|collage artwork by Kathleen Sawyer - available at her Etsy shop thebackoftheboat|
Toile La La: Do you have a story or scene in mind, then look for images to illustrate your vision - or do the images come together as you peruse your collection of clippings?
Kathleen Sawyer: The collages assemble themselves in different ways and over different spans of time. Sometimes they are triggered by a piece of paper of a certain color, another time it maybe one small image. It could be a conversation I have had during the day on an outing, or a passage I have read in a book. A collage may acquire its layers all in one day or may sit on the cutting board for months until it is completed.
|collage artwork - Kathleen Sawyer, thebackoftheboat - Etsy|
|Kathleen Sawyer - collage artwork|
|Kathleen Sawyer - collage artwork|
KS: Books have played a big part in my life starting as early as childhood. We had a small airplane when I was a child and much of my childhood was spent in the back seat of a single engine plane reading to pass the hours in the clouds.
Our libraries provide adventure, hope, mystery to anyone of any age regardless of their economic standing.
I began using the library cards in my work when I learned that libraries were removing them to protect the privacy of their patrons. Even very small libraries have adopted this policy and are pulling the card from the rear of all the books in circulation. My local libraries started saving them for me to use in my work - instead of tossing them. I have had a show at two libraries with the “library card collage series”.
|Kathleen Sawyer - library card collage artwork|
|Kathleen Sawyer - thebackoftheboat library card collage art|
KS: The only pieces I have are ones that were made early on before I started my company in 2001 that were made annually for family and friends at the holidays and were about my son. The original collages which I kept were printed into large format cards. My son also has some original pieces that I made for him. I have not kept any other work.
Toile La La: Are there particular themes to which you return?
KS: Water, houses, and the color blue.
Toile La La: How long have you created collage artwork? I know you created cards for family and friends, but wondered if you created collages prior to making the greeting cards... and if you studied art or any other forms of art as formal training, or if you trained yourself by experience alone.
KS: I have been making collages for about 25 years. I took only one or two studio art classes in college ( intro level drawing, color ). My focus in college was Art History and English Literature and I immersed myself in every course offered in these subjects.
Self taught… yes.
I have been asked many times over the years to give workshops about collage. I have declined for two reasons: One, I cannot talk in front of a group and two, I believe it is not an art form that needs instruction. There is no wrong way to collage. Everyone can do it. You gather ten people in a room with scissors, paper, glue and recycled papers, ephemera, photographs and they will each come up with something extraordinarily unique.
Toile La La: Simply estimating, how many art collages do you think you've created - including the ones you created during time spent as owner of the greeting card company?
KS: Approximately 600.
Toile La La: Were you in any way trying to recycle when you began creating art collages?
KS: At the beginning, and I still am. I use only items in their original form. I do not make copies. I cut them up and use them as is.
I try and use only things that have been gleaned from recycle bins, free bins, library book sales, charity sales and thrift shops. I will occasionally buy a suitcase of old paper and photographs or the odd cabinet card to spark my creativity and to add to my gatherings. I also recycle things I have gathered when I find they have been in my studio for awhile and I have not put them to use - sharing them with other artists who may have a use in their collage or assemblage work.
|collage kit gathered by Kathleen Sawyer - available at Etsy shop thebackoftheboat|
|Kathleen Sawyer - thebackoftheboat collage subscription, available at Etsy|
|Kathleen Sawyer thebackoftheboat library card collage artwork|