Tag Archives: collage/mixed media

Tiny House 7

You may remember me mentioning a visit with a good friend, Diane, back in April. I made her a Tiny House and she took it home with her to North Carolina. On her way there, she stopped at her daughter and son-in-law’s house in Maryland for a few days, and she showed the Tiny House to their son, her small grandson.

She told me he was intrigued by it. I remembered how much I liked Tiny Houses when I was young (although none we ever made were very elaborate, mostly being shoeboxes with windows and doors cut in them and decorated with crayons, etc.).

The idea came to us that he might like a Tiny House of his own. So I got to work. I made it a bit larger than I usually make Tiny Houses, thinking he would want to have plenty of room for whatever toys and purposes he might want to put it to. I also tried to make it extra well constructed – though with this kind of building, some tape and paint will fix everything.

Also, I thought he might like some interesting features – so I added an attic and a balcony.

All right, let’s see this Tiny House! Here you see the basic front and back view.

Here are some more views of the overall house from different angles.

Here are some of the features – starting with the front door:

And here is a window:

Some balcony details (and by the way, the balcony was constructed from the bottom of a cereal box):

The garden and its path:

A person who was passing by:

And here are detail images of the interior. As you can see, there are four rooms and an attic. Plenty of room!

And here are some various details of the house.

OK, that’s it! I shipped the house to Maryland and that is where it is now.

We Are More Than Our Labels

I made this postcard from faces I’d done some time earlier – I pasted them on the card and then it sat for quite some time. One day I was doing some Snippets poetry and I used some words as descriptions for these faces.

Well, it works fine for this moment in time when they are exhibiting these characteristics, right? But if they change their moods or expressions or their outlooks on life, their labels will change, too.

Something to think about, maybe.

Tiny House 6

Back in April, my friend Diane was in town. I’ve known her for 25 years, +/-. We met at an art show in the 1990’s and have been friends ever since. She now lives in North Carolina and though we have been in close touch over the internet, I had not seen her for about 5 years.

She means a lot to me, and that’s an understatement, no matter how loud I say it! So you can imagine I was thrilled to see her. I wanted to give her something to take home with her to remind her of our meeting and all our past history. So I decided to make her a Tiny House.

I do not think she will mind if I show it to you. Here is the front and back.

I thought she would like a house with an attic (studio?).

Here are side views.

And here are some pictures with more detail, showing the inside and outside.

Well, there it is. A Tiny House for a friend. Good feelings make this one a Tiny Home, I think.

Zine Time

Last night I attended an online workshop at the National Gallery of Art called Virtual Studio: Zine-making with Sarah Matthews, Printmaker & Book Artist.

I was interested in this topic because I’ve enjoyed the zine form for some years. I have done one myself that you may remember: Mom Takes the Train to Pittsburgh, Has a Great Time, and Then Goes Home, from 2013. At the time my son lived in that city and the zine tells the story of a visit I made to see him.

During this trip I visited the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, which has a special collection of zines to be read in the library. I spent a whole day there, read zines, and talked to librarians (a couple of them gave me a really nice tour of the library, which I thoroughly enjoyed). From this visit I was inspired to write my own zine about the train trip (which I also loved). And…guess what, my zine is now in the library’s collection. To read about how that came about, check out this post from 2013.

The author and her work.

I have also done a lot of artist books, generally using a discarded library book as the base and adding paint and collage for the images, and then writing poetry to fit the pictures. You may remember some of these, too:

In November

Carefree Light-hearted Travel Outing

Today and Tomorrow and Today Again

and one that is very precious to me, a joint project with a friend, Sharon Mann, who is no longer living here on earth, but always in my memory, Nothing But Sunshine.

These days, I express my book making motivations with my various artist sketchbooks. Some have poetry to accompany the pictures and others, well, they just have lots of pictures! I usually post these books bit by bit. The current version, Large Artist Sketchbook 2021 , is now in progress with a page spread posted each week.

