Cal’s First Decoupage Project

Collage Full Size

Late last year, I finally got around to creating something I’d had in my mind’s eye for many years: putting together a collage of some of the beautiful images I’ve collected over the years. Or, rather, decoupaging a collage of some sort.

From as long ago as the 1960s (!), I’ve collected all sorts of printed images – postcards from various museums I’ve visited, photos or reproductions of paintings featured in brochures or magazine articles or advertisements that I’ve run across, samples of wrapping paper, etc. And I’d simply stored those dozens (hundreds?) of images in boxes that I’d kept in the various closets and attics of the places I’ve lived throughout my post-college years.

Having been intrigued with collages for as long as I can remember, I had periodically retrieved some of the items from my collection of beautiful (or otherwise arresting) images and made them into collages to adorn the various offices where I’ve worked.

My first collage was a large one of printing industry-related images that I posted in the office at the mental hospital I worked at (while editing the hospital’s staff newsletter), back in the mid-1970s. Those images I de-assembled and still have, back in their boxes.

After getting my librarianship degree in 1979, I raided my trove of images to create another giant collage of of library- and reading-related images for my office at the Ponce Branch Library, where I worked for nine years. (the other day when I was visiting the lbrary, I checked to see if another collage I’d made – actually, a pair of them: portraits of dozens of authors, for the library’s Gay and Lesbian Collection – was still around. Yep, there they were, seven or eight years later, still there. They look better than I’d remembered them:

G and L Collage No. 1Gay and Lesbian Collage No. 2

Later, in my final job during my library career, I put together another book-related collage for my office at the Peachtree Branch. Retrieved from my closet just now, and propped up for a photo (which I can’t seem to figure out how to crop properly):

Ptree Library Office Collage

Having a few years back become intrigued with decoupage as a way of preserving and displaying such arrays of miscellaneous bits of beautifulness, at some point after retiring from my 30-year library career, I figured it was high time I rescued from their hidden-awayness yet another batch of images that I’d not used in those previous collages.

At a used book sale somewhere, I had happened across a cheap copy of a decoupage how-to book. Several months afterward, I finally got around to reading that book. And several months after that, I bought the supplies needed to actually make and decoupage a collage. (None of my previous collages had been preserved this way.)

The photo above at the top of this blogpost is what I came up with. As there was zero wall space in my house to mount yet another anything, I remembered that I’d long wanted to do something with the boring, blank inside door of the medicine cabinet in my bathroom. Maybe, thought I, a small collage would be slightly more interesting than merely painting the door or covering it with fabric?

Here’s a photo of the relatively modest scale of my first decoupaged collage:

Collage in Context.JPG

For a first foray into the medium of collage, it was easier to create this than I’d expected . I hope to eventually embark on making a few more collages, hating the thought of how many other delightful images remain inside those boxes in the closet of my study,  hidden from the appreciative gaze of human visitors to my humble abode – but wondering where the heck I might display them. I suppose I could decoupage the panels in the doors of some of my closets? Decoupage a fire screen for my living room, perhaps? And there’s always the garden shed….

We shall see. My hope is that one day I will have found a way to rescue from the dark recesses of those boxes a lot more of the marvelous images residing therein.