches) so I experimented with merging the collage with a couple of already digitized image until I came up with something interesting (See Fig 5 and Fig 6).  I think the second would be to simply print on fabric and cut apart.  Love how fabric looks cut into small strips.

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