Japanese collage garden panel idea

After moving to a new house last year, lots of great life changes and a surreal early peak of Spring sun this weekend, I’m getting a bit of a creative pang to, well, create something visual that’s completely different. That’s different as in ‘I’ve never done this before; let’s give it a go,’ not ‘blimey, this is a ground breaking world first artistic idea.’ I’m also keen to do something creative that’s hands-on and offline. Paper, wood, glue and collage on a scale larger than a computer screen.

The garden at the new house is a long, narrow area filled with gravel with a high brick wall running the length of the right-hand side. It’s empty; a blank canvas. Opportunities abound to try things out.

It will be split into sections, all still connected, with one area kept as to experiment with some ideas inspired by Japanese gardens (particularly Helena Atlee’s The Gardens of Japan). Here’s a flavour:

Red azalea beside miniature bridge
Photo: Red azalea by bridge by –char–

Japanese garden, Kew Gardens
Photo: Japanese garden, Kew Gardens by Sebastian Crump

Tree in Middle Flass Lodge
Photo: Tree in Middle Flass Lodge (by me)

To cover up dull creosoted fence panels, and liven things up with vibrant colour, I’d like to make visual panels using torn-up paper from Japanese magazines. The more colourful, vibrant and bubbly, the better. Big fonts, bright blues, reds, pinks and whites, landscapes, rural scenes, technology, gadgetry – the whole caboodle. While looking for inspiration, I found some brilliant collage work by Shigeo Sato, including this live painting:

[ Africa Africa ] - Live Painting 100 x 80 cm on canvas (C)2009 Shigeo Sato
[ Africa Africa ] – Live Painting, 100cm x 80cm on canvas, © 2009 Shigeo Sato

Now I realise these vibrant colours, patterns and collages create an abrasive feel – the opposite of the peaceful, contemplative atmosphere you would typically associate with a Japanese garden. But, hey, I fancy having a go and think it could add interest and colour, particularly as backgrounds behind the plants and trees.

The panels will be old wardrobe doors, 140cm x 56cm:

Door panel leaning against a wall

After gluing the paper to the panel, the idea is to use something like boat varnish to seal the collage, making it watertight and hence suitable for displaying outside.

Phew, that’s a long post. I’m thinking that if I write about it here, in public, I will actually make the thing, not just talk about it.

Next – to source lots of magazines with colourful adverts and images that I can use in the collage. Do you know where I could find a stash of magazines that might be suitable? Maybe you have a box in your loft that you want to get rid of?

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