Saturday, April 7, 2007

Collage Technique

This is a large photo collage I made for my grandmother's 90th birthday. It's an example of the collage technique I want to share here. Although I was going for a random look in the piece, I didn't want to cut people's faces off, so I needed to arrange all the photos before actually glueing anything down. Jonathan Talbot's technique for collage without liquid adhesives is the approach I took. I bought his slim book that details this technique 5 or 6 year ago when I first got started doing collage. Although I use any number of techniques in my art now, I still find his process very helpful, and I'm glad to include it in my art technique arsenal.

Here's the technique:
  1. First cover the front and back for your collage base with acrylic medium. Golden Polymer Medium is what I (and Talbot) recommend... the shiny kind, not the matte finish. If you want a matte finish to your piece you can use matte finish acrylic as a final step in completing your piece. Covering both the front and the back of the base cuts down on the possibility of buckling.
  2. Then cover the front and back of all collage elements you want to use in the piece with acrylic medium.
  3. After everything dries you can "work" the collage, arranging the elements on the base to your heart's content.
  4. Once you have the composition the way you want it, you cover the piece with silicone-coated release paper and iron everything in place. The heat from the iron reliquifies the acrylic medium and fuses the whole piece together.

I bought both the release paper and a small craft iron from Talbot's site, but really the release paper and a regular iron is all you need to get you going on this technique. Release paper can be purchased at or any number of other art supply sites, but Talbot's site offers the best value and they last forever.

Pros for this technique: 1.) It allows for maximum flexibility in compositional alignment without having to deconstruct your collage to glue everything down. 2.) The bond created in this method is very strong. 3.) This technique eliminates the bubbling that can happen when using magazine paper in your art. 4.) It's archivally sound, creating an acrylic barrier between all elements in the piece.

Cons for the technique: 1.) Coating all the elements you want to use is pretty tedious. 2.) You need to allow for drying time before moving forward. 3.) Not the best technique for creating lots of texture in a piece.

Just thought I'd share. Questions to clarify the process are welcome and I'd love to hear from others who incorporate this technique in their art.

Talbot also has a great list of other collage artists to peruse. Check it out.


Altered Belly said...

Thanks for sharing. I have done his technique in quite a few of my exhibit pieces myself.Belinda

Monique said...

Looks great! TFS!

Susan said...

I've never tried this technique but it looks interesting, especially when you are using many elements and not wanting wet glue.

Arty Lady's blog said...

Angie, thanks for sharing this technique. Your collage is wonderful.

Angie said...

Thanks for all the feedback. It means a lot

maedeans said...

This is now hanging on my bedroom wall for the ohs and ahs of the people who see it sitting right next to my trusty companion, a Dell laptop.