Marina Chamberlain blogs about how a collage artist found treasure

Marina Chamberlain blogs about how a collage artist found treasure

As a collage artist, I found a treasure trove during the prolonged pandemic lockdown in Melbourne. Flea markets are my favourite source for finding treasures that I can use for creating my collage artworks, but I have been unable to visit these during our lockdown. Miraculously, the flea market came to me.

A treasure trove: books, books and more books

One day walking in my neighbourhood, I came across a trestle table with boxes of old books. No one was there. However, a notice said that we should help ourselves and take as many as we wanted for free. 

There were old picture books and text books, as well as technical books with interesting graphs, diagrams and photos. There was even a book from 1856, which I eagerly grabbed. 

This was all collage gold for me, so I stocked up. I began a new series of works using these amazing papers and images.

The creative challenge of collage

When working with collage, the style and subject matter is very much restricted by the resources you have. Unlike in painting, where the artist manipulates the paint to express a subject or concept, with collage, the source material manipulates the artist. 

This means you need to get creative with the choices in front of you, which is what makes collage so interesting. You never know what you’re going to get.  And what a great way to hone compositional and design skills while having fun layering a diverse range of papers.

Horticulture comes to the fore

Even though an artist’s style may change to accommodate new material, there is usually some distinguishing feature to identify that artist. In my case, it is the use of botanical images. 

I have several horticultural resources from my past work in this field. I’m so happy I didn’t discard them when relocating to Melbourne from Auckland, New Zealand.  They now get a new lease on life as part of an artwork, together with all those other beautiful old papers.

Marina Chamberlain blogs about the inspiration for her new collages
A Meditation, collage
The Singing Bird Will Come, collage
As Time Goes By, collage
Bright Moments, collage
Musical Interlude, collage