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Collage Club for Adidas
21st October 2017

Q&A with Collage Club

– words by Anya

“I’m a sucker for sugar paper and a good sheet of corrugated card.”

Paper and card may not be your first thought when it comes to listing life’s pleasures. However, for collage enthusiast Steph Hartman, they’re practically irresistible. Add a load of Pritt Sticks, a generous helping of eyeball stickers, and some giant hole punches and you’ve pretty much got Steph’s idea of heaven.

Steph founded her workshop series Collage Club back in 2014, initially as a way of downsizing her magazine collection. The event proved a huge hit and Collage Club has since popped up all over London, as well as becoming a regular fixture at Lunar HQ on Hackney Road.

Collage Club encourage participants to “get making without having to produce perfectly proportioned, boring drawings,” which is a massive turn on for those who are terrified at the thought of creativity in its conventional form.

We were delighted to find 20 minutes in Steph’s frankly chaotic schedule to quiz her on the art of collage. In the interview that follows Steph chats about her collaging heroes, her weakness for left hand scissors, and where to go hunting for collage supplies.

Collage

Hi Steph! Start off by telling us a little about yourself. Not only do you run Collage Club but you also work at magCulture and write for Time Out…

Hello team Zetteler! That’s correct. I’m the events producer at magCulture and I write freelance for Time Out London. I studied Illustration at Central Saint Martins but knew pretty early on that it wasn’t the route for me and that my interest was in championing creative people doing things worth shouting about. Working in magazines, writing about events and producing my own allows me to bring people together and do just that.

What prompted you to set up Collage Club?

I originally started Collage Club back in 2014 as a way of downsizing the vast amount of paper and magazines I’d amassed since uni. At the time I lived in a warehouse in Bermondsey so I invited a group of friends over. They brought beers, I made us all food and we sat and collaged together for a few hours and had loads of fun.

I held several more workshops in the warehouse and with most of my friends being illustrators, designers or in some way creative, there wasn't much in the way of structure as they all had ideas they wanted to try out. Also, lots of them brought paper and magazines with them, scuppering my original plan to cut back my collection! Around this time I also started to run drop-in sessions across London and found it really interesting to see people who didn’t consider themselves creative getting really into it.

At the beginning of this year my friend Ayse introduced me to Lewis who runs Lunar HQ, a co-working space and pop-up shop on Hackney Road. He was keen to start running workshops from the space and I was keen to make Collage Club a more regular thing. I’ve been holding classes at Lunar ever since, as well as at other venues across town.

Stephanie Hartman

What do you love about collage?

The beauty of collage is that there’s no wrong way to do it and everyone approaches it in a totally different way. I can set the same task to a group of 20 people and know each will produce something completely unique. I also love the therapeutic nature of collage and how just a little cutting and sticking can transform someone’s mood.

Collage stands out from other crafts in that it is relatively accessible. You don’t need to spend a fortune on materials or work out of a specialist studio. Is that an aspect that appeals to you?

Absolutely! I strive to make Collage Club as inclusive as possible and the fact material costs are relatively low means anyone can get involved. The real joy for me is bringing in the social element and that’s what Collage Club facilitates.

How have people responded to the workshops?

The response so far has been great. The most common thing I hear is that people find it therapeutic and a creative way to switch off from work which I find super rewarding. Classes have been selling out a month or two in advance which is bonkers and I’ve been lucky enough to run workshops for some amazing clients including Adidas Studio Ldn, Riposte Magazine and Museum of London. Back in August I also got to host a Matisse-themed collaborative Collage Club at the Royal Academy Lates event. It was so dreamy!

Collage Club for Museum of London. Photography by Liz Seabrook.

What can we expect from Collage Club workshops, is there a rough format?

Typically the first half of a session is spent doing a few warm-up activities. I don’t think collage is nearly as daunting as picking up a pencil and being asked to start sketching but I think it always help to limber up those scissors fingers! We’ll do a few collaborative collages and some quickfire themed collages before moving onto a longer task for the rest of the session. This could be working from a still life, making collage dioramas and thinking about how they may work as mini set designs, or creating patterns using ink and collaging with those.

Quickfire collaging sounds intriguing! What does it involve?

Quickfire collaging is a great way to harvest immediate, dynamic collages without getting too precious about the results. One of my favourite activities to set is ‘exquisite corpses’ making, giving just five minutes for each section to be completed, before being passed on for the next person to work on it. Three minute portraits are also fun to do.

Collage Club for Riposte

What are your collage staples? We spied your pink collection on Instagram…

Left handed scissors! I’m a lefty and find it easiest using scissors meant for five year olds. I’ve been training myself up to use adult ones so I can buy neon pink ones like the pair you saw on Instagram. I couldn’t resist the pink tube of glue from Present and Correct, but really I’m all about Pritt Stick. It’s 100 per cent the best and I’m sticking with it. I love finding good shaped stickers online and using giant hole punches to make coloured circles. I’m also a sucker for sugar paper and a good sheet of corrugated card.  

Favourite shops in London to stock up on collage supplies?

Handily, the magCulture studio sits just behind the magCulture shop meaning I get first dibs on old stock pre-recycling. This also means that I have an incredible selection of magazine material to collage with. The bargain shops of south London are great for picking up packs of really good coloured paper and labels that are no longer manufactured, and Hobbycraft sells these rolls of eyeball stickers that I’ve become obsessed with.

Collages

Favourite collage artist?

It’s an obvious one but Matisse is my main man. I had a print of The Snail on my wall from the age of six so he was always going to be the one for me. Bringing it back to 2017 though, I really love the collages Ed Cheverton makes. They look like he has the best time piecing them together.

Discover Collage Club and their upcoming events. 
Contact:

Studio 3
De Beauvoir Block
92 De Beauvoir Road
N1 4EN

hello@zetteler.co.uk
+44 (0)20 3735 5855