Last weekend I was pleased with a one day workshop at The Clearing Folk School, in Ellison Bay, Door County. A couple weeks before this I was staying with relatives in northeastern Wisconsin, visited The Flying Pig in Algoma, and spotted a flyer for the class entitled Intuitive Collage. The instructor was an artist from LaGrange, Illinois, Laura Lein-Svencner, whose blog I have visited and whose work I admire.
So I signed up.
After a couple days the school called to say the class was filled, but that they would see if Laura would teach another day, and luckily for me, she agreed.
Lein-Svencner uses a technique I had read about in Gerald Brommer's excellent book, Collage Techniques. She coats all her papers with polymer medium, and once the papers are dry, attaches them to her prepared substrate using a small tacking iron, which melts the polymer medium and fuses everything together securely, with a minimum of paper wrinkling or buckling.
Most of the morning was spent making papers to use with the process, and she showed the group several techniques. Laura demonstrated several methods for creating unique papers for use in collages, but I'll just describe a couple. She coated found papers like brown paper bags, sheet music, or pages from magazines with gesso and then created texture with common objects like combs. Sometimes she applied color with moist baby wipes, which created sheer veils of color. She altered pages from National Geographic a couple different ways. She placed the pages, which are heavy and glossy, over stencils or rubbing plates, and sanded away much of the ink, but left the behind design. She also used stencils and something called Nevr Dull, a metal cleaner, to alter NG pages. By placing the stencil over the magazine page, ink can be rubbed off in patterns using the Never Dull. The cleaner seems to act on the printing ink in much the same way Citra-Solv does, except the process is more precise, less messy.
At any rate, by the end of the day we each had prepared a stack of papers, and created a couple small collages using her techniques. Laura was upbeat, energetic, and endlessly patient. I loved playing with her materials, tools, and paints, and found her handouts to be concise and clear. I also enjoyed browsing through both her completed collages and her small collage sketchbooks.
When I get my scanner working reliably again, I will show some more of my recent collages using the polymer medium and tacking iron. For now, I just wanted to share my positive experience with this instructor.