Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Collage Nature

Collaborative Window Collage

Meg Nicoll

Once a month we offer a drop-in project in addition to our ongoing Everyday Art Project. At a recent Special Sunday event we took inspiration from the landscape to create a collaborative installation exploring light and color.

Using photographs and our view of the Holyoke Range as a reference, we drew a portion of the range’s ridgeline onto paper. By creating a grid over the drawing and then a corresponding and expanded grid on the window, we recreated our drawing on a large scale. We used black masking tape to create a bold line across our windows, echoing the hills visible on the horizon.

We invited guests to experiment with applying papers to the surface of the window using a paintbrush and liquid laundry starch.

Shapes and colors combined to create patterns and, in some cases, characters in stories that played out across the windows.

The light shining through the papers created a rainbow of color on the floor of the Art Studio.

With the help of many people we filled the Art Studio with bright colors.

We experimented with using both tissue paper and cellophane on the windows and would recommend using tissue paper applied with liquid laundry starch. While the cellophane has a beautiful transparency, it is not porous and as the laundry starch dried it flaked off and the cellophane peeled. Also, because cellophane does not break down, it is a material we try to recycle and use in multiple projects. The tissue paper stuck to the window nicely and came off relatively easily with soapy water and a scrub brush a week later.

Inspired by what we learned from this project, and by our recycled cardboard boxes, we used the leftover cellophane and tissue paper to create a window display that invites further experiments in color mixing as well as continuing to engage with the museum’s beautiful natural surrounds.

Update: 6/27/2018: We no longer use store-bought liquid laundry starch in the Art Studio and instead use AP certified non-toxic Elmer’s Art Paste. 


Meg smiling in the Art Studio.

Meg Nicoll

Art Educator at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art from 2016 to 2023, Meg enjoys working with artists, educators, and people of all ages to create opportunities for art-making.