We’ve recently launched a new Craft Project with Diana Ching who will set a series of creative projects every Thursday on our website and social media to give you ideas of things you can work on at home to build your own piece of art over a period of weeks.
This week we will be looking at Simple Abstracts!
Something I am asked about a lot is abstract art. Love it or hate it, it’s a big subject and not one that we can go far with in these short projects – but it could be fun to try your hand at one or two simple exercises to see if you like being “random”!
You can use various materials for this project. If you have art supplies, try laying down different colours of paint however you like on a piece of watercolour paper. Let it dry, then doodle shapes, letters or words onto it. Maybe you have a piece of old artwork that you don’t like – this project is perfect for using it up! You can also paint over old book pages or newspaper for an interesting effect. If you don’t have paints, find a page from a magazine with an interesting picture, or some scraps of patterned fabric that you haven’t yet found a use for.
Once you’ve got your chosen base material, cut or tear it up. You could use scissors to cut out precise shapes such as squares or rectangles, or any other shapes, or tear strips (tearing gives more interesting edges). Try to get different shapes and sizes. The idea is to end up with a little pile of assorted pieces of paper/fabric.
Now you’re going to re-assemble these pieces – not in the same order as before, but in a totally different way so that you end up with an abstract design. Get a plain piece of paper – white or black are good options – and use it as a background to place your shapes at various angles. Leave bigger spaces between some pieces and smaller spaces between others. Look at the colours and patterns of your shapes and see how you can juxtapose them with others to best effect.
Have a good play around and when you feel you’re at a point where you like the design you’ve created, stick the shapes down onto the background paper. If you like, you can use felt-tip pens or similar to “join up” some of your stuck-down shapes so that they feel more connected – perhaps use straight or wiggly lines to travel around the whole piece, or even add a few words. If you’re using fabric you may like to stitch around the shapes onto another piece of fabric to give them definition – and maybe add a few embroidery stitches (French knots, cross stitches etc) or even the odd button or sequin.
You have now created a piece of abstract art!
Another idea is to cut an image (eg old artwork or a photo from a magazine) into strips and make a weaving. Glue about 1cm of the short edges of the strips parallel to each other onto a fresh sheet of paper. Take a piece of plain paper, cut that into strips and weave them in and out of the first set of strips. There are many ways to do this – try varying the width of the strips, tear instead of cutting them, etc.
The examples here show:
1. A piece of watercolour paper painted, cut into irregular-sized shapes, and stuck onto black paper. Small circle shapes were punched out of the same paper and stuck down at random.
2. A piece of fabric machine-stitched at random, cut into equal-sized shapes, and machined onto black paper.
3. Strips cut from a page from an art catalogue and used to make a weaving.
There are so many ways to create a simple piece of abstract art and I’m sure you’ll have your own ideas. I can’t wait to see them – and please also say if you have any questions about the project or if anything is unclear by contacting Connie at MFT – email@example.com and she’ll pass on your questions to me!
You can also send her photos of your creations but please mention whether you give MFT permission to share them on social media and whether they can mention your first name or if you prefer to stay anonymous. Thank you!
Craft Project Survey – share your thoughts!
Now that we’re six weeks in, we’d love to hear your thoughts on how the Craft Project is going, what you’d like to do in the future and what materials you have at home. Please take 2 minute to complete our online survey by clicking on the link below. It is entirely anonymous.
Click here to take Craft Project Survey