Making the centrepieces required some forethought. My initial idea was to make a kind of oblong bundle with a cloth base onto which I could collage my image fragments. As I thought through what I wanted from the artwork and the materials I would use, my ideas started to take shape.
I would need to make an oblong object in the same proportions as my background image. My artistic references research helped me decide that binding it all together with strings would be an effective way of holding the collage together, at least visually. I liked the idea of the strings segmenting and dividing the piece like separate compartments of the mind, and the implied tension the strings would bring.
I wanted the strings to slightly squash the shape where they bound the edges and this led me to consider making an upholstered board. I determined therefore that the base for the collages would be a rigid board, with cloth covering it and stuffing or padding inside to give it a slightly rounded shape. I had participated in some experiments with Cotton Duck and Liquid Light, so this cloth seemed like an obvious choice for a starting point.
I first thought of leaving the cotton base plain and building the collaged paper pieces on top with glue, but I wanted to build the base boards first before I refined the exact details of the collage making. I didn't feel the need to try to plan the collage too much in advance, preferring to let the material pieces and the tactile and exploratory process of collage dictate the final treatment.
Having run through these thoughts in my note book (example pages below) and examined the available construction materials in my local hardware store (images below), I settled on the construction requirements for the centrepieces as follows:
The main breakthrough in this step was to identify that there was no need to glue my collages together and that I could place my materials pieces onto a cotton duck base with strings and pins. This meant a re-positionable and non-destructive treatment was possible. I had also elected to try to print the large base cloths before upholstering. This way I could match the collage against the background image and would always have a base image showing where otherwise there might be gaps in the collage. It was the nature of the padded upholstered boards that suggested that pins might be a good fixing method—construction materials shaping the collage method.
The build took longer than anticipated for various reasons including need to drill the ends of the machine screws for the wire on the back. Apart from that fairly straightforward.
With the base boards built it was a matter of collaging all four centrepieces and then photographing them again, securing the image fragments with pins and strings before photographing them again.
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