MCL Makers is a DIY series that highlights Multnomah County Library Staff who make things in their spare time. In the past we have featured soapmaking with Anne and handspinning with Donna. Our next featured MCL Maker is Library Assistant Laura Simon. When she's not using her talents at her branch to create lovely bulletin boards, flyers, and displays, Laura likes to make mixed media collages and handmade books, among other crafty things. Here she shares with us about mixed media collage.
How long have you been making mixed media collages?
I feel like I've been making collages my whole life! My mom taught me to see the creative potential of every tiny scrap, shiny bit and broken shard. She saved these things in a giant cupboard in our garage. That Craft Cupboard was my boredom buster. My sister and I could spend hours slathering glue onto old buttons, tissue paper, sequins and sticks.
How did you learn to collage?
As an adult, art wasn't really a part of my life. I realized how much I missed the process after I celebrated my 40th birthday by taking a mixed media class at Collage on Alberta. I went straight home and started my own Craft Cupboard, now an entire Craft Room, filled with all sorts of inspiring junk.
Have you used any resources from the library to further develop your craft?
The strongest connection between the library and my artistic endeavors has always been the creative people I work with. There are so many makers in the library community! Of course there are also some amazing books that have passed through my hands over my years working in libraries. A few of my favorites are 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations by Dawn DeVries Sokol; Pretty Little Things: Collage Jewelry, Trinkets, Keepsakes by Sally Jean Alexander; and Collage Discovery Workshop by Claudine Hellmuth.
Have you taught others how to collage or shared your skill in any way?
I have regular get togethers with a couple of my crafty librarian friends. For me, the process of creating while spending time with close friends is very therapeutic. I am often surprised by the artistic result.
What advice do you have for the new crafter just starting out?
Don't overthink it! Jump in, get messy, embrace the chaos.
For more information on mixed media collage and other creative exploration, check out this curated list.