Whoa, it’s been awhile!

It kills me to not have posted in so long. It’s about time to get back to it.

The last place I left off was beginning to work on project #3. My timeline is off by quite a bit. I projected that by March I would have completed my 30 day project. It’s probably time to push that back. My pace is slower these days, so we’ll just work one project at a time. Maybe I’ll be done by August! Good heavens, I hope before then though!

Project #3 incorporates a snazzy vintage blazer & belt.

Sketch Vintage blazer + belt

Stay tuned for steps on placing everything together.



Jewelry vignette with a twist.

So, project 2 varies a little from the previous vignettes (clothing collages) I’ve made. This one incorporates materials that aren’t strictly clothing or accessories. It’s more like what you see when you think of the word collage.

One big goal I have is to always try to eventually incorporate my digital work into things I make, if they aren’t already digital. With this project, I’ve added some other elements, such as digital aspects and items & pieces that aren’t clothing or accessory related.

This time around, the photographs don’t depict step by step. This is what I did and the items & supplies I used:


  • large doily
  • lace trim
  • vintage, fake costume jewelry*
  • needle & thread
  • thumbtacks
  • drawer pull
  • digital image
  • Modge Podge
  • E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive
  • frame
  • black acrylic paint
  • paint brush
  • Q-tip
  • canvas backing


  1. Fit the doily and lace trim to the frame backing, decide on a layout for every element in the collage
  2. Adhere canvas backing to the frame backing
  3. Paint the frame w/ black paint
  4. Glue down all pieces with E6000
  5. Print and slice up the digital image to fit the collage, adhere & cover w/ Modge Podge
  6. Place thumbtacks and thread, use a Q-tip to fasten thumbtacks with glue if needed
  7. Pop into the frame and wha-lah!

*I did some research about costume jewelry to try to place the necklace in this piece to an era. I gathered that it was most likely made in the 60s as part of a revival of Victorian style (most likely revived from the 1910s). The Victorian Revival jewelry is typically in the form of plastic, resin or engraved & antiqued metalwork and other hardware. Now, when I mention fake costume jewelry this is what I mean. You’ve got cream of the crop jewelry such as diamonds, gold and silver. Then you’ve got costume jewelry, very upscale-looking replicas that are highly collectible. However, many costume jewelry movements stemmed from other jewelry types such as plastics, color, cameos & figures. Lastly, there is jewelry made very cheaply and falls below the class of real costume jewelry. This jewelry is probably the most common kind, found in department stores (outside of the glass case) or mall shops.

Some information about costume jewelry courtesy of a book titled, “vintage jewelry design: classics to collect & wear,” by Caroline Cox (2010).

Doily & lace trim Stapled canvas to frame backing Digital imageJewelry vignette/ collage


The figurine project.

I’ll admit, this one is a tad experimental; I let myself have free reign.

This project does a few things. These are my perceptions & ideations formed while making this piece:

  • to display items in a new light
  • why do we make knick knacks?
  • can time & money be better spent on manufacturing other things?
  • to poke fun at something (knick knacks, figurines) that serves no important purpose
  • what is important in life, how have we changed as a culture over time?
  • the mock environment, although kitschy, imitates a sense of realism with green hills, foliage and the relative size and positioning of the figurines; the simple shapes and hue structure create a sort of ‘contemporary realism;’ the hardware and wire contribute to the sense of the figurines being ‘tacked up’ or ‘bluntly fastened down’ and speak to the fact that they are puropsely placed on the wood, much like they are purposely placed as display pieces on bookshelfs and countertops, etc…
  • what kind of environmental impact is there to manufacture products like these figurines?
  • as humans, this is a representation of our habits–we feel the need to produce in a certain manner, as we also have the need to be mindlessly entertained with the comfort of having knick knacks
  • to explore the ironic beauty of ‘junk’ Americana
  • this particular junk Americana speaks to wildlife and rustic environments
  • if the talent and skill used to create figurines was channeled elsewhere, could you imagine the possibilities?
  • clutter is clutter, let’s face it, knick knacks fall under this category–clutter creates unnecessary chaos

In any case, if the above list doesn’t register with you, at least this is something odd to look at. Develop your own opinion of what this piece says to you. Just in case you’re wondering how to make this, here’s what I did:

