What is a Collage?

written by: Pauline B. Ferrero
Date: January 22, 2010

Collage is a simple form of art craft that makes use of pictures, colors, and paper texture to bring out the idea or subject of the crafter. It’s primarily an assembly of various things (cut-outs, torn pieces, newspaper clippings, photographs, ribbons, etc.) that are altogether formed and glued to form another picture that carries the idea you have or the subject of your artwork that you want to project. The end product is a beautiful work of art that may become one of your best novelties.

The word collage comes from the French word coller’ which means to glue’.  This was coined by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso in the early 20th century when collage was already being recognized as another form of modern art.

Early Forms of Collage

Collage did not start out as a form of art itself. It was a branch out of art ideas that dates back to as far as 200 BC, when the paper was invented in China. However, it was still a far-fetched idea then to consider this a form of art.

This was also a technique used by calligraphers in Japan during the 10th century when they began to glue papers that contain the texts of their poems on surfaces. This technique reappeared in the 13th century in medieval Europe. Gothic Cathedrals were decorated with gold leaf panel appliqués. Religious images, icons, and even coat of arms were applied with gemstones and other precious metals.

It was only in the 19th century that collage became more recognized as another form of art. It was a noticeable method used by hobbyists in making memorabilia and even books.

What could be a good subject for collage?

Any, practically. You may want to make a collage that is realistic, abstract, or autobiographical. The key is that you make a central theme, even if it is an abstract, for your art craft.

If you wish to make a realistic collage, you may want to come up first with one object, figure or symbol that will serve as the central theme. Let’s say, you want to make a garden collage. So, you choose, for example, a flower as a central symbol. This may now serve as your big outline. Inside this big outline, you can now work on applying pictures, cut-outs and other materials that will create ideas and even stories of a beautiful garden. Then, you let your creativity work on the craft.

For an abstract collage, you might want to focus on colors and shapes that represent your idea or message. Scissors here are simply an option. For this craft, you may use fashion magazines because they have brilliant colors and unique patterns. Not to mention, they have glossy papers!

An autobiographical collage, on the other hand, would be another creative way to keep your memorabilia or to preserve the memories of a special occasion. You may use your own old photos or simply magazine pictures that resemble the special events in your life and arrange them creatively.

Who can make this craft?

The good thing about collage is that it is an art craft that people from various ages and with differing craft skills can make without requiring any background of painting or sculpting. J

This can be a simple and fun way to keep the kids working ‘peacefully’. It may also be a worthwhile way for teens to spend an afternoon bonding with friends or family . . . when there’s not much interesting movie or game to watch.J  It’s also a unique way for artists to convey their messages, either loudly or subtly, about their personal opinions on social issues and events of their time.

Here are a few samples of collage work from to give you ideas and to start the creative juice flowing…..

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