This activity is inspired by Miriam Schapiro’s collage A Mayan Garden. Learn more about this artwork and get creative with color, shape, and pattern!
Take a moment to look closely at this work. What patterns and colors can you find? What does the overall shape of the work remind you of?
The artist Miriam Schapiro wanted the shape of this work to look like an enormous fan. A hand fan is an object often used by women. Can you find any colors or shapes in this work that remind you of a woman in your life? What other colors and shapes remind you of this person?
This work is a collage made from fabric and paint. A collage is an assortment of items glued to a flat surface. Can you name some objects that have fabric in them? Do you know anyone who creates things with fabric?
The materials and shapes used are stereotypically associated with women. Because of that, Schapiro called these works “femmages” or feminist collages. Have you ever made a collage before? What kind of materials did you use?
Step 1: Think of a shape you like and draