Saturday, December 25, 2010

Homemade Christmas Presents: spoiler alert!

Due to being an Associate lecturer at MMU, I only found out that I was getting my contract for teaching renewed about a week before Xmas. With the possibility of beginning 2011 completely penniless, I decided to handmake my presents. I used mainly mixed recycled papers, drawings, glue and my watercolour paint set to make a massive A1 size collage inspired by my sister's fantastic photos of tree bark (see images)and my general love of trees. I didn't want to just use natural colours though as I think that vibrant pallettes which use both combining and contrasting colours are both appealing and spirit raising. I started off the collage with a section where I  tried to mimic the shapes and the gist of the colours of some bark but then I got carried away and began to work with the shapes I had already laid down, mimicking and echoing those. Then I worked with a more imaginative flow to see where the transpiring shapes and colours took me. Sometimes the trees turned into roots or mountains. I guess I just worked with the general nature theme.

I bought a triple frame in the Asda sale for my mum and chose parts in particularly vibrant and warm colours as she likes them!

Afterwards, I bought loads of 50p A6 clip frames (and a few 150p wooden frames for an extra special touch!) and cut pieces of the collage up to fit the frames. The result is that each picture is a random section of an already fairly random piece of work. It's liked I collaged (and indeed bricolaged) stuff together and then de-collaged it. I chose a piece for each person according to what I know about them, such as the colours and types of scenery they like, whether they're dreamy or decisive, whether they're into figuration or abstraction. If I tell the truth, I had certain people in mind as I collaged particular parts of the surface. It was a rewarding experience as it made me feel connected with friends and family when they weren't there. I hope they get some enjoyment out of the final part of the process - looking at it. At the end of the day, if they throw it in the bin, at least it didn't cost me the earth to make and I didn't waste my December as usual wandering around souless department stalls, playing the consumerist game. I'd much rather play games with soggy tissue paper and imaginary scenery.
BTW - if you want one then let me know - these were the leftovers - I made so many! Have a peaceful Christmas filled with magical realism...

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