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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label collage. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label collage. Show all posts

      Thursday, January 22, 2015


      My article 'Preserve your Garden Memories' just debuted in 'Country Gardens' magazine on newsstands, early spring 2015 edition. The article describes four of my garden collages and how I made them.
      Above, 'New York Memories', which includes cut and torn photos of plants in 'my' rooftop garden in NYC; dried rose hips, pressed hydrangea and marigold petals, Aronia and Virginia creeper berries, and other assorted goodies in a found frame. Except for the ginko leaves, all  plant material was borrowed from the  garden I tended for my condo building.
      'Traditional Canterbury' above honors the town in NH where my daughter and son-in-law live and where I go to scratch my itch to weed a big garden.  The town center encompasses one white steepled church with parish house, one white bandstand, a town hall, library, and country store. The Shaker village is sited a few miles away from the town center. Traditional as it is, the townspeople approved a solar collector farm to power the public buildings. See photo near top right. In this collage, I combined parts of photos with birch bark and twigs.
      One of my fave NYC garden spaces and one of my fave collages (now in the collection of Diane and Gary Hitzemann).
      Like the other two collages above, I combined pieces of many images I captured on and around the High Line with real dried plant material. In the case of public gardens I never borrow plant material; but I did cut leaves of northern sea oats which grow on the High Line, from the garden I tended on my roof top.
      Since March 2014 I live in Exeter NH near the coast. My latest collages reflect my own change of venue.
      No photos here; but torn paper, fabric, wool and discarded paper I found in the recyling bins of my NYC condo and actually paid to move to Exeter. My interest in trash has no bounds.

      Tuesday, August 19, 2014


      The front entrance to my new apartment building in Exeter NH was flanked by an arbor with 10 huge climbing hydrangea vines, about 20 years old. Gorgeous in full bloom, a home for nesting birds all year, it was welcoming even in winter when the strong trunks had a presence.
      Then management in its wisdom decided to redo the entrance to improve drainage, and some landscape architect decided the vines must go.
      What's a devastated artist to do except make a collage? Fortunately I had taken many photos of the arbor in both winter and spring, even pressed a few of the leaves and cut some seed heads when I knew it would disappear forever.
       I printed out my best images on  thin, matte, photo paper; then cut out elements from about 20 images and laid some out on a board the way I thought they should go. Notice stone wall on the bottom right.
      Then I changed things; one big image that was on the left is now on the right. I also reversed the stone wall...
      and glued small bits of real shale scavenged from the construction site to the image of the wall. Parts of the arbor appear in likely places, as do a few pressed leaves.
      The wall is almost complete and lo, a flock of birds have returned, singing near the top of the arbor, on bits of dried hydrangea umbels. (click on image to enlarge)
      Am I finished? Knowing when to stop is always an art in itself. Maybe I am, or....

      Sunday, May 4, 2014


      By the edge of the woods, the spring ephemerals are coming into bloom. Last Wednesday, a solitary Trout Lily was closed in the rain. Three days later I spied masses in full bloom.
      Fiddleheads pop up everywhere.
      And Marsh Marigolds burst open in the wetlands.
      A few shy Wood Anemones enchant me.
      But oh, how I miss the bright lights of New York.

      Above, the start of my latest collage using pieces of photos I took at night in the City and found papers. Click on image to enlarge.

      Friday, January 10, 2014


       Mid-November, flowers on my 18th floor roof garden are fading away, and I want to capture the scene in a New York City garden collage.
      When Other Ellen sees the finished piece she asks about the view of the twin towers in lavender on the left. Straight out of my unconscious mind, totally unplanned, but now I can see nothing else.
      To start, I pick a few last blooms before Thanksgiving and bury them in the same silica sand I've used as a desiccant for 25 years. Clusters of hydrangea 'Endless Summer', marigolds I raised from seed on my windowsill, blooms and buds of the rose 'Knock Out' will be covered by an inch of the silica for about a week.

       On a piece of black foam core, cut to fit an old frame painted black, I lay out some pressed flowers and leaves, photos of plants in the garden, and papers with a lavender design.
      I want the elements to burst out of the frame and not be constrained by it. I move stuff around and try another version, with the image of 'New Dawn' roses at the top of the frame and some cut hydrangea pics at the bottom left.
      I add photos crumpled with glue for a 3D effect, then start looking for berries in the garden.
      Clusters of dark blue Virginia creeper berries, rose hips, and red Choke cherries will dry in the arid air of my apartment.
      Below, a detail showing dried rose hips, choke cherries and marigold  petals.


      Friday, August 23, 2013


      Join me on Sunday Oct. 6 from 10-1:30 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden where I'll be teaching a collage workshop titled 'Branching Out'.
      The class description reads as follows:
      Whether you choose to create a forest, a copse, or a single tree, each student will make a collage to take home. Found natural materials like bark, twigs, pressed leaves, and specialty papers and photos will allow for individual expression. The starting point for your collage could be abstract or realistic: a tree of life, a favorite tree you climbed as a child, or a collection of trees here at the Garden.

      To learn details about registering, go to https://classes.bbg.org/CourseStatus.awp?&course=13FAEARTBOC

      The collage at the top is made of two images of tree bark, crape myrtle @ the BBG and allspice (Pimenta dioica) @ the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, plus bark peeled from a river birch on my roof, white birch from VT, and sycamore bark from a street tree on E. 80th St., NYC. It's 9" x 9"on paper.

