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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Penick

making custom collage paper

A while back I took a great class (Thumbnail Sketching) with @palimpsestparade and she got me hooked on one of my most favorite, most relaxing, art activities: making elaborately patterned collage fodder from scraps of paper.

Yesterday I gathered scraps of paper from envelopes, magazines, old pads of paper, etc. (see drab-paper photo to see what I started with).

Then I assembled just some of the materials in my small travelling kit (as I am still on my long car-trip across the U.S.).

Next I put on something easy-to-pay-attention-to (a one-season show on Netflix) and just zoned out, painting and mark-making until I used all of the pieces of paper that I'd started with.

It is an activity that is satisfying on so many levels: it's relaxing, it's a gentle creative prompt ... and it gives me new interesting papers to use in my mixed media collages.

Since I'm traveling (and didn't bring too much paper with me) and ALSO making a paper quilt every day as part of the 100 Day Project (which really uses up my paper), this was a great way to pump up my collage paper supply. It's also a great way to allow the things that inspire you to work their way into your collages. I am sometimes inspired by the textures that I see around me (plants, bark, clouds, fabric) and by art that I see that speaks to me. And when you use random scraps to make your "custom papers", you end up being influenced by the papers themselves. Slick magazine paper does not work equally well with all of your art supplies, and the shape of a scrap may suggest the scale of a pattern.

Most of all, it is a fun and relaxing activity. How attached or fussy can you feel about a little scrap of paper!? So you let go and just explore color, texture, line, and shape.

I think that I'll go put that Netflix show back on and make some more.

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