Book Review: Collage Discovery Workshop

Collage Discovery Workshop (Cover)

Collage Discovery Workshop: Make your own collage creations using vintage photos, found objects and ephemera by Claudine Hellmuth. (2003). Cincinnati, Ohio: North Light Books.

Collage Discovery Workshop, by Claudine Hellmuth, is a delightful book that not only provides readers with basic tools and supplies to get started, but spends a good deal of time discussing surface textures and techniques I have not yet seen in other collage books. As Hellmuth states, "This book is not only about pasting papers to a surface, it is a medley of ideas, techniques and lessons about being an artist that I would like to share with you." (p. 7).

I particularly liked the section on creating backgrounds - an antidote to "blank canvas syndrome," as Hellmuth calls it. With four techniques to play with (Glazing Paint, Peeling Paint (a cool effect using petroleum jelly), Textured Paint, Peeling Paper), prepping canvases couldn't be more fun. Hellmuth also gives tips for making image transfers, using beeswax, and antiquing found objects before moving on to some projects in the "piecing it all together" section. The photographs and step-by-step instructions make each project accessible to people at all different skill levels. Younger children might need the assistant of an adult for some of the techniques requiring toxic materials or hot wax.

Two other bits I found especially valuable: Composition Tips (or "what to do when you're stuck) and the creative journaling prompts. If you are looking for inspiration, these might be just the thing to get spark your imagination.

Have you read this book? Let me know what you think!

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