Here’s a random selection from a past sketchbook as an example.


So – back to the topic of this post, the zine workshop! I was eager to see what we’d be doing. Sarah Matthews, our instructor, a printmaker and book artist (and an excellent teacher, I can say, after attending this workshop) gave us a simple list of materials we would need:

  • two sheets of any paper 8.5 x 11 inches or larger
  • various household scrap paper like newspaper, magazines, pattern paper, construction paper or wrapping paper
  • markers
  • scissors
  • glue stick or liquid glue
  • pencil

I assembled these items on my work table, plus a few others.

After some introductory remarks and a chance to look at some examples of artist books in the National Gallery’s collections, we got right to work. Sarah had a well-defined process for us to follow in this workshop and guided us with clear instructions and demonstrations so that we could end up with a finished tiny zine.

And, before I forget, this session was popular! There were 90 attendees from all over the US and some other countries too – I noticed Sweden and Argentina as we entered our home locations in the Chat on Zoom.

I won’t go through the steps of the workshop in detail – but basically, we took the large piece of paper and first covered it with a pattern – swirly loops, circles, whatever. I took out my India ink and a dip pen and did some asemic writing. I’m very fond of the rhythm of writing meaningless words!

Then we chose words (actual words) and wrote them over the patterns. I decided upon writing random words that popped into mind and went in alphabetical order.

By now a theme for my book was emerging – BOOKS! WORDS! and best of all, READING! If you know me, you know that I read a lot, and it’s my favorite thing to do. So it’s not surprising that I would make a book about…books.

All right. Next we did some folding of this paper and by making one cut with the scissors, we created a tiny booklet.

The last step was to collage or further enhance the interior. I did some tiny drawings with my pen and India ink and put them into the book along with some other papers.


Here’s what I came up with. The book is a little thing, maybe 3 1/2 inches tall or so. This is the front cover.

Here are the page spreads.

Here’s the back cover. I’m not sure why this guy is so cross, maybe someone interrupted him in the middle of a good novel?

Well, that’s the story! Thanks for coming along with me. I enjoyed making this little book and I’d like to do more of them. And of course, I will continue with the book projects I already have going. Books!


Look here for a previous workshop I did with the National Gallery involving poetry and art.

And if you want to try a workshop with the National Gallery of Art, Virtual Studio programs occur every couple of weeks and are free, but you need to register. Why don’t you check it out?

The website of the workshop’s instructor, Sarah Matthews, has a lot to show you. Take a look.

Squares and Circles

Back in March I took a workshop involving collage and squares and circles at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center (on Zoom).

Our instructor, Lorrie Grainger Abdo, led us through the concept of making art with restrictions – of shape, of color, of format. And how freeing it can be to work within parameters. Your decisions are limited and therefore your mind is cleared of extraneous concerns.

All you are doing is working with circles, squares, paper, and color. But there is an infinite range of possibilities within that structure.

We then worked on our own first version of creating within these parameters. The idea was to set out the squares in a grid pattern and then add circles, however we liked and as many as we wanted.

I made two images. Here they are. One is in one of my ongoing large sketchbooks and the other is in a small one.

I used magazine papers, dictionary pages, and papers painted by me sometime in the past for another project.

Doing this kind of composition is like playing a game. There is the initial phase of squares only, and they make a unified whole. Then you add a layer of circles. That changes the balance and feel of the piece. Then you do it again. More shifts in focus, color, and the directions your eye goes as it looks at the page.

I find this process fascinating. I will be doing it again.

One thing our instructor suggested was that if we were needing more info to help us work our way through the composition, then to turn it black and white, and see what that told us. I tried it:

It gives me a whole new set of ideas to look at this version, and I like the mystery of the monochromatic arrangement. Without color, I focus on the shapes and the designs much more, as well as the lines. There is a sublety to these that I really like.

Well, as I said, I will be doing more with this idea!