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Thread: What I learned about Collage

  1. #1
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    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:
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    Name:  atlas poster.jpg
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    Name:  atlasgritty.jpg
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    You get the idea.

    I also did close ups of his eyes and face:
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    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.

    Watson

    (Gosh, this turned into a book!)

  2. #2
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks so much for taking the time to post this... lots of invaluable information
    Nancy in western NY
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  3. #3
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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!

  4. #4
    Power Poster
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    Your tutorial is well-written and easy to understand and follow.

  5. #5
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    I've always wanted to jump in to doing this. Thank you.

  6. #6
    Super Member QuiltingVagabond's Avatar
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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.
    QuiltingVagabond aka Kathy

  7. #7
    Super Member Teddybear Lady's Avatar
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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.

  8. #8
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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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.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  9. #9
    Super Member copycat's Avatar
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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.

  10. #10
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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.

  11. #11
    Senior Member carol45's Avatar
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    Thanks so much. I'm about to embark on a collage challenge with a group. Your instructions will be a great help. I think Atlas is one of the best dog quilts I've ever seen--his personality comes through loud and clear. I love it (and had saved a copy of your picture just to show my husband how great it is!).

  12. #12
    Senior Member granky's Avatar
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    I too would like to thank you. I've been curious about the method...not sure I'll try it, but I'm a sucker for anything new to learn, so I imagine that I will at some time or other. Thanks to the quilting board (and the wonderful people who make it) I now have a starting point.
    Life happens...and we react...

  13. #13
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    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this information. It is very interesting and very helpful. I've always wanted to try collage. I will bookmark this page for reference.

  14. #14
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    Thank you so much for the information you have imparted to us - it is truly wonderful. You have written it so clearly.

  15. #15
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    Thank you for posting your collage of Atlas and seeing him in pictures, well, you did an amazing job! I just love your quilt.
    I'm not sure I will ever do a collage but you sure did pique my interest and the information you provided make it seem doable.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Judylee2's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for all you information. I have a collage done but not sure how to finish it. You have inspired me.

  17. #17
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    you did a wonderful, wonderful job on that. very realistic indeed.

  18. #18
    KLO
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    This may have turned into a book but it's a great read and very informative. I am so glad I read that you did this tutorial in your original post. Thanks for going to all the work to write it all out. It's inspirational for sure. I personally have started watching Susan Carlson's videos a couple of months ago and she is very clear about what she does. Her crocodile quilt is unbelievable and huge! Still ... I hesitate to get my feet wet with this project until I know I have some time "alone" to work on it. Keep up the good work!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Jennie and Me's Avatar
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    Watson, Thank you so much for this information! Especially the quilting part. The glueing part, I understand, but nobody really tells how to quilt. I tend to be a coward when it comes to trying new things. I tell myself to try 'cause it's only fabric, but still I hesitate. I hope to give it a try, at least, soon. You're lovely "Atlas" and your instructions are a huge help. Again, thank you.

  20. #20
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    This sounds very interesting to try. Some have said beautiful job on it yes the tutorial but did you post a pic of your pup (which by the way is sweet looking) quilt?

  21. #21
    Super Member Watson's Avatar
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    sayjan, here's a picture of the finished quilt.

    Watson

    Name:  done.jpg
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  22. #22
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    Love love love it. You did an amazing job!

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