Monday, February 28, 2011

Collaging: Not just for ransom notes

I used to think that collaging was just a sheet of paper covered in hacked up magazines and wrinkled with drips of Elmer's glue.  Maybe it was having nothing to work with but the stack of 20 year old National Geographics in my high-school art class that turned me off, but I've since found that collaging is actually a very fun and sophisticated art form. 

After a day of dealing with aggravating clients, there's nothing more therapeutic than taking an Xacto to paper and focusing all your attention on outlining an object.  Plus, collaging costs practically nothing; if you're short on old magazines and catalogs, just raid the curbs on recycling day.  Don't limit yourself to what has been photographed, either.  Look for patterns, colors, and textures and use them to create your own shapes a la Henri Matisse. Or go on and mix that media up by painting, inking, or drawing over top.

Here are a few tools I recommend for the optimal collaging experience. All are available at any craft store:
  1. Xacto or utility knife + replacement blades.  A blunt blade will tear the paper instead of making a nice, clean cut.
  2. Rubber cement.  It doesn't wrinkle and is very forgiving.  If you make a mistake or want to change the placement of something, just peel it up and re-stick it.  And who doesn't like rolling it up into those gooey balls?  I also sometimes use mat medium, which is a little stronger but still doesn't wrinkle as much as white glue.
  3. A self-healing cutting mat.  A piece of cardboard works too, but these mats are worth the investment.  The surface springs back after you cut into it and come printed with a grid and guidelines.  You will use it all the time. 
Look for more on collage in future posts!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Welcome to Taken by the Hand!

Greetings, friends!  My name is Kelly and I've always been what people refer to as "one of those creative types."  As a child, I drew constantly, showing favoritism for crude sketches of fashion models in bell bottoms with a different pattern on each pant leg.  My sweet mother would tell me how great they were as she hung them on the fridge.  I loved crafting.  Often I would see a bracelet or tchotchke in a store and then race home to see if I could figure out how to make it myself.  As I grew up, I continued to create things, and after years of art classes the bodies I drew eventually resembled something human and the crafts became more useful.  I went on to study fine arts in college, where I fell in love with sculpture and printmaking.

But alas, the real world hit me like a freight train.  Post college, I found myself in a tiny apartment with no space or resources, and of course, no money.  I took a job as an assistant at an ad agency and have been living the corporate life ever since. Eventually I became an art director, and I'm grateful that I can be creative in my work (I'd go postal if I had to make sales calls all day). Still, like most people I sit in front of a computer in an office all day, and I miss being able to use my hands for something besides working the stylus in my right while hitting key commands with my left.

Though it took a while for me to begin doing my own work again, once I did, I found it wildly fulfilling.  I looked forward to doing simple projects around the apartment, finding I could be creative within my small space. Eventually my own style developed, which I would describe as graphic/vintage/eclectic.  I had become reacquainted my paws and I wanted to share this joy.  Thus Taken by the Hand was born.  Here you'll find things I'm working on, things I find inspiring, and things that you can create by hand.  Don't get me wrong, I still love graphic arts, but my hope is that you are encouraged to step away from screen and create tangible art, in whatever form you choose.

That's my story.  Thanks for visiting!