Feed the Need for Mixed Media Collage

Raise your hands if you are totally psyched about what is happening in todays arts and crafts world! In true Arnold Horshack form OOOOOOHHHHH! OOOOOOHHHHH! OOOOOOHHHHH!

What has gotten me so excited - the rise of Mixed Media Collage!

I have a confession to make, even though I work mainly in the art glass world - I am so the closet Mixed Media Collage junkie! No wonder, my love of combining tiny pieces of tesserae to create mosaics translates perfectly to combining layers of mixed media to create a similar effect.Words

Mixed Media Collage brings so many techniques together to create wonderful masterpieces. Its all about the layering and composition. And it teaches us so much about what looks right and what doesnt. Now mind you, I said I was a junkie, not an expert! But I would like to share with you my addiction and the method to my madness or the madness to my method.

To begin creating a collage you usually start with a sturdy backing, or substrate to create the foundation for your work. For a mixed media art collage, this may be a canvas, a piece of cardboard, a piece of wood, a page of an altered book or my favorite - a sheet of metal. Just make sure it is sturdy enough to support what you have in mind or you just might lose your mind.

Now for the background! There are many ways a mixed media collage background can be created. You can use paint, vintage papers, old pages from books, stamping and stenciling, crumbled craft paper or newspaper; use them alone or conjunction with each other to create interest. Some of it may fade into the background as you layer; other bits will peak Craft Suppliesthrough. I love layering, then using sandpaper to scrub away areas I call it the peek-a-boo effect! When layering paints to create a background, take your time and allow layers to dry once blended. As a junkie, I have to admit sometimes I overdose on background layering I need rehab or a sponsor to help me know when to say when!

So many embellishments so little space! Vintage images, photos, found objects, fabric, lace, wording and texting, eyelets, buttons, beads, shells, pieces of wood, metal, glass tile, wire, fabric, bottoms of glass bottles, if it can be glued it can be used, thats my motto! This is where the Precision 2000 comes in handy. Small enough to fit on my drafting table, this little saw will cut just about anything. Using this saw, Ive even cut a book right down the middle. It has become this junkies habit!

But wait dont glue anything! Stage your elements first, then walk away, things look a lot different in the morning or a couple hours later! This is the stage where I usually get a glass of wine or a cup of awesome Coffee Emporium Joe (or what I call steaming nirvana) and take a creative break!

Once you are in love with your layout, consider how you are going to attach your elements to your mixed media artwork. Adhesives of different strengths are available depending on what you are attaching. If the item is particularly bulky, consider wiring or tying it into the piece. This adds visual richness and takes the pressure off the adhesive.
Once the piece is finished, you can stand back and admire your work and have another glass of wine or if you are like me start a new one

Finished project images courtesy of Diamond Tech.

Main Image- Family Charm Bracelet

Last Image- Upcycled Bottle Terrarium

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Rita Levine

Rita Levine

Rita has been surrounded by arts and crafts her entire life. Is it any wonder that she is now employed by Diamond Tech, one of the largest manufacturers of art glass, mosaic and hot glass crafting products? Rita says most of her inspiration comes from her mother. Her mother's handiwork could be seen in the kitchen where Rita watched her stir up imaginative dishes for her hungry family of nine and in the sewing room where she magically turned feed-sacks into adorable sundresses for her daughters. "So, I would say my genius and inspiration comes from dear ol' Mom," Rita said. Since graduating from the University of Cincinnati, Rita's art career has centered on paper, pencil and computers. However that all changed when she became employed by Diamond Tech. During her tenure, she was introduced to and fell in love with glass and mosaics, a love affair or obsession that continues today.  This obsession has lead Rita to edit and co-author twelve glass crafting books, produce a video on glass beadmaking and provide handmade mosaic projects to several well-known magazines. "In my opinion, glass crafting is an unsung art and I am here to sing its praises. I believe the more one learns about stained glass, mosaics, fusing and glass beadmaking the more one wants to learn MORE!" For 20 years Rita has lived in sunny Tampa, FL. "I have lovely daughter who enjoys mosaics, not necessarily with me - teenagers. Often times we find ourselves at garage sales looking at tables chairs, clocks and saying to each other, 'we can mosaic that!' I'm telling you it's addictive."