      This collage will be exhibited next month at the Alaska Pacific University's ConocoPhillips Gallery, Anchorage in a drawing show with a botanical theme. I can hear the multitudes roar, YOU CALL THIS A DRAWING? Well, turns out that artists have a lot of leeway, so yes, the writing on the bark qualifies.

      Monday, June 10, 2013


      Collage on canvas, photos, acrylic, pressed leaves © ellen spector platt, all rights reserved.

      Not The High Line Park, but my collage version made from 37 images I captured during 15 visits in different seasons starting in 2009. I select, print on plain acid free paper and cut out features that I want to include.
      Starting with more images than I think I need I lay out the picture, below in its first approximation.
      Then add more images,
      including a man stooping down on the right, photographing hydrangea and tracks leading into the picture enhancing the  perspective. Nothing is glued yet.
      Move the man to the left, add a boy to the right, more Liatris on the left.
      Dab the canvas with blue acrylic paint using a dry paper towel. Glue down the skyline starting from the top overlapping as I go, then the rest of the images. Note below, both the boy and the man have been edited out. This skyline is my own, reconfigured from buildings I see from this fabulous walkway. The flowers I include don't all bloom simultaneously.
      I add pressed leaves of Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium) because they grow on The High Line. These come from my own garden of course. In the lower third, I add more images coated in acrylic gel medium crushed into 3D elements. See what I mean in the finished piece at the top.

      Tuesday, February 5, 2013


      Where are we on a frigid Superbowl Sunday?
      Need another clue?
      Gardening New Yorkers will immediately recognize the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
      We're at the Steinhardt Conservatory Gallery for the opening reception of the show "Visions of Nature". It's the annual showcase for adult students and instructors of the popular art classes at the BBG.
      After  years of teaching gardening classes there, I led my first art workshop this fall, in conjunction with the publication of my new book, Artful Collage from Found Objects. Two of my students entered works in the show, as did I, their Garden Memories in Collage.
      Above, Season Transition by Laura V. Osorio, collage with papers, bark, pressed plant materials.
       Above, Light in the Forest  and detail by Gail R. Levine, collage with papers, bark, cones, pressed plant materials.
      Above, Greening the Westside Rooftops by Ellen Spector Platt, photo collage with found papers and netting, mixed media. I'm always trying to add roofgardens to the city, one way or another.

      Also much admired was PD Packard's Wild Black Eyed Susan, ink and watercolor on Kozo Paper, from the Chinese brush painting class.

      These guys and I admire the photos from Karen Bell's classes in nature photography at the Garden. In fact I'm scheming how I could take one of her classes myself.
      For more information and a link to this show, see the article top left of this blog in the BYTE NOW
      And if you need another excuse to visit the garden now, the important bonsai collection in the same conservatory building offers this cherry in bloom among the specimens.
      Click on any image to enlarge.

      Sunday, January 13, 2013

      SEE US NOW

      Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos are traveling to promote our books. We would LOVE to see you at our various events and have you introduce yourself as a blog reader.
      Coming soon to a town near you (if you live near Boston):
      Ellen Spector Platt, Feb.9, 2pm at the Andover bookstore, Andover MA, a free collage lesson and demo to promote her book, Artful Collage from Found Objects. To learn more...
      (pictured above, 'The 7 Train', photo collage from the 5Pointz area of Queens)

      where we'll both be speaking. Photos above and below from recent shows.
      For Ellen Zachos on March 5th it's Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat.

      For Ellen Spector Platt on March 6th it's Adventures in Garden Collage.
      See us both if you stay over one night, listen to other speakers, see the show in all it's glory, and if you're feet aren't totally shot, visit the new Barnes Foundation Museum within easy walking distance of the flower show.
      To learn more about the show visit....

      Monday, December 3, 2012


      When still living in Pennsylvania I hosted a holiday home tour to benefit the public library. The rose hips from the multiflora rose, considered a noxious weed by local farmers, were free for the picking in my tree line and by roadsides. When used by handfuls they're appropriately showy. I paired the rose hip wreath with peppers from the market, placed on an apple-stacker. (photo © Alan & Linda Detrick, all rights reserved)
      My holiday wreaths are traditional only in that they use local materials, and my definition of local involves my grown children, hundreds of miles away where I have picking privileges.  No ribbon on this one either; evergreens from daughter Jen's place in rural NH. Birch bark from son Mike's place also in rural NH.  Osage Orange slices from my favorite tree in Riverside Park, dried in my NYC oven.
      I adorned The Lost Mitten Wreath with stuffed mittens and gloves, toys, and clumps of saved yarn from another project, in the right color tones of course. Fresh greens from Jen's again.
      And when you have no greens, do as Angela Chandler did for the Central Park Arsenal Wreath Show. She found a great use for the ubiquitous hangers from the dry cleaners. Fantastic!
      Below, not a constructed wreath on wire but a simple placement of fresh greens, birch bark, cones and dried Osage orange slices enhance this corn/cranberry relish; it's mostly stuff left over from other wreaths.
      As always, I save pruning chores for when I need the branches. Here an overgrown boxwood provided my greens, and the market all of my fruits and veggies. Notice how sparse the Winterberry; that was my whole crop the year I made the wreath. (photo © Alan & Linda Detrick, all rights reserved)
      As author of The Ultimate Wreath Book, Rodale Press, 1995, I was well aware of my influences when I created this collage for my new book, Artful Collage from Found Objects, Stackpole Books, 2012. I called it The Crown Jewels because it seemed like an ancient royal necklace, although it was constructed with locust pods, acorns and cones found on city streets. A little gold and copper spray paint helps. So I guess this is the Ultimate Wreath Collage.

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