The Merriam-Webster Online Dictinary defines collage, among other things, as an artistic composition made of various materials that are glued to a surface. It even goes so far as to call it a “hodgepodge,” a delightful word that suggests a magical brew of imagination and random parts. In my creative problem-solving experiences as part of the Destination ImagiNation® program, we would call the collage process “force fitting,” or forming new associations between seemingly unrelated elements.

BBEST artists probably redefine collage in a way that Merriam-Webster never intended; their collages are not just diverse materials glued together to produce two-dimensional art, but are also connected in other ways to form either two- or three-dimensional products. In “World on His Shoulders,” for example, Beth of JunkyardGypsy uses materials destined for the landfill to produce recycled assemblage art.

Kate of heronkate produced “The Pearl Diver” using a mannequin face sporting hair made from natural sea sponges. “The pearl ‘drops,'” she explains, “are from a Victorian window decoration: they have tassels made from tiny brass chain. There are shells, beads, a piece of Chinese play money, glitter, and frogs.”

In “A Putto Mourns Celtic Genocide,” Janine of AltheaP encourages us to develop new perspectives. She describes her assemblages as “visual non-sequiturs that cause us to look at things with new eyes.” A putto (a representation of a winged child) with wooden wings peers at a magnificent dying Gaul, drawn on papyrus from an ancient Greek statue in this three-dimensional piece of art.

Kat of Figments specializes in steampunk art to produce most of her collages. In “Joe,” an ACEO (Art Cards, Editions & Originals) produced for the ACEO Bounty Challenge, Kat uses gears and watch parts to create a mechanical man.

Meg of VintageScraps takes us on a trip down Memory Lane with her “Paris Flea Market” assemblage. She combines vintage pattern tissue with a beaded purse from the sixties, a piano advertisement from 1922, a bank statement from 1947, jewelry from the ’20s and ’50s, and more. Seventy years of history between 1890 and 1960 fit into a 10-inch by 15-inch space.

Joan of fairyfrond has produced “Hope Fairy Box,” a collage that promotes breast cancer awareness. The polymer clay fairy sculpture is combined with two-dimensional elements to produce a shadow box.

Finally, Ani of CoffeePotPeople has assembled “Orin, Tea Kettle Character,” from a recycled ceramic coffee pot, a dish, mug and a planter. Ani specializes in other whimsical collage characters, with each figure telling a special tale.

However you define collage, the most wonderful marriage results when creativity and collage merge.

© 2008 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved. Please note that the images in this post are owned by the artists and may not be used without permission. Simultaneously published at

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