David Hornung's "Collage" workshop

It's Wednesday, and a week ago today I was in David Hornung's "Collage" workshop at the Crow Timber Frame Barn in Ohio. It was the second workshop that I've taken with David (davidhornung.com), the other being "Color: A workshop for artists and designers" back in 2009. Where the color workshop was predominantly a carefully programmed and exercise-focused experience, the collage workshop was almost entirely unstructured studio time with a general rhythm of slide show, discussion, working, and critique. We started Monday morning with a sideshow and discussion of collage as a medium and looked at examples from previous students. It was only then that I realized that several of my fellow students were "repeat offenders", returning for a second year for another week with David. He's a good and gentle teacher, and I find that he's particularly adept at creating a peaceful and contemplative environment in the studio. I think that might come in part from his own habit of working in silence. It was a real treat to work in the beautiful sunny upstairs studio at the Barn with something like a dozen people, all of whom were able to work in relative silence for hours. I confess that I went into this workshop hoping for more structured design exercises. [As it turns out, I'll be getting that in a two week design principles class with David next spring.] As a result of the open ended collage composition assignments ("Try to make 3-6 compositions per day") I was free to follow whatever path I found myself on. And, the paths turned out to be interesting. The image below show most of the work that I completed in the week. They're all small studies, but they revealed some interesting things about my thinking and aesthetic sense.

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A few observations:

  • In spite of my obsession with circles, when you put an Xacto knife in my hand I seem more likely to cut a straight line. I should probably be more thoughtful about my choice of tools, and mix things up a bit.
  • I'm analytical about my design (e.g, straight lines, numbers, math, balance, and carefully planned imbalance).
  • I really enjoy neutral backgrounds.
  • The drawn line combined with the cut/pieced/collaged line is beautiful. Others do this far better than I, but I love it in almost all instances.
  • Linear does not have to mean tight.
  • Nerdy is OK.
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Toward the end of the week, having completed so many analytical compositions, I intentionally created some very loosely brushed paper that I could cut up and rearrange. The images below show the result. I think they are pointing to possibilities--heck the whole week is pointing to possibilities.

In sum, it was definitely time well spent. Many thanks to David and my fellow collage warriors for creating such as supportive and productive environment.

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