Upcycled Collage: Hummingbirds

I’m still a week behind on sharing new work, but my excuse this time is vacation. Boris and I were on Pender Island with friends for five nights and it was a glorious getaway for all those involved. I debating doing a big of blogging while I was there, but I preferred having a laptop-free break.

The base for this collage is the cover of a wooden cake box originally from a Hotel in Germany. I picked it up at Value Village and am saving the rest of the box for a future mixed media piece.

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds

With the hummingbirds I decided to make yet further explorations into creating what I wanted by cutting the shapes from paper. This time the usual clouds, but also leaves, branches, and a nest for Mrs. Hummingbird. The wood was first layered with strips of sewing pattern paper to tone down, but not hide the existing text.

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds-3

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds-2

I left the original metal hardware on the box lid, as you can see at the corners and part of the latch on the bottom edge. I like trying to incorporate as much of the original details of these found materials as I can. I hope I can source more wooden boxes from Value Village before I run out of what I have.

Upcycled collage Hummingbirds-4

Materials used: wooden box lid, security envelopes, book page scraps, sewing pattern paper, and paper birds.

Upcycled Collage: Crane & Book Cover

This is the second upcycled collage I completed last week. It was very satisfying to sit down for the day and come away with two completed collages. You should’ve seen the HUGE mess in the studio when I was finished.

Normally with the books I use in my altered book work the cover of the books ends up hidden away. This one was much too nice to not feature in a composition and so it’s ended up as the background for this collage.

Upcycled Collage: Crane & book cover

I chose the crane for this because it was the first thing I came across when I opened the bird encyclopedia to select a bird. It seemed like the perfect one to go with the colours and flower motif. I decided to continue with the paper waves because the crane is also a wading bird.

Upcycled Collage: Crane & book cover - detail

I sorted through the pile of saved envelopes looking for something that would go well with the patterns on the cover but wasn’t the usual blues of security envelopes. I found one with this grey pattern that feels very Japanese, and it ended up being the perfect thing.

Upcycled Collage- book cover Crane-2

Upcycled Collage: Crane & book cover - detail

Materials used: book cover, thread, paper bird, book page scraps, security envelopes, and gel medium.

Upcycled Collage: The Wading Birds

The bird collages made from upcycled materials continue this week with three new pieces almost completed. This is the first of the three, and also my favorite of them all.

Upcycled Collage- wading birds

The canvas for this collage is the cover of a wooden box, the rest of which I used earlier this year in another mixed media assemblage piece. The Japanese characters are part of the original cover design and I tried to incorporate them into the composition because they’re lovely.

Upcycled Collage- wading birds-3

It was fun to try different things with the same materials. So far I’ve mostly been making clouds with the scrap book pages and security envelopes, but this time it made more sense to reference water because these are shore birds.

Upcycled Collage- wading birds-2

The finished artwork feels very Japanese, and I love how beautifully all the elements come together.

Upcycled Collage- wading birds-4

Materials used: sewing pattern paper, security envelopes, book pages, paper birds, wooden box lid, and gel medium.

Upcycled Collage: Book Cover & Birds

I removed this cover from a sample altered book I’d put together for one of the workshops I taught earlier this year. I don’t normally remove covers from the books I use but I did in this case and decided to hold on to it and use it in something else. I was really hoping to use it in a collage somehow and here it is at last.


This is part of a series of collages I’m creating as a warm up. I’ve taken most of the summer off from making things and it feels good to get back to it.

Book birds-4

As mentioned previously, I’m tentatively calling this series, “Put a Bird on it”, as each one will be a whimsical composition containing birds. They all come from the same bird book I found at Value Village and each collage contains upcycled security envelopes, scrap book pages and thread. I’ve decided to use both found wood boxes and book covers as the “canvas” for these.

Book birds-3

Book birds-2

Even though it’s still months away my efforts in producing new work is in preparation for the Eastside Culture Crawl in November. Stay tuned for more new work.

Upcycled Collage: Put a Bird on It

If you’ve seen the show Portlandia you’ll understand the reference in the title of this blog post. They did a sketch called “Put a bird on it”, where they make fun of the trend of bird motif covered everything. It’s really funny and you can watch it here. I’m thinking it will be the working title of a new series with birds.

As I get back into the flow of creating new work I’ve decided to continue creating small collage using reclaimed materials. I’m focused on sourcing wooden boxes as the base for these collage, and will use scrap book pages, security envelopes, thread, and birds cut from an encyclopedia.

wine box bird-3

I’m continuing with a style I started working on at the beginning of this year mixing the patterns created by the type on the book pages with the blue prints of the envelopes. Both papers are ones I’ve saved and collected. The wood I’ve used as the canvas for this collage is the cover of a wine box I bought at Value Village. I’ll be using the rest of the box for another piece.

wine box bird-2
wine box bird
Book birds

My focus with this series is definitely whimsical scenes with birds. But I also want to create these with reclaimed materials upcycled into art. The most difficult part will be sourcing appropriate pieces of wood, though I’m also considering doing these on book covers.

It feels really good to be making new work.