Wednesday, 28 October 2015

#thescissorsseries Giveaway

After the wonderful response we've had  to Amy Duncan's Four Corners Design feature in Maker Space this week, Amy has suggested a Giveaway of one of her collages! Oh lucky people, this is a goody!

Amy has selected the tag #thescissorsseries which is a perfect tag for a collage artist!

(Photo by Amy Duncan)

But as you know, I like to make you work creatively for the Giveaways I host - so out with your props for this month's challenge!

You could be in to win a print of this beautiful collage by Amy, entitled 'The Primer', as well as a pair of scissors! See entry details below.

Entry details: On Instagram

2. Tag a friend & invite to join
3. Post a NEW pic featuring a scissors theme to #thescissorsseries
Comp is open worldwide  and closes Friday 6 November. Amy will also judge this month's winning entry.

Go on then, get clicking - we are eager to see your entries!

- Claudia x

Monday, 26 October 2015

Maker Space - Collage artist, Amy Duncan

It's been a while since I featured an artist and this month I'd like to share the wonderful talent that is Four Corners Design - run by collage artist, Amy Duncan.

Amy has shared some of her inspirations and tricks of the trade with us. To see more of her beautiful works, visit her Instagram page @fourcornersdesign or her website  Four Corners Deign

I asked Amy five questions and here she tells us a little about her art interest and how she puts together her craft.

Thank you Amy, for your time and for sharing your frank reflections. 

Claudia x
(All photos used with permission from Amy Duncan, 2015)

Tell us about how you developed an interest in collage?
This really stretched my memory...thinking back to grade school, I always had an interest in art; I even remember winning an art contest and receiving a set of acrylic paints as the prize (which interestingly I never used- I guess I knew from an early age that I wasn’t going to be a painter).  I didn’t pursue much art in high school or beyond because I was more practical and studied math and sciences instead.  I started putting together collages, primarily composed of pictures and ads from magazines while I was in college; in fact I remember making a massive collage that covered most of one wall in my dorm room – I regret having no camera at the time to take a photo to remember the details.  I continued to make more manageable sized collages, often mounted on cardboard, using again magazine images – they always had a theme to them, a thread that ran throughout the photos, tying them all together – I imagine that’s how I selected and composed – according to what the theme was.  I have one of those early collages that I framed and now hangs in my office.  It’s interesting that it incorporates birds and the idea of flight, a theme that’s prevalent in my work to this day, over 30 years later.

Your collages tell stories. How are you inspired to put them together and what approach do you take in laying out the design?
It usually starts with snippets of paper or a found object that catches my eye and lights a fire in my imagination – something just clicks – I can’t explain it any other way.  I usually work on more than one collage at a time; when I’m starting out I begin by rummaging through my piles of paper and boxes of junk and pull out pieces that interest me and make a collection.  As I dig further and further, several piles will emerge that have several items in each.  In turn, I look at each pile, determine what I like, what works, what might work.  I often do a dry run of laying out a collage; this helps me to see the relationship between the pieces, what needs tweaking, what can be eliminated, what else I need to complete the picture.  With having more than one collage under construction, things can get moved around and sometimes end up in totally different arrangement than what I originally had in mind – happy accidents can and do occur! 

The library card collage is an example of a piece that was started when I found the library card in a pile – it just sparked a story – and this will most likely get made into an original collage.  The photo of the lady standing next to the card shows first my initial thought of pulling papers/ideas together. 

Here is the finished collage, so you can see that not everything of my original idea ends up in the final collage.

What tips or tricks can you share about the technical aspects of creating collages? ie do you use paper and glue then scan and develop the design electronically?
For the most part, I use glue to adhere the paper pieces on to a foundation; which can be a wooden board, an old wood dresser drawer, a fence picket – I’m all about using recycled materials.  Since the paper pieces I am using are essentially recycled (it is rare that I use new materials in my work) I like all the components of the collage be recycled if possible.  In using a solid substrate for my collage foundation, I then can hammer, nail, screw, wire on whatever found objects that I add as the final layer.  I like using glue for paper; I don’t trust it to hold firmly anything of any weight.  Recently I did a series of 10 collages -  I first sewed the collage pieces together (on my trusty Singer sewing machine that is itself a relic!) and then I lightly glued the sewn collages onto a wooden board.  I then used nails and/or tacks to secure the collage in a few strategic places.  I wanted the corners and edges to purposely remain free, enabling them to become folded, bent or torn, emphasizing the concept of the ephemeral nature of the paper scraps that I use.  Much of the paper I use are pieces that are temporary – a used train ticket, a torn envelope, a forgotten receipt...which tell a story if we are willing to listen...

Within the last two years I have been working digitally – I will scan one of my paper collages once it is complete (and before I add any found objects) and then I will combine/merge/layer other photographs that I have taken onto that scan to create a new composition.  I have both the original paper collage and then the new digital collage which allows me to capitalize on an original idea in several different directions.

Below is an example of a paper collage that I finished – The Primer – which I then scanned – and layered four additional photos/layers to create a new, altered piece.

Do you sell your art or work to commissions? If so, how do you stay motivated and keep on track to meet deadlines and do you have a day job as well?
I do sell my art – I do about 3-4 area art shows a year as well as having an Etsy shop.  I decided about 15 years ago that I wanted to go back to my artistic yearning of my youth and pursue art seriously.  I had already spent almost 20 years in non-profit management and knew all about living on little money – making the switch to living life as an artist would be pretty much the same!  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to totally survive on artist wages so I work a part-time retail job that pays the mortgage, but doesn’t tax my mind or energy so I have the mental resources to create.  I stay pretty focused to create every day – some days more productive than others but it's rather second nature to me now.  I’ve always been a planner so when a show is coming up, I know what I need to get accomplished to have a successful show; it helps that I have a variety of goods – original art, prints, and greeting cards.  It’s always nice to sell original art but not everyone can afford it.  I sell a lot of cards at my shows – not a great money-maker, but I have gained followers and they may step up and purchase a more expensive piece in the future.  I have done commission work ... its great when you have freedom in how you approach the work, but it can be limiting as well. There have been times when I just want to get the piece finished, my heart was never in it from the beginning.

What are your creative hopes and dreams?
Of course, I would love to be well known enough to have people clamouring for my work at unheard of prices!  But back down to reality...a little more notoriety would be nice; perhaps getting into licensing some of my images.
What I do want to pursue is something I started two years ago and has been growing steadily – Art Parties – a gathering of others for the purpose of creating, inspiring and supporting that spark that each of us has...some just need a little more of a nudge than others.  I started offering Art Parties in my workshop studio, pulling in 6-8 others to either learn a new art process, work on a project or just designate creative time where you could come and be with other like-minded creatives – no rules, no judgment, no barriers.  It expanded this October when I co-hosted ArtPartyPortland – a gathering of 14 creative women from around the US for 3 days of art and junking in Portland, Oregon.  I firmly believe that everyone can be creative...and that it doesn’t take expensive supplies or elaborate just need a little support, a first step forward...and perhaps a bit of wine...