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Christine Cox
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A Collage for Banishing Artist's Block
By Robin Pagliasotti AKA MaVinci
Introduction by Christine Cox

You sit at your art table staring at your pencils, paints, stamps, paper. What to make, what to make? No inspiration, deadlines loom. What now?

Click on any image to see a larger version.

If you are having "artist's block" and need a project to jump start your creativity, this card is for you. It was designed by Robin Pagliasotti after dreaming about it, and it has been an exit from her own artist's block. Give it a try, it could work for you too.

The look is wonderfully sophisticated, yet the skills involved are those we all share. The best thing about this project is that it's fairly fool proof. The only caveats are to make sure that your colors work together and don't glue on any embellishments that you can't cut through until after the squares have been cut out.

Following are Robin's directions for making this card.

Materials:
Strathmore Colored Art Papers for collage background
Bristol Paper for the card
Various exotic papers for collage elements
Rubber cement
Pigment Ink
Stamps
Metallic Embossing Powders
Dazzling Metallics Paints (from Deco Art) *Optional
Cardstock for layering
Copper tissue paper or substitute
Ruler
Rotary cutter or Xacto Knife
Stamp Credits:
Above the Mark
Acey Deucy
Elements Rubber Stamps
China Phoenix
Moon Rubber
Stampers Anonymous
Tin Can Mail

Glue pieces of whatever papers you have on hand to the Strathmore paper. This is why I save every single little scrap that I cut off of anything, because every little thing can be incorporated into a collage.  In the card pictured above I had some copper wrapping paper that I think I bought at an import store, some miscellaneous scraps of some metallic paper I was given as a gift and some copper colored candy wrappers from a pack of ROLOS candy. Whatever you have that fits your color scheme will work! 

Spread the rubber cement on both the base sheet (Strathmore) and the piece you're gluing down, let them both set up a minute, and put the two together.  If I'm out of rubber cement, I use double stick tape.

Use pigment ink to stamp various word / image stamps all over the piece. Then pour metallic embossing powder over the entire thing. There is a wonderful embossing powder that I love to use for this project called Low Lustre Clear, made by Bit o' Boss.  It's clear, but not shiny.

Be sure that the embossing powder gets put on where the ink needs to be embossed, such
as on the shinier papers or on the metallic papers, where it wouldn't dry otherwise. I also put a bit of shiny metallic paint I have here and there. This is made by Deco Art and is called 
Dazzling Metallics.

Smoosh (that's a technical term) all this "stuff" on the collaged papers, here and there and every which way until the sheet is evenly filled up. Try to strike a balance between filling the paper but not crowding it.

Heat the work with a heat gun to melt the embossing powders and let the rest of the paint and ink dry completely.  When it's all dry, cut the piece into strips.  On this one, the strips were 1-1/4" wide.  Then cut each strip into squares, also 1-1/4" wide. It's important that the squares be exact or your piece won't go back together looking even.  I use a self-healing mat and an Olfa rotary cutter, with a cork-backed steel ruler. I have learned from experience not to do this when I'm very tired, or when I don't have my contacts in!  It's too easy to make mistakes, but it's easy in the right light, and with the right equipment!

Reassemble the squares into the finished composition. On a black piece of paper or cardstock, glue the squares down, leaving a 1/8" space in between, to give that windowpane look.  Again, use rubber cement on the collage pieces and on the card. Blow on the glue for a few seconds to dry it a bit, then stick the square down.  Be careful to leave the same amount of space between the squares, left to right and top to bottom.

Once all the pieces are glued down trim the black paper around it to make a 1/8" to 1/4" border. On the black card, I used three squares across and four down, to make a rectangle, but I also like to make them three by three, which makes a nice square card. Now layer the assembly onto a piece of copper tissue paper, and trim that around, and then layer it again onto black cardstock and trim again.  Layer and glue all this onto a card (pre-cut and folded Bristol paper). This one is 6" x 8". Place it off center toward the top, leaving space to stamp and write the word "serendipity" at the bottom under the squares.  

I chose this word because it means finding desirable or agreeable things when you aren't
looking, or where you weren't looking, and this is how I came about this design! 

I've also now done this technique with other themes, an Asian one, with lots of Asian characters and text stamps, a celestial one, using moons and suns and stars, and a Zettiology one, using all stamps from the Land of Odd supplement that Zetti put out.  Whatever you have, you can use!