I’m nearly finished with Ribbon, a series of small abstract collages. Each one features a yellow/gold/orange ribbon twisting, floating, or curving through a turbulent blue space. The inspiration for this series was simply my love of curving lines.
People are always asking me how long it takes to make a collage like this. That’s a very difficult question to answer. Do I count the time spent rough-sketching to find ideas that would work? How should I reckon the time I spent weeks or months earlier collecting papers that eventually went into this project? Then there are all the preliminary steps – drafting the design, testing and de-acidifying the papers I’ve selected, … – and finishing steps – applying a final glaze and then matting or framing – which can’t be omitted.
With this series, the best I can give is a partial answer. After all the preliminaries, each 5″ x 7″ collage took approximately twelve hours to assemble from papers that I had previously collected. More or less. The final stage before finishing is when I look for weaknesses to correct. This involves staring at the piece from a distance, laying on a few tiny, tiny papers — smaller even than my usual square centimeter — and walking away. If the corrections don’t stand out when I come back to it then I fix them in place and repeat. The process takes only 15-20 minutes at a time but may stretch out over several days until I’m satisfied that everything “works.” On top of everything, I tend to lose track of time when I’m working, but I’d say that twelve hours is very close.