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Assemblage Art
By Kelly Kilmer

YOU ARE ONLY LIMITED BY YOUR IMAGINATION

What is assemblage? Assembling together a variety of materials to create a piece of art.

What is Found Art? Found art is the discards of society. Things that other people don't care about that an artist will pick up and treasure, covet, stash and use.  Artists are scavengers. Pack rats. Collectors. We seek out the beauty in everything. Found art can be a discarded ticket picked up off of the street. It can be a small brass doorknocker for 50 at the flea market. Found  art can be an old bauble your Aunt gives you that she no longer wants. 

Visit the flea market, junk stores, thrift stores, Salvation Army. Go through your bureaus, dressers, garages, and drawers.  When you're walking down the street and you see a colorful piece of paper that just jumps up right into your hand you know, you just KNOW, that someday, sometime you'll have use for it.

Found art is whatever you think it is. It all depends on how YOU use it in a way that is most fitting to YOU. Once you start your 'found art' explorations your collection will flourish as will your art.

Materials:

  • The Muse/Creativity
  • A Box (be it wooden/glass/plastic/cardboard/metal or otherwise . . . cigar box, discarded shoebox, fruit crate, Planter's Box, etc.)
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Papers
  • Glue-Decoupage (for adhering the papers to the box would strongly suggest Mod Podge) for 3-D items use Aleene's Thick & Tacky or caulking glue
  • "FoUnD aRt"
  • Sand paper
  • Stamps, inks, alphabet sets, etc...

How to start:
1. Examine your box.  What is the size? The Shape? What does it " say" to you?  What colors pop out that you want to use?  Gather your materials together. keeping in mind that you are never bound to use any or all of them. This is art and an artist is entitled to change his/her mind.  Think of a theme. or what you want to say. It doesn't have to have meaning to anyone else.  Think of what your focal point will be.

2. Paint, dye, stamp, decoupage, etc. the inside/outside of the box to your liking. I like to sponge the paint on and then sand it to give it a worn look. Do what YOU
like.

3. Assemble your art. Move things around before permanently placing anything down.  Hang things from the top of the box.  Glue things in/around/outside, etc. of the box. There are no limits.

4. Display proudly.

5. Scour the thrift stores, etc. for 'found art' and start working on another assemblage!!!

WARNING: this is a VERY addicting and HIGHLY creative art form!

Please do yourself a favor and check out the works of these highly scrumptious assemblage artists:

Dale Copeland Joseph Cornell Kurt Schwitters
Lynne Perrella  Janet Hofacker Marcel Duchamp
Teesha Moore

And remember, assemblages do not have to be in boxes. Think outside of the box!

At the very least, visit the library or local bookstore and hit the art section. Check out ANYTHING on Cornell, Duchamp, Schwitters, etc.

"Objets de 
Found Art"

Fabric
Watches
Playing cards
Rope
Washers
Foreign money
Rocks
Shells
Leaves
Twigs
Feathers    
Labels
Pins
Buttons
Discarded shoes
Old love letters (photocopies!!) 
Statues/figurines 
Calendars
Wood
Candles
Letters/numbers
Fake bugs
Discarded typewriter keys
Bottle caps
Metal scraps
Photo corners
Matchboxes
Wood/plastic/ceramic,
etc. objects
Marbles
Frames
Letterpress blocks
Dried roses/flowers
Bowling pins
Machinery items
Old doll parts
Jewelry
Old toys
Computer pieces
Game pieces
Keys
Watch parts
Dominoes
Coins
Papers of all kinds
Tickets
Scrabble pieces
Old photos (photocopies, please!)
Spoons
Forks
Postage
Magazine pages
House Numbers
Spools
Tiles
Dice
Tape measures
Wine Glasses
Eye glasses
Brown paper bags
Christmas ornaments
Old clothes
Printers' letters

 

"His boxes were like dreams and you had no idea where they came from." Tony Curtis on Joseph Cornell

"The waste of the world becomes my art." Kurt Schwitters

"Art does not reproduce what we see. It makes us see." Paul Klee

"Nobody sees a flower-really-it is so small it takes time-we haven't time-and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time." Georgia O'Keefe

"The Job of the artist is to always deepen the mystery."  Francis Bacon

"Find new discoveries and in them find yourself." Kelly Kilmer

Reading Recommendations:
The Studio
Somerset Studio
Memory & Dream

Books:
Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell by Deborah Solomon
Joseph Cornell by McShrine
Dime-Store Alchemy by C. Simic
In Resonance: Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell
Altars and Icons, Sacred Spaces in Everyday Life by J. McMann

2000 Kelly T.M. Kilmer