Cut and paste

Poetry Collage

Collect words, make a chance poem, and stitch a poetry collage

The plan

Poetry collage made using fabrics and words

© Sarah Sanders

You're going to make a colourful collage. This will be a collage with a difference. As well as using fabrics and other things you have gathered to stick down and make your collage, you will also use words.

The collage will be a poem you can read and also look at!

You will start by gathering your inspiration as well as the fabrics, objects and words to use in your collage. Then you will stick it all together to make your masterpiece!

Step 1

Cardboard viewing frame

© Sarah Sanders

Get some inspiration for collecting words. Go for a walk in your local area. (I went to my local park).

Make yourself a viewing frame like the one shown above. It is cut out from a piece of card and will help you look at, and focus, on different areas. Through my viewing frame I looked at the trees.

Write down some words that describe some of the things you see. For example I wrote down 'tongue' and 'eye', because on the trunk of one of the trees I thought I saw something that looked just like that.

While you are out, collect things like twigs and leaves to use in your collage.

Step 2

Hamish Fulton
Wind through the Pines (1985, 1991)

  • When you get home look at your words. Make a little story about your walk in the park using your words.
  • Choose your favourite sentence from your story and write that out again. (You can always type it on your computer if you prefer, and print them out).
  • Cut all the words out from your sentence individually and put them into a bag.
  • Pick words out from the bag one by one. Put them together to make your poem. Because the words are picked out by chance, your poem will be unexpected and create interesting meanings.

Artists such as Richard Long and Hamish Fulton enjoy walking and often use words from their walks in their artworks. The picture above is an artwork by Hamish Fulton showing some of the words he collected from a walk. Does it give you an idea of what walking in the woods is like?

Step 3

Helen Beatrix Potter
The Mice at Work: Threading the Needle (c.1902)

Now start to put your collage together. You don't have to follow these instructions exactly...feel free to experiment and have fun making your own designs!

  • Take a red piece of felt for your background. Then take a yellow piece of felt and cut a rectangle (around 13 x 19 cm) and stick this down on your piece of red felt.
  • Mark a shape on your yellow felt with a pencil. (This can be a rectangle, a square or another shape). Thread your needle (like the mouse in the illustration by Beatrix Potter) and make running stitches along your pencil lines.
  • On pieces of brown and green felt draw shapes inspired by nature such as a leaf or tree trunk. Cut them out, sew running stitch onto the leaf and then stick them on your collage.

Step 4

Photograph showing twigs wrapped in wool

Detail of collage showing wrapped twigs © Sarah Sanders

Choose 2 or 3 of the twigs that you collected from your walk and wrap wool around them until they are completely covered.

Arrange them and sew them onto your collage so they are secure.

Step 5

Finished poetry collage

© Sarah Sanders

Now stick your cut out words onto your collage using glue. It doesn't matter what order you stick them in. You can stick them next to each other or all over your collage.

If you have photographs from your walk, stick them on too.

Have fun sticking on any extras you may have such as googly eyes or lolly sticks. This will add extra texture to your collage.

TA DAH! Your fantastic poetry collage is finished.

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