Keep Your Creative Flow

Purple Paper Explosion (paper collage, 11×8 1/2)

I collect all kinds of source material for my paper weave collage artwork. I have pages from fashion magazines and mail-order catalogs, gift wrap, grocery bags, tissue paper, and dried flowers—anything that inspires me! I also have some handmade paper I created in a papermaking class.

Still Life in Paper (paper collage, 11×8 1/2)

All this source material needs to be organized so I can find it easily, quickly and efficiently without breaking my creative flow. You can either store your source material in colored file folders in a filing cabinet or large cardboard box.

My papers are categorized by color and/or subject matter. The folders are alphabetically arranged and contain the following source material:

Abstract / Animals /Black /Blue /Brains /Brown /Children /Cityscapes /Dried Flowers /Fabric /Fingers /Flowers /Food /Gift Wrap /Glass /Gray /Green / Grocery Bags / Hair /Handmade Paper /Houses/Buildings /Illustrations /Lace /Landscapes /Letters & Numbers /Logos /Maps /Metallic /Mosaics /Music /Orange /Origami /Paintings /Paperweave /People /Photos I?ve Taken /Pink /Purple /Red /Renaissance / Stamps /Stripes /Templates /Texture /Trains, Boats, Planes /Victorian /White /Xmas /

Red, White & Black Paper (paper collage, 11×8 1/2)

Organizing your paper collection doesn?t have to be a time-consuming project. Once you?ve named the folders and arranged them alphabetically, you can just file your papers away immediately. When I receive my latest issue of Vogue, for instance, I go through the magazine, removing colors and shapes that catch my eye. When I?m finished with the magazine, I immediately file the removed pages in their appropriate folder.

Find an arrangement that works for you so that you can easily find the color and kind of paper you need for your current collage project., rather than wasting time hunting through a massive pile of papers. Organizing your paper collection will make it much more fun and easy to create your collage.

Mark Gottsegen is an associate professor of art at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and chair of the American Society of Testing and Materials subcommittee on artists? materials.

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