All Torn Up

There’s something so natural about summer and working with one’s own hands. Whether digging in the garden or gathering vegetables at the farmer’s market and playing in the kitchen. This summer I took a special break from my everyday digital world and traveled to Santa Fe to get my hands dirty. Jump started my creativity in a collage art workshop led by contemporary collage artist, Melinda Tidwell. Melinda is interesting because she wasn’t always an artist. In fact, she started as a mathematician who then morphed into a career in computer graphics. Her style is both exacting, as you would expect from a mathematician, with a side order of whimsy. Melinda’s playfulness never allows her work to be boring. Her palette is quiet with pops of dark background and she primarily collages the pages and covers of found books. In addition to incorporating torn images, stitching, hole making, paint and pencil mark making to give a rich texture to her work.

Here are some of the takeaways from the recent workshop that I suspect are going to make it into the future visual direction for Entertaining Company.

Simple is best
The eye gets tired to try not to tire it out with extraneous color. In our events food world, that translates to offering a few knock out enticing buffet items rather than a confusing assortment.

Texture and shape can sometimes be more interesting than color
For entertaining tabletop décor, that can mean layers of white or cream and wood bowls and artisanal pottery.

Innovation is lifelong 
We started out each workshop day with a discussion of an established artist. Robert Rauschenberg, for instance, was noteworthy for never resting in one style or medium. Throughout his career Rauschenberg experimented with graphics, paint, assemblage, dance, and theater design.

Be a collaborator
For me, the best part of the workshop was when, at the end of each day, the other workshop members and I all critiqued each other’s work. There’s always so much to learn from another person’s point of view. Here are some of my own early attempts at collage and pics from the workshop.

To see more collage inspirations, follow Melinda on Facebook here. Melinda has a schedule of workshops in Santa Fe. We also hope that, in the future, Melinda will travel to Chicago for a collage lovers workshop here. Let me know if you are interested.

Happy creating!
~Wendy Pashman