Collage, from the French word collés or découpage meaning to glue or stick.

But collage can also include other media such as painting, drawing, and three-dimensional elements, adding to both its appeal and effect.

This form of assemblage art is perfect to help motivate new work or unblock those times when we all lack inspiration – and it works perfectly for textile and fibre artists.

So I thought I’d share some of my collage attempts along with one that resulted in a piece that’s currently touring Australia in the Ozquilt Network sponsored Australia Wide 8 exhibition – so this technique does work, if you give it the time and patience it deserves.

Colour is one of my abounding motivators, so these were all inspired not only by colour but also by line, shape, and pattern, so I included any elements that simply took my fancy or that worked well with each other.

The hardest step is to begin.

Choose a colour or theme, then go through magazines, cutting out images, shapes and patterns until you feel you can begin to assemble.

For this step, I like to use watercolour paper or something a little heavier that’ll support the glue and cuttings – plus sometimes, I actually like to include my doodles and drawings directly onto that same page, so make it a large piece of paper.

I also often include a series of small squares that I colour from light to dark or dark to light – pulling from the colours in my collaged work – and there’s your ready-made colour palette.

This technique should be fluid and loose, accommodating everyone’s uniqueness, so don’t hesitate to change what I do and make it your own.

Begin by simply laying your main images down, then build around, on top and underneath them.  Layer, use unusual angles, and contrasting shapes until you feel happy where this is taking you.

Add text if you wish – I always think that’s a bonus.

Here are some images of collage work I really should re-visit – I still love the colours and shapes – and that’s a good indication if it still resonates with you after a length of time.

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Collage.4.cathyjackcoupland Collage.5.cathyjackcoupland











And finally, the last collage just had to include green, didn’t it?










How I love green, but look at the inspiration – the shapes, colours and patterns, then look at the finished work – it’s pretty much all there, with a few personal hallmarks added for good luck in the finished work below.


Collage – not a difficult technique at all, but one that gives back tenfold if you’re willing to put the time into it.

Give it a go, then think about how you’d go about expressing that work in fabric and stitch.

It’s an exciting challenge.


All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.