Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A buzz in the night ...

I've written often about being surprised by the trajectory of a collage - the life it seems to take on, all on its own. Back in November, I tried to document my work on a commission to show its progression.

The piece was for the Sleepy Bee Cafe, a Cincinnati breakfast/lunch restaurant. The only request from owner Sandra Gross was that it be at least 25" x 25," and include bees. I knew almost immediately that the collage would have bees buzzing around a lush garden at night, which would make them sleepy in the morning. From there, it was anyone's guess.

Darkness reigns via endpapers from a vintage
children's book and a black star chart.

The original background papers are jettisoned
in favor of a brighter night sky (endpapers from a vintage
astrology book), and a blue chart of November's sky.

At left, a strip of vellum with the word dream printed
on it (from a recycled paper sample kit). 

The search for bright botanicals begins with antique, and
vintage prints - some hand colored/painted.

The background is not quite large enough.
Hmm, how about a forest border?

A clump of irises, well into being cut.

More vintage prints (which are reproductions
of antique prints) in various stages of cutting.

Early placement of flowers, some of which need
more trimming of their tangled roots. And, the addition of
handmade paper with leaf inclusions as the bottom border.  

The collage is moved to the drawing table, so it can be viewed
at an angle. More possibilities pile up on top of it, including
a sheet of floral stamps (upper right), and vintage dried flower
arrangements (upper left). 

The final collage, with the addition of more flowers,
a silvery planet, the moon (from a vintage button calendar),
bees (from antique ads at the back of women's magazines),
a blue gazing ball, text on vellum, and a few insects.
The only constant from start to finish? The giant bee.