Monday, 21 March 2016

The Exercise Book of Unexpected Collage. [OR The month long project I'd forgotten all about] Days 1-15

If anyone was curious to know how I've been feeling toward crafting, as a hobby, lately well ... it wouldn't take a psychoanalyst to interpret the following tale of how I recently unearthed an entire project that I'd completely forgotten about ...

So there I was reaching blindly under my desk for the box of collage scraps I knew was lurking there somewhere. I planned to do some scrappy collage and I knew I had a pile of scraps in there that I could get started with straight away.

After removing the box lid I rummaged to see which inspiring off-cuts I'd left there until, beneath the miscellaneous strips snips and scraps, my hand landed on something firm, something solid, something thicker than a single sheet of paper.

Freeing it from the paper pile I saw that it was something complete, something I'd forgotten about entirely: a book of 31 collages I'd made during the Learn Something New Every Day project.

[For those who don't know Learn Something New Every Day /LSNED is a project hosted by Shimelle Laine at which, every September, encourages you to record a lesson from each day. I've taken part since 2011 in various formats which I've shared here. So far I've worked in a note book, on recipe cards, on postcards and an altered book]

So, to clarify, in January 2016 I found a full book, of finished works, that had absolutely slipped from my mind and had been left languishing, in the dark, amid papery remnants ever since September 2015. [Yes Dr. Freud, I think you're right, maybe I've had some suppressed craft-themed issues lately.]

And now, today, in March 2016? Well ... now the spring seems to have brought with it a softening of my [perhaps overly dramatic] opinion that I'd never make art again. And I don't mind admitting I've had my Pritt Stick out again this week. [Get me!] Because ...
  1. For one thing I love collecting  and playing with paper too much to let it go just yet.
  2. For another, I've been happily creating some new collage packs to offer in the shop; and creating kits, collating the papers and textures and gathering together lovely resources to share with others is honestly the next best thing to making the art itself.
  3. And finally ... I've been working on a collaborative collage project with my good friend and all round creative genius Kirsty Neale which will be ready for public eyes next month. The Copy & Paste Project rides again! 
[Well actually no, there won't actually be any riding involved. That's far too dangerous for two people as bookish and clumsy as we. Although ... we did once sit outside on the back seats of a river boat as it travelled along the Thames and we did get a bit splashed. So .. that's kinda wild and dangerous, right?]

Anyway, combined, the above factors mean I've decided that right now's probably a good time to share those forgotten fruits of my labour.

So below there are the first 15 of the 31 LSNED entries I made in a plain old school exercise book.

I won't narrate or explain each page, you can just skim through the images to see what's what, and I'll try to let the 'lessons' and arrangements speak for themselves. However, before we get to them, let me just say ...
  • This was definitely a plain and simple sift-cut-stick type project.
  • It's something anyone can replicate with very few supplies. In the past I've received comments from people who - after seeing my no-frills type notebook journals - have felt confident enough to give it a try. I hope this inspires more of you to dust off your own Pritt Stick [yup ... just now realising how that could be misinterpreted ...]
  •  As you'll see from the pages - my style very quickly moves from something I tended to do in the past: layering up and overlapping layers, to the pared back minimal style I've recently found myself working in. I think it's to do with enjoying the paper so much I want each and every scrap to feature boldly on its own. 
And so here, finally, after 6 months of neglect, are the pages of my LSNED 2015 exercise book:

Day 1:

Did I ever mention I saw Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet last August? Once or twice?  Ach, at least you can click away when I'm boring you ... just think of the people I met in person who had to politely put up with me waxing lyrical about it for weeks after the fact.

Day 2:

Day 3:
6 months later this phenomena is still holding true; with my brain focusing on something else [the podcast in my ear] it has less capacity to panic about bumping into a dog while I'm out on my own. I'm tempted to research/write more on this ... it's been an eye-opener [as well as an ear-filler] for me.

[Eurgh ... now my head's filled with the thought of literally bumping into a dog. Its meaty/hairy slab of  body. Ew. Someone fetch me my iPod!]

Day 4:

Day 5:

Day 6:
Hey. Nobody said these had to be profound lessons.

Day 7:

Day 8:

Day 9:
This one was exciting. Someone I admire had a book coming out and hoped little old me found 'something to enjoy' in it. The odds were pretty good that I would. [And, naturally I did].

Day 10:
... which I think is why I stopped writing about books so much here. I struggled to write a quick review/recommendation without wandering into essay-length pieces about form and style. 

Day 11:

Day 12:

Day 13:
 Ah ... if only I could work out what, then I'd be on my way to writing this book I've been promising myself I'd work on this year.

Day 14:
 Mmmm ... something I need to learn - again - I think.

And finally for today ...

Day 15:

There are currently some small 30g [ish] packs of Collage Scraps available in my shop, for less than the price of a take-out cuppa, which contain the exact types of papers I use for this style of collage. [They're all scraps from the same collection of papers I personally use. I don't differentiate between what I sell and what I use]. 

I'm also currently preparing some larger collage supply packs, which I aim to get in the shop in the next few weeks. But if you'd like me to create a custom collage-supply pack for you sooner than that, just get in touch over at my Etsy shop and I'll get to work on it.


I'll be back soon with pages 16 - 31 of my forgotten exercise book of unexpected collage, until then, fellow paper-crafters: may all your scissors be sharp and all your glue-sticks sticky. 



  1. That's the first time this month you've mentioned the Devine Mr C!
    Day 8 made me chuckle!

  2. It's great to hear that Copy & Paste might ride again. Though without the actual riding of course.

    Maybe you forgot about your project because it has served its purpose in clearing your mind of the things you wanted to say. I'd call that a big success

  3. Thanks for sharing these Julie - I so enjoyed reading them. I'd add lap tops die without warning too so back those up! You were obviously meant to find them this month so they weren't lost they were just waiting in the wings until their moment to shine :)

  4. What a splendid post to read today - such a lot of lovely collage. I did enjoy 8, 11 and 15 especially. And very excited to read about Copy and Paste. I've just been thinking this morning about hands-on cutting and sticking, so please keep us posted!

  5. I must have missed Copy and Paste before. Sounds intriguing!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing these collage pages with us, Julie ... love them all! :-)

    Have a nice day!



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