My favorite craft shop in Marin, Once Around, offered a Vintage Valentine collage workshop with collage artist and author, Anna Corba.
We each got a sweet little packet in a stitched paper bag she’d made from old French newspaper that had several cards and envelopes, a piece of heavy watercolor paper and a postcard made of wood tucked inside to serve as the bases for our creations. She had several boxes of vintage-style images, mostly color copies of beautiful paper ephemera from her bountiful collection, and we could sift through to find just the right images, patterns and colors for each card we made.
Anna showed us samples of her own work and talked about how she likes to work – letting each unique image speak to her, and working with a color palette based on the images she chooses. We trimmed and tore the different pieces of paper and then starting moving the elements around like the pieces of a puzzle until we found a pleasing composition. Anna walked around the table making suggestions and helping when someone was stuck.
She pointed out that a piece of darker paper along the bottom of the composition can be helpful to ground it, and it is nice to tuck a little surprise inside a card that coordinates with the design on the front. We also decorated envelopes, or in some cases, small paper bags, to make a matching set.
During the last part of the workshop we were able to seal two of the collage designs (the thicker flat cards) with beeswax. This was just lovely, though I wish we’d had more time to spend on it. First of all the scent of the warm wax is divine, and reminded me of a tiny chapel in Italy that had a huge arrangement of white lilies and was completely lit with beeswax candles . Brushed across the collage it added a dull sheen and faint golden color, saturating the paper and allowing some layers to show through others.
In this card you can see the sheet music behind the other paper. I wasn’t really able to capture the beauty of this technique in my pictures.
The downside is, you don’t always want a background paper to show through and by the time I learned that, I’d already created this card. I wish I’d trimmed the wide striped paper so it wasn’t behind the puppy and kitten images.
Anna had stitched this little sleeve using red thread and then cut a wide scalloped edge for the wooden postcard. After the class I was able to finish all the envelopes with paper brought home from the class and a few extra embellishments from my own stash. My style is busier and messier than Anna’s but I really appreciated and enjoyed the techniques she showed us in the workshop.
I don’t tend to use glue sticks but they are more forgiving then the tape rollers I favor. Anna reminded me of a technique I’ve seen before but forget about: use a magazine you’re done with as your surface to glue on, keeping your work surface clean. As soon as a page is sticky, turn to a clean page. Once you’ve got your design pretty much set, maybe about 75% in place, she starts gluing the images down and uses a brayer to really stick things together.
My brayer has been sitting in a drawer, rarely used, but after the workshop, I got it out. I also put an old magazine on my craft desk and started using these tools: a clean page for using when I put glue on a piece of paper, and the brayer to roll over the card and get it really fastened together.
After the workshop, I spent time on the little collage Valentine’s I was crafting. I’m sure I will use Anna’s style again on other cards, but these were the busy, multi-layered cards I’d been working on with bits taken from envelopes (the lining, stamps and postmarks), maps, old dictionary and textbooks, packaging, magazine pages, vellum, tissue paper, washi tape, vintage sheet music, calendars, newspapers, business cards, and other beautiful paper.
Mini card fronts that I layered onto small place-cards and added embellishments and rubber stamped images.
Little tags stamped on a paint chip.
More tags stamped on vellum, an envelope liner, an old math textbook page and more.
Little tags cut out, hole-punched and tied with pink string.
Two of the larger cards. It makes me happy to spend time crafting and I love when I put together a card and know exactly who it’s for.
I know Valentine’s day has passed but I just didn’t get it together to post these pictures sooner. I wanted to share them with you and, as always, I appreciate you taking the time to stop and look at what I’ve put up. Thank you.