Fabric Collages by Elsie Dentes


*A foundation for your collage that is sturdy, such as card stock or corrugated cardboard – a clean pizza box works well
*Oil pastels, crayons, or colored pencils
*An assortment of scraps of fabric that vary in tactile texture, visual texture, pattern, scale, and color dependent on what type of bird you wish to portray
*Fine pebbles, sand, seeds, grass, and /or twigs to create a simple environment for your bird
*Craft glue that is water soluble and dries clear
*A half-inch wide brush for applying the glue
*Sharp scissors that cut fabric well
*A plastic container or tub over which you can shake off excess materials


This is the most important component of creating art – look carefully. Many people see with their brain. We have preconceived ideas of what a tree or a bird looks like. These are conventional images in our minds. Artists train their eye to override these ingrained images and to see purely through their eyes and then record what they see, and/or what it makes them feel.

In this exercise, see purely through your eyes.

Observe the bird itself. Consider its overall shape, then the sub-shapes that form its position. Notice the colors and how they change depending on how the light falls on the different parts of the bird. Perceive the visual texture of the wings versus the head or chest or legs.

Finally, consider the bird’s environment. What is the typical habitat for your bird species? How much of its environment do you want to include? Is it on a nest? If so, what is the nest made of? Do you want to include a background…perhaps a city skyline, a park setting, or some cattails at the water’s edge?

Copyright 2008 Elsie P.L. Dentes