  1. gather supplies needed :
    1. wood backing (plywood) with dimensions of a frame
    2. a frame (found object) to display the piece when finished
    3. foam board
    4. paint (acrylic or craft paint)
    5. brushes for painting
    6. figurines–I chose animals that could be found in a real environment of relative size from various thrift and antique shops (this exhibits how readily available these figurines are from many years ago until the present; these are also found objects)
    7. glue or ModPodge
    8. other materials for attaching the figurines such as wire and nails
    9. paper and pencil, pen and/ markers for sketching
    10. tools to chisel figurines, if needed
    11. manipulated photographs of ground material (trees, plants, sky, etc.); this is something specific to my medium of choice, add a touch of what makes you unique as an artist
  2. paint figurines
  3. sketch layout of figurines and where to place foam board
  4. cut foam board layers to create the ‘ground’ for the figurines as well as to add depth (do this how you prefer, if you would like to portray an abstract environment, do so as you see fit)
  5. adhere foam board to wood backing
  6. fasten figurines with glue, add other embellishments such as wire and nails if you’d like
  7. lastly, put on the remaining elements, such as photographs or drawings and anything else you see fit
  8. my final piece is very heavy, so I’m not going to hang it on the wall, but if you’d like, hang it and then place the frame you have around it
  9. title your piece, mine is: ‘Americana Unearthed: Trophies of Our Time’

Finally, I leave with this. Exercise your mind and unleash what you’ve got. Who cares if it doesn’t turn out? If anything, you will have learned what NOT to do. Then you can go forth and keep improving your process.


Old collared shirts and neck accessories.

This is the result of the project from Tuesday.

I’ve framed an old collared button-up shirt and vintage tie in an embroidery hoop. The idea of the overall product is something you can display on the wall or place on a bookshelf, as wall art or a unique piece of decor that tells a story. The process of making it is ongoing. Tweaks will need to be made to really make it seamless. Right now, experimentation is the name of the game.

Collared button-up and vintage tie in an embroidery hoop  Collared button-up and vintage tie in an embroidery hoop

Collared button-up and vintage tie with window

Normally, I refrain from using the flash on my camera. The lighting in my good ol’ house is just terrible though. Sometimes, to get the most accurate picture, using the flash is necessary. On another note, I’m pondering the idea of completely removing the outer ring of the embroidery hoop. However, I have yet to master the execution of doing just that while making it look good. Project execution has never been my strongest suit. I do have to say though that over the years I have improved a bit. The most important part of executing an idea and actually making it is patience. Among this, doing it the right way, or the correct way, is equally as important.

Here is another piece I completed awhile back.

Collared button-up and bowtie  Collared button-up and bowtie in a picture frame

Collared button-up and bowtie with window


Framing clothing & accessories.

I like to call this a clothing collage or an accessory collage. To go a step further, I like to call this a vignette. My husband thinks I’m crazy to call it that, but hey, it’s fitting in my mind!

Firstly, let’s clarify. The word vignette associates with the following:

  • a brief evocative description, account or episode
  • a small ornamental design (or graphic) filling a space in a book or carving
  • portray (someone)
  • a short descriptive literary sketch
  • a brief incident or scene

The way I think can be explained like this:

Throughout the years, I have focused my artistic efforts on collage techniques and incorporating these techniques into my pieces in numerous ways. With the vignette, I have the opportunity to combine my love of fashion with collage. In this instance, the ‘collage’ aspect is three dimensional. I’m not pasting and gluing pieces together. I am pairing different articles of clothing and accessories to a canvas. The end result becomes a collage of textures, color, patterns and form.

For this project, I’m using:

  • a men’s collared button-down shirt
  • a vintage neck tie
  • a large, wooden embroidery hoop

The construction of this piece is going to take a little finesse. I’ll check back with you when I have it complete!


The changing course of an artwork.

This is a piece I completed in college. Its journey from ideation to completion was an interesting one.

First things first. This work would look best printed fairly large, maybe as a mural for a wall. It could be applied to fabric as well. In my opinion, the bigger the better. The hue structure is dense; it really packs a punch. If it is applied in large scale, the hue and pattern will visually be more spread out. The piece is busy, also another reason why it’d look its best printed large scale.

This was the first draft. The idea originated with collage techniques in mind. I love fashion illustration and I knew I wanted to incorporate it somehow. Bustling city scenes are included to evoke the sense of movement and many things happening at once, much like what you’d find in the city.


First stage


Here are the fashion figures before I added them to the collage.



There are more elements added and layered to this next one.


Second stage


And again…


Third stage


I took out elements of each image above and came up with this; the final product.


Final stage


Different elements used in this collage process were:

  • photographs
  • maps
  • fabric
  • graphite drawings

Making this piece was tricky. What you call writer’s block applies to this situation, but perhaps as artist’s block. At the time, I was pleased with the end result. However, maybe another draft awaits. Sometimes a work is never truly complete.



The puzzle pieces to an artwork.

The steps I took to create the artwork, ‘Time is Preserved.’

