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.
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).
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.