serendipity


Serendipity [noun] “an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.”

I think this sums up so much of what I do. Yesterday’s post about recycling was a tangent I wandered down when thinking about how the collage pieces I make come into being.

Paper is readily recyclable these days (indeed it’s often recycled when it’s ‘new’) but I like to get every last ounce of use out of it. Once it’s been printed on (both sides) with info that’s no longer needed, it retires to a life in art.

Images and pictures, blocks of color or gradients, maps, poetry, lyrics, photos, scanned doodles and sketchbook pages, mish-mashed up in photoshop, I let fate take over and set the printer running. And if there are gaping spaces left, the page gets turned around and over-printed again. Serendipity occurs!

The ones that don’t happen into something immediately usable cover my work table to take on new nuances with splashed color, and as testing grounds for paints and inks and stampings. Or used to soak up excess color from dying fabrics and threads (I think this must be where the great paper-dying project originated… one idea bears fruit and blossoms into new ideas and schemes and badly mixed metaphors!)

watching paint dry


…and photographing it!

As I type to you the final drippings and runnings of this page a doing their thing, which give me the chance to show you some more bits of page.

After scribbly ink and doodles I wanted to knock back some of the busy color and detail, which I did with a mix of acrylic and guache. Sliding and scraping with palette knife.

I wanted to liven up the texture, so used coarse pumice gel and – what’s to hand? – aha! leftover dyed rice! Then a swish of spray ink…

Only drying time will tell if the rice sticks, but even if it doesn’t, it’ll leave some nice rice-scars behind. Happy either way!

I love the way the wet media allow the pigments to travel, gather, collect together in bands. In these colors it reminds me a little of malachite

Ingredients


Where some people see scrap, I often see ingredients.

Only when it really doesn’t fit with social expectations can I curb my collecting, but I will usually come home with something I didn’t leave the house with earlier in the day.

Leaves, paper scraps, foil and cellophane from sweets, sketches and photos of interesting shapes, patterns and textures; jotted words and phrases from the radio, books, internet or my own head. Findings!

Today I resisted the feathers I saw scattered on the verge as I walked to work. Thinking roadkill, bird-flu, infection, dirt. I saw more feathers, one was 7-8 inches long with a fluffy plumed edge and speckly pattern. Conscious of passing driver’s impression of a grown adult picking up and stashing litter from the roadside. More feathers, smaller but irresistibly velvety. Their owner must have come to an unfortunate end to lose so many clothes. Pheasant? (no corpse), idk.

Thinking aside, when I got to work there was, in my bag, a perfect, elegant, inspirational, new-to-me ingredient.

It wasn’t until I photographed it I discovered it’s a feather and a half!

It might be a subject to draw, a shape to photograph, to inspire. It might act as a brush, then retire to join one of many collages. When the time comes, it will be an ingredient in at least one something I make.

It also looks (to me) like a tiny porcupine with no face.