1913 vintage postcard, artwork inspiration

Front of postcard, ‘A Joyous Birthday’ is seen faintly at the top


1913 vintage postcard, artwork inspiration

Back of postcard

Let’s start with the inspiration. I was inspired by a vintage postcard dated 1913 from Kansas City, MO. The front title reads, ‘A Joyous Birthday,’ below it is an image of a beaming, beautiful rose. Other than the saturated hues and lovely detail in the image, the rose speaks to me for many different reasons. As an alumna of Alpha Gamma Delta, the rose is our fraternity flower and embodies our ideals. A rose is indicative of beauty just by being a rose. It is a popular icon, symbol, image and physical flower represented throughout the ages in many forms. Stereotypical beauty is suggested through the presence of a rose. To conclude the list, the biggest thing that strikes me about a rose is that the image has never changed. Roses always remain pristine and timeless in any representation, even 100 years ago.

Sketches and drafts for artwork

Sketches and drafts for artwork


'Time is Preserved,' copyright Kalli Payment

'Time is Preserved,' copyright Kalli Payment

‘Time is Preserved’

With inspiration comes ideation, meaning the formulation of ideas or concepts. I wanted to further build on the idea of a rose (it’s image, what we see conveyed in culture and media) and it’s timelessness. In the piece, the rose remains as beautiful as it ever was, but the elements around it have changed from the quintessential image represented on the postcard, for instance. There are constraints modeled with wire, staples and tape. These ideas of constraint contrast the beauty and joy brought on by the presence of the rose. They also speak to how the world has changed overtime; in 1913 things were more simple and more elegant. Today, some things are simple and elegant, but the world is drastically different. There’s more noise and things are more disrupted. We’ve also evolved. Bringing elements normally not associated with a rose to this piece is suggestive of that as well. The clock represents time. Thus, time is preserved despite the changes and constraints in todays world. Even today, we still look at a rose and associate it with beauty. Its image will continue to prevail years to come.

'Time is Preserved,' copyright Kalli Payment

'Time is Preserved,' copyright Kalli Payment

'Time is Preserved,' copyright Kalli Payment

'Time is Preserved,' copyright Kalli Payment

'Time is Preserved,' copyright Kalli PaymentThen, the piece has to be put together! As mentioned, mixed media is my friend. To create this piece, I combined digital elements, with foam board, marker, electrical tape, matte medium, paint, duct tape, wire, staples, a dresser drawer pull and a necklace. Oh, and the clock! It took a few tries to get the imagery right in Photoshop. Once I finished that, I bought a circular cutting tool to cut out the rose and attach to the back of the clock. Then I attached parts of the layered rose to foam board and tacked to the large backing (also foam board). I laid the tape down, applied some paint then placed the stem and leaves on top. Lastly, the staples, marker streaks, matte medium wire and adornments at the top of the clock were applied.


What have you learned so far?

A continuation of the previous post, All about collage.

Comparing and contrasting the elements of projects you’ve completed will help evaluate your progress and clarify what you’ve learned. Each image below links to it’s primary post with the exercise/ project directions. I’ve also listed the important aspects of each assignment to summarize.

Who's there? collage pieces

Journal collage pages

  • what defines you?
  • when looking at images in magazines (or elsewhere), what draws your eye?
  • once you start collaging, keep going until you’re satisfied
  • DO NOT get discouraged
  • was it hard to glue or fasten stuff down?
  • the assignment post connects to this post: Step #1 & collage.


Adulthood: black/white collage

  • eliminate color, stick to just blacks, grays and whites
  • try not to use personal, sentimental items or family photos
  • try shopping at a thrift store for your collage materials
  • use specific periods in your life: childhood, youth and adulthood as inspiration
  • find symbols, elements and images that speak to who you are/were or represent your person; your personality during each time period listed above
  • division of time (childhood, youth and adulthood) sets a confinement for each collage; sets a limit to the subject matter, creates constraint within each collage-this helps build meaning and brings substance to the work you make
  • the assignment post connects to this post: Black/white collages, round 2.


Charles Schultz quote collage

  • working with words and images simultaneously works both sides of your brain; an important aspect of bringing out your true creativity
  • without both sides of the brain contributing to things you do, the ‘WOW!’ effect will be underwhelming; you will not have achieved your full potential
  • this exercise places more emphasis on integrating letters, symbols and words into the collage-while you may have used these elements in the two exercises/ projects above, it wasn’t the underlying intention
  • bringing intention and purpose to works you create gives meaning and ultimately more authenticity to your work
  • the assignment post connects to this post: Words & images, round 2.

Creativity discovery 101, or as I like to call it, the something good 101:

The progression starts with defining yourself. Based on those aspects, images, hue, pattern, texture, things, items, pictures, etc… begin to resonate with you. From here, instigating challenges (as opposed to just making a pretty picture because you like the way it looks using images and things you like) by making constraints and bringing purpose to your projects starts to work its way in. Once you get momentum, you’ll see the progression in what you’ve created, but also in how you think and how you view things. This same principle can be applied to works other than artworks; writing, music, leadership, the list could go on and on. If you’re a musician for instance and your working to become more creative, you may not necessarily relate with images or hue, but you’ll relate to other aspects that deal with music specifically. For the musicians out there, would composition and instrument techniques fall under this category; I’m not an expert or even a novice when it comes to creating music. Whatever comes before novice is where I’d place myself!

Next up, another dissected work. I always think I’ll be able to fit stuff into a future post. However, I get started and the next thing I know, I’ve written two pages without covering the next item on the to-cover/discuss list. Blogging has been a very good learning experience for me. My plan is to alter the organization of future posts and stick to discussing one particular thing, instead of two or more. After all, I enjoy writing and sometimes it takes over. Oh, not that it matters, but I’m going to lessen the amount of tags in each post. Apparently assigning 50 tags to a post isn’t neessary. Thanks for hanging in there with me.


All about collage.

Curious to learn more about the inner workings of collage?

On the Post Extras. page, I’ve recently added some new stuff. You’ll find information about different collage techniques as well as some revolutionary collage artists that have since set the stage for current artists and the like. Today I’m going to dissect some of my previous works, particularly ones that incorporate collage. I’ll compare and contrast these with the exercises and projects we’ve completed thus far. Remember, if you’re just joining us, you can find all previous posts in the calendar on the right hand side of the page or you can scroll through the post queue.

While reading this, remember the importance of collage. Collage is experimental, forgiving and really emits a sense of freedom. It might be fair to say that making a collage is easier than drawing on a blank canvas (for those who do not draw regularly). It is perhaps one of the easier ways to exercise your creativity or even discover it!

Here is a project from 2011. I called it ‘Escape.’ I completed this as a college assignment. It’s important to note that the process of creating this piece resonated with me more than other things I’d done in the past.

'Escape' framed on the wall

‘Escape’ framed on the wall


'Escape,' copyright Kalli Thurgood Payment


As a fresh college student, I had never made art on the computer with the exception of design layout for yearbook classes in high school using Adobe InDesign. It wasn’t until late in my sophomore year that I really grasped the concept of Adobe Photoshop and, later, Adobe Illustrator. Before going to college I had:

  • a passion for fashion and fashion design
  • a liking for art and design, specifically drawing and painting
  • a liking for scrapbooking and sewing
  • a liking for photographing things and places
  • moved, but also traveled
  • worked part time, went to school full time
  • a liking for pop culture, namely music and movies (fashion too!)
  • played softball (disclaimer: this was for a very brief time in high school and I apologize to my fellow teammates for really not knocking the ball out of the park…)
  • I could probably list more, but it’s almost hard to remember without researching via searching through photos and mementos

Working through finding my creative being, my something good, I quite literally stumbled on things and advanced on others. Ultimately, the discovery I made is that mixed media captures my interest more than any other media alone. This is a very broad statement. Here’s a more concentrated list of individual mediums I like (combine one or more to create mixed media):

  • collage and all collage techniques
  • paint
  • graphite
  • charcoal
  • pastel
  • ink
  • found objects
  • digital
  • adhesive
  • matte medium
  • metal
  • wire
  • again, I may have left out a few items

Just in case…

'My get up and go just got up and left.'Is this happening to you, right now? If so, it’s more than normal. There are many components and parts that plug into the creativity machine to make it work. I don’t want to lose you in the midst of the various topics discussed so far. Just remember to keep in mind what defines you, your personality, what you like, what you don’t like. Later, I’ll describe how I figured out that mixed media is my thing. There’s a lot more to the story than a list of things I did in high school and types of media I’m drawn to. Stick with me, you’ve got this!

Let’s look at the piece a little closer. Here’s a sample of scanned images from working on the project. Included in the piece are elements of everything shown, with the exception of the ruler.

Pieces of 'Escape'

Pieces of ‘Escape’

I would classify these pieces under found ‘household’ objects, as far as medium type is concerned. I used crayon on the scribbles. The overall piece is digital, so I’d say that’s the main medium.

After collecting the images of items I wanted to use, I combined them in Photoshop with photographs I’d taken; the balloon, the person on the ladder (that’s me) and the head (that’s my husband) to create a photomontage. The effects of collage techniques were all achieved in Photoshop. I did not create a collage prior to working in Photoshop.

This piece is available in prints on Society 6 if you’d like to purchase one. Don’t worry, that’s the only one there!

I think I’ve covered quite a bit for one ol’ post, but next time I’ll continue by comparing and contrasting the exercises and projects we’ve done thus far as well as dissect some other pieces. Let me know if you have any questions in the meantime!