Book Review: The Art of Paper Collage

The Art of Paper Collage book cover.jpg

The Art of Paper Collage by Susan Pickering Rothamel (2000). Sterling Publishing Company, Inc., New York. A Sterling/Chapelle Book. ISBN 978-1-402-75613-9

In The Art of Paper Collage, Susan Pickering Rothamel demonstrates her broad knowledge of mixed media and, specifically, the tools for making successful, archival quality collage art and assemblages. Sharilyn Miller, editor for Somerset Studio, writes: "If you know Sue, you can expect this to be an indispensable textbook, packed with information you'll use through your artistic career. If you don't know her, here's your opportunity to acquaint yourself with a generous, talented individual who will seem like a close friend before you've turned the last page." (p. 5)

I don't know if I feel that Rothamel is my friend, exactly, but I did appreciate how detailed the book is and all the tips Rothamel shares; some obviously learned or "discovered" by someone who's spent many hours in the studio and deeply cares about art.

 Left: First Draft by Susan Pickering Rothamel; Right: Strength and Promise (Detail) and In My Own Backyard by Susan Pickering Rothamel.

Left: First Draft by Susan Pickering Rothamel; Right: Strength and Promise (Detail) and In My Own Backyard by Susan Pickering Rothamel.

After the introduction, The Art of Paper Collage has four chapters: In the Beginning, which covers the collage basics (grounds and supports, papers, low-relief collage material, adhesives), Collage Techniques (cutting/tearing, layering, stamping, casting, etc.), Unique Collage Making Materials (webbing spray, mica flakes, glitter spray, crystal gel, etc.), and Artists' Gallery (works included in the book from Anne Bagby, Liz Burchill, Anna Ely, Jeanne Haley, Janet Hofacker, Catherine Jansen, Edee Joppich, Lori Mason, Toni McCorkle, Lisa Renner, and Willie Torbert). 

 Right: Morning Lily by Susan Pickering Rothamel

Right: Morning Lily by Susan Pickering Rothamel

The Art of Paper Collage is jam-packed full of artwork (collages) showing the varied techniques and concepts Rothamel introduces. There are also photo lesson/demonstrations of the techniques, though sometimes I would have liked a little more information. She's great at defining terms; making a distinction between collage and paper layering, assemblage, and decoupage--distinctions that can, in some cases, be slight. I definitely think collage artists at all skill levels can benefit from reading this book and would especially recommend it for beginning collagists.

 Magazine Paper Collage lesson from The Art of Paper Collage by Susan Pickering Rothamel.

Magazine Paper Collage lesson from The Art of Paper Collage by Susan Pickering Rothamel.

If you read this book, please let me know what you think.

For other book reviews follow these links:

For another fun project, check out this tutorial on Jen’s Reviews: Decoupaged Sheet Music Suitcase by Cyndee Kromminga.

Purchase original collage wall art, small format art, and printed greeting cards at Pinecone and Sparrow or at upcoming shows.

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Cheers!--Janyce