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What I learned about Collage

What I learned about Collage

Old 07-20-2018, 09:48 AM
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Default What I learned about Collage

A number of people have mentioned that they would like to try collage but don't know where to start.
My suggestion is to read Susan Carlson's FB as she often has tutorials on there and then just go for it.

I myself didn't have a light box for tracing my image, so I used my patio door and just taped everything up there on a sunny day and traced it that way.

If you are going to use light fabrics, use a light pencil to trace your image onto the cloth, as I found out the hard way that the pencil will show through.

Remember that you don't have to start with a portrait. You can do something fanciful first to get your feet wet.

For Atlas' portrait I used a free programme called Ribbit to print my picture in a few different ways to show the shading and colours....posterize, pixilate, reverse image and others and this was helpful when I was trying to figure out where to put everything, value-wise.
Here's a few examples:
[ATTACH=CONFIG]598142[/ATTACH] This is the original.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]598143[/ATTACH]This is posterized
[ATTACH=CONFIG]598144[/ATTACH] This is extra contrast
You get the idea.

I also did close ups of his eyes and face:

Also, before I enlarged the picture I was using, I used Ribbit to make it really sharp and then took it to Staples and had it enlarged both in colour and in B&W. I used the B&W for my tracing.

I traced the outline and the major landmarks. Try not to get too detailed at this point. I did this and I found it gets too confusing, later.

I put my muslin up on my design wall and did the whole thing there rather than do it on a table. It stayed up on the wall through the whole thing and never threatened to fall down. For me, this was a lot easier than leaning over a table.

I began with his eyes because I figured if they didn't work out, there wasn't much point.
Then, I went onto the major landmarks, like the muzzle and cheeks and worked out from there.

I used Eileen's Tacky Glue, Original Formula. You can get it at JAF.

(If I did another for a gift I would use Steam a Seam Lite 2 as I like the look better, but it sure is a lot more work and Susan Carlson is very successful with the glue method.)

Seriously, just start cutting small, irregular shapes and putting them down where you think they belong, once your features are in. You can always put something over them, if you decide you've missed a highlight or what have you.

Have lots of fabrics available in the colours you think you'll need and in some surprising colours, for interest. Really look at your photo and you might be shocked at what colours you see in there.

S. Carlson has a video called Colour is Irrelevant which is a must-see.

Remember that light colours come forward and dark colours recede.

Once your collage is done, remember to glue down all the edges. I did this then I ran a sticky lint brush lightly over the whole thing to see where I had missed. And, I had missed more than I thought.

At this point, cut out your collage and choose a background. I took the whole thing to stores and tried it on about 25 different fabrics. (They loved me.)

From this point on is where I found the books and videos kind of vague about how to actually quilt it.

I made my background quite a bit bigger than I thought I wanted it to end up because I wasn't sure.
I also bought tulle, because it was suggested that you use that. I put the tulle over it, but didn't care for the look, so didn't use it. If you are worried about loose edges when you quilt, or if you think people are going to handle it a lot, you would be more likely to use the tulle, I'm told by the experts.

I glued the piece to the background using dabs of glue that I smeared all over, especially around the edges. I let it dry for a day.

Decide how big you want it, then go away and come back later and decide if that is really the size you want it. I did this about 3 times before I cut it.

I used an 80/12 Titanium needle and Smoke invisible thread with DecoBob bobbin thread to quilt it with no problem. I did a small test piece first to check tension.

I sandwiched it using 80/20 and I spray basted it.

Quilting it, I began in the middle and did a loose meander, following the contour lines of his face, then did his forehead and around his ears and head. Vertical lines in the background. I couldn't find a lot of info on the actual quilting of collages, mostly just a meander to catch in all the edges of the pieces.

I did a faced binding.

On FB there is a group called Collage Quilting which is invaluable if you have questions.

Hope this was helpful.


(Gosh, this turned into a book!)
Attached Thumbnails img_20170303_074235_096.jpg   atlas-poster.jpg   atlasgritty.jpg   atlasface.jpg   atlaseyes.jpg  

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Old 07-20-2018, 10:02 AM
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thanks so much for taking the time to post this... lots of invaluable information
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:06 AM
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Thank you for the information. It's great to see the step by step instructions and all the resources. Your project was quite a learning process and you should be very proud of your accomplishment!
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:08 AM
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Your tutorial is well-written and easy to understand and follow.
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Old 07-20-2018, 10:21 AM
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I've always wanted to jump in to doing this. Thank you.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:45 PM
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Thanks for the info, I have never done collage but am signed up for a class with Laura Heine at the AQS show in Grand Rapids.
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Old 07-20-2018, 09:27 PM
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Your explanation and pictures are a big help. I think you did a fantastic job on yours. Thank you for taking the time to write out each step that you used.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:24 AM
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Watson, thank you so much for taking the time to explain your collage process...and information about Susan Carlson. I have truly been wanting to try a collage project and your work has been inspirational.
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Old 07-21-2018, 02:36 AM
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It is always great advice when you have been there and done that...so thank you for the specifics of what you have learned.
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Old 07-21-2018, 03:22 AM
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Thank you for your tutorial. It is very helpful. I did one of an owl for my granddaughter's tenth birthday last year-but I just 'winged it'. I especially appreciate your comments about the software you used to give definition for your images of the dog model. I am anxious to try another one. Our quilt show, next month, will feature a group of collage pictures done by guild members using patterns from Susan Carlsen. Atlas is gorgeous.
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