Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Collage Nature

A Green Thumb

Diana MacKenzie

During our preparation this week for the next Public Art Project,  I was reminded of how much we love using magazine paper for programs here at The Carle.  From time to time we’ll acquire a stack of cooking or home magazines from someone’s attempts to clear out their clutter.  We cut out interesting patterns or textures and organize them in baskets by color (plus one basket just for fun multi-colored patterns!) and set them aside until we might need them.

We’ll be using magazine papers (as well as other types of paper) for the upcoming project The Shape Game, which starts this Wednesday the 18th. I took a moment to play around with the clippings when I was photographing the baskets, and very quickly made a color wheel.

The magazine papers are so much fun to arrange and sort!  It’s just another great way to explore color, pattern and visual texture with children.

By coincidence, one of our regular visitors (and mom of three) Sara G. brought by a whimsical tree she recently made with magazine clippings and other materials she had at home.  This is a great example of a project you could work on as a family or a class to really customize to the style.  Bright colored papers and drawing tools make a ‘loud’ tree,  or just pencil drawings on neutral colored papers make a ‘quiet’ tree.  Or  go all out and make a color wheel tree!

Sara collaged both sides of every leaf on the tree with a mix of patterns and colors.  The leaves are ‘laminated’ between pieces of packing tape and attached to the branches with floral wire.  They still have a lot of movement and when I was photographing the tree in our orchard, the leaves were flapping in the breeze just like the real thing.  The branch is attached to a block of wood, which she collaged with paper and brown beads (to represent the roots).

I even love the surprise birds’ nest she tucked into one of the branches!

Do you save magazine clippings for collage at your home or in your classroom? What’s your sorting system?

Thanks for sharing your project with us Sara!  


Diana, smiling wearing an orange scarf and brown shirt.

Diana MacKenzie

Public Art Program Educator from 2007-2016, Diana has a BFA in Printmaking from Syracuse University and creates mixed-media works inspired by her travels, combining her interests in printmaking and sculpture. She received her M.A.T. from Mount Holyoke College in June 2017, and continues teaching visual arts to children and adults.