Book Review: Handmade Paper Collage

Handmade Paper Collage book cover.jpg

Handmade Paper Collage by Dawn Ackerman. 2002. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. ISBN 978-1-402-70807-7

In Handmade Paper Collage, Dawn Ackerman primarily uses a torn paper technique to lead readers into a visually stunning world of landscape and abstract collage. As Ackerman states,

"Collage is a highly variable method of art, and there are as many styles as there are collage artists. Some works challenge us to see imaginary worlds filled with surreal images; others seem to be no more than a casual layering of paper intended to be pleasing to the eye. The images are composed of paper, string, and wire, and the range of artistic expression that can be demonstrated through collage is very, very broad." (p. 8)

Handmade Paper Collage by Dawn Ackerman. Contents.

Handmade Paper Collage by Dawn Ackerman. Contents.

The first two sections of Handmade Paper Collage focus on the supplies needed for collage, as well as some techniques for making handpainted papers. I particularly enjoyed reading Ackerman's Tips and Hints throughout the book, which are helpful both for avoiding mistakes (or at least having a head's up as to what to look for when playing around with new techniques) and for picking up tips on how to get the most from different kinds of papers.

Handmade Paper Collage by Dawn Ackerman. Making Handpainted Papers.

Handmade Paper Collage by Dawn Ackerman. Making Handpainted Papers.

The rest of the book is interspersed with step-by-step lessons for making landscape and abstract collages and galleries to demonstrate the range of collages that can result from this torn paper method. Ackerman spends quite a bit of time for a book this size explaining composition, perspective and basic concepts for making abstract art (which, she says, is no different in collage than it is for other mediums). Tucked in the back of the book are ideas for making paper sculpture, art journals, and other projects with left over papers.

Right: Snow on the Mountain by Dawn Ackerman in Handmade Paper Collage.

Right: Snow on the Mountain by Dawn Ackerman in Handmade Paper Collage.

Handmade Paper Collage is both beautiful to look at and full of sound advice on making collage projects successfully. Whether you are trying torn paper collage for the first time or are about to embark on your 100th project, you will find new ways to think about collage within the pages of this book.

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

Last Week's Book Review: The Art of Paper Collage.

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Cheers!--Janyce