Monday, 31 January 2011

Images in a Landscape

The use of photo imagery in art quilts and stitched textiles is here to stay!!
Evening at Lake Mungo, NSW
We love our digital cameras and how easy it is to record information from the world around us – from personal photos of family and friends to favourite places or details and textures in the world around us.
The ‘Landscape’ as a composition is one that we all can identify with.  The horizon line, wherever it is placed, gives us a focus and settles our ‘eye’. This composition is usually used to reflect the nature, but life in the city and the urban skyline could also be considered. The ‘landscape’ of our thoughts, feelings and memories could conjure up other images.
      It is not enough to just use a photo of a favourite scene –a local view, our back garden, or images from recent holiday travels.  The really interesting information that the landscape collage could contain might include 
a) views at different times of the day or seasons, including close-up details and textures, 
b) historical reference, symbols, images of artefacts – stories from the past,  or 
c) our own personal diary writings, poems, experiences or memories from the place. 
These different aspects, especially your writing of the subject in a collage, will enlighten and engage the viewer even more.
      A recent workshop using digital imagery at Missenden Abbey has prompted me to share some student work and ideas that came out of the class.  I am so landscape inspired in my own work, and very focused on a specific theme, that I constantly find it exciting to see how others interpret their own personal journeys.
Student examples of long and thin collages in paper
In most of my workshops I ask students to collect information and photographs on a personal subject.  They  provide black and white as well as colour photocopies that will be used in collages.  These compositions take on a different emphasis depending on the workshop theme.  In this class, students worked with a variety of subjects – from ancient trees and forests, sea scapes and beaches to Chicago, with glass reflections of skyscrapers and modern architecture.  Creating collages in a long and thin format - horizontally or vertically makes them more dynamic. First we painted the black and white copies of their photos and the handwritten personal writings with Brusho a watercolour dye (for paper only). We incorporated the colour copies making interesting collages when torn and layered.
more Missenden Abbey work
     This is done relatively quickly – these simple torn or cut compositions are glued onto thin white copy paper.  Later they would be photographed or scanned into the computer, the image printed onto heat transfer ‘t-shirt’ paper, then ironed onto cotton. Extra fabric or paper could be added to the surface. It is backed with thin wadding (batting) and  fabric they are then machine stitched.  Alternatively the paper collage could be layered and machine stitched as a mixed media piece with other embellishment possibilities.
       I work with a collage of imagery in black and white, coloured and painted photocopies in the early stages of most of my own art quilts and textile pieces.  Sometimes this inspiration is in sketchbook form or they are created on large pieces of paper.  This way, it gives me a good idea of what the end result will look like.  
      There are still many choices to be made before the piece is finally finished......What size will it be and where will it hang?  Will fabrics be purchased, painted, dyed or photo  transferred? Will interesting art surfaces be needed - screen printing or stamp effects?  What stitch techniques will be used -  machine or by hand? Will extra embellishment- wools, metal needed?    This is only a beginning to a new creative and exciting stitched textile.

Materials for a landscape collage
  • Brusho paint – a watercolour dye (Colourcraft Ltd, Sheffield watercolour paints or procien dyes will all work for painting paper.
  • Black and white photo copies (preferably your own images) and colour copies for collage
  • Writing – personal memories, poems, research information – handwritten black and white copies.
  • glue stick and white copy paper   
See my wide and thin paper "Meltdown" collage in the ‘New Work’ section – which will be finished in fabric and stitch for an exhibition at the Festival of Quilts in August, 2011 with 'Studio 21'.  
Many other samples of collages that inspired new work can be found in my books.

Watch this space..... more workshop ideas and photos to come.               Thanks for reading


  1. Thanks for sharing this information and the remarkable photos. It is so helpful. Have a good time, Inge

  2. Hi Sandra,
    Your blog is keeps me "topped up" after having attended your workshop for ATASDA NSW in Sydney, Australia. Last night three of my mixed media art pieces (based on what you taught me) sold at the opening night of our local annual Art Exhibition! Thought you would like to know this good news and how influential your teaching has been to me. Thank you.
    Pamela P,

  3. Whether you are looking for a fresh front landscaping northern beaches for the curb appeal that will sell your home or an investment in backyard landscaping northern beaches for you and your family to enjoy for many years, Our landscaping team will develop a garden design with your best interests in mind.

  4. Some of the waterfront properties will offer additional benefits such as fishing, deep water access or a community boat ramp. You can also explore other waterfront properties types including apartments for rent, foreclosure listings and homes for rent.

  5. Great blog you people have made here on this blog site, I will absolutely appreciate your work.

    Advice by Krain Advantage

  6. A successful garden landscape design will include proper soil requirements of the plants that you choose for your garden types.Landscaping Hills.