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It was love at first snip when Maria Rivans made her first collage, and the fine artist is sharing her passion with a new book that makes the craft even easier. Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage, on shelves now, is full of exactly what it sounds like: an eclectic mix of vintage-inspired imagery that is perfect fodder for your next collage. 

But how do you even approach collaging in the first place? According to Rivans, it’s all about getting creative with the things you have, practicing patience, and having fun with it. Here, she shares her tips for creating your own cut-up-and-pasted creation.

Select Your Source Material

While you could easily make a charming collage using just the images from Rivans’s book, she recommends taking a look at what you have on hand at home: catalogs, magazines, postcards, and greeting cards are all great items to use. And a bit of outside-the-box thinking helps, too. “If you have a jewelry catalog, you can just cut out gems, or if you have a fashion magazine, you can cut out all the legs you can find,” says Rivans. 

Cut Everything Out

While some artists favor laissez-faire tears, Rivans is a perfectionist, taking as much time as she needs to snip her images with precision. “I find that process really meditative,” she says. “It slows everything down.” Cutting all of your pictures at once makes it easier to plan your artwork.

Map It

Rivans always lays out her collages before even thinking about gluing them, and she often works on a few pieces at once. “I revisit the work time and time again, and I move things around,” she says. Sometimes images intended for one collage end up in another—that’s the beauty of a fluid creative process. To make sure that a gust of wind or a misbehaving pet doesn’t mess up your plan, keep things in place with Blu Tack.

Glue It Down

Once you’re fully satisfied with how your collage looks, it’s time to set it permanently in place. A standard glue stick works just fine, but if you’re willing to splurge, Rivans recommends Matte Gel Medium, which dries flat and doesn’t yellow. It might take a bit of time to figure out the right amount of glue needed to keep your images in place without the sticky stuff accidentally oozing out the sides, but you can always try again. “Just have fun with it,” she says. “I always say: Make from your heart and enjoy yourself.”

Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage
‘Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage’, Laurence King Publishing ($20)

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