Labor Day weekend I set aside an afternoon and pulled out a variety of magazine sources looking for birds. I was thinking ahead to the 11th annual Bird Invitational, a large group winter show hosted by Smith and Vallee Gallery in Edison. Be sure to follow them on Instagram. This will be my third year participating. I had no particular plan that weekend, I just began making merely for the love of collaging and to see what bird works I could come up with.
Note: this post has a lot of images in it. and many different birds. I thought rather than make this post any longer than it already is. I will title the birds over at the album I made. you can click on and peek at it here.
It took me a year to perfect this particular collage technique. It mimics quilting, particularly, crazy quilt style, but with paper.
Each stitched collage is constructed with multiple layers much like a quilt, and finished by adding a backing that is then folded over to the front and stitched. This offers a framing to each unique piece.
Backings are mostly from fashion magazines and selected usually for their bright or matching color.
this backing has the title of the bird "crow" stitched in and pulls out things blue
These four 8x8 stitched collages are what I first made that Labor Day weekend.
I had been gifted an old ledger the summer before. In it was stationary from a chicken breeder with letters written in 1919! Chickens are birds...yes? There was also handwritten communications between her and her niece from 1922 with the sweetest bird rendering. Get a load of the vintage advertising.
The three of these were made from those materials:
But then a friend of mine completely surprised me with a package in the mail. In it was a variety of torn magazine pages, something she sends from time to time. Plus a remarkable treasure of a bird book, hand-made in 1935 by a 9 year old boy, Bobby Zimmerman - the father of a dear and mutual friend.
Also included were 2 envelopes of vintage bird and floral illustrations.
I could hardly believe it!!
She had no idea that I was working on a bird theme!
I know it takes a little something to tear apart something so dear, but the bird book was sent to me for that reason. And so I began to make. I did so in an order that I thought honored and grouped the like looking resources within that book.
I first made these three. The blue are strips from the cover of the original bird book. Each has similar strips from a variety of sources making them look quite wonderful all together.
I made these two which delightfully ...SOLD, to a collector for her holiday gifting!
I actually had a lot of interest in these 8x8 stitched collage pieces as I was making them. Which I loved so much. But, I decided to pause that interest until I knew what I planned to submit to "BIRDLAND" and what the gallery selected. This was the first time as an artist that I had to do that.
These 5 bird illustrations are dated back to 1900:
I turned the one below into my holiday greeting for 2020:
I then began to develop a plan for the 20 bird illustrations. I planned to make all 20 in a row. I cut the one inch strips in advance, including strips from the wildflower illustrations. I selected backings ahead of time. I did that so that the making would be seamless and complimentary to each other. These were way way fun to make.
As a collective once finished they sure made quite the grouping!
These below were the last three 8x8's made from the bird book.
SO MANY BIRDS!!
Finally, I had to decide what to do with two larger illustrations. I was OK cropping all of the other birds but these needed to be whole. These two 12x12 stitched collages are what transpired - The blackbird one had immediate interest and once I heard back from the gallery - it SOLD! On the back of it I had put the title from the original bird book and the paper fastener that young Bobby used to hold his book together.
Photography = a never ending opportunity to capture visual celebrations.