Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paper & Copyright

I'm going to start putting part of my 10 year collection of paper on to my Etsy site from my teaching days & want to say a few things about paper in general. For those of you who are already collage experts, this might or might not be helpful. A bad piece of paper can ruin EVERYTHING you've put so much effort in to; believe me I've learned from MANY MANY mistakes! 

My best images come from postcards, high quality magazines, old books, catalogs, flyer's, calendars, greeting, playing & holy cards & just about anything else I can get my hands on. You already know how expertly collage artists gravitate towards images they like, (they're the ones whose eyes are always scanning anything paper  wherever they are), & the best can almost always be found for free. TELL folks to save anything they think you might be interested in; they'll be glad to get it off their hands & you can always throw it in your recycling bin. Don't forget to tell them what you CAN'T use & to say when to STOP! : /

My rule of thumb for most images is it must be mostly white on the other side, thick enough not to see through & a flat finish. Shiny & thin are the most tricky & frankly I find National Geographic to be the worst. It's shiny, looks like stock images & that it came from NG. There are some images that are ruined immediately by contacting glue & no matter what you do, you can't get rid of streaks.

 The following pics are of canvas blocks with multiple layering of  various thickness & some well placed shiny images which add to the overall effect. Thin ribbons of writing work o.k. because they are only glued in a few places. If I remember, I coat these pieces front & back with modge podge like you would with newspaper in paper mache' & let them dry. They are then bendy but sturdy & won't rip as easily. I use some HEAVY embellishments like glass & jewelry; remember these have to be just about super glue anchored on to well secured images, or they will just rip right off. It's HARD for people NOT touch interesting work % these pieces are meant to be displayed on Columns so they can be walked around. I had to really think about the paper so it can stand the test of time.

A few words about copyright. I'm sure you recognize quite a few images on these pieces like Esher & Curtis & we all see some popular images of  Frida Kahlo used over & over on Etsy. As long as you are using an image in a UNIQUE way ONCE & it will not be repeated or mass produced, you are usually o.k. There are some artists you see less then others. Georgia O'Keefe's estate for example has VERY tight reins on her copyright. Elvis too. : >


  1. Great post and excellent info on paper. You need to let people know you now have this informative blog. Maybe you can send a link to your friends on Etsy and elsewhere if you haven't already. I will do the same.

  2. hmm, great article. lotsa food for thought! thanks for the info and thank you donna/woodwife for sending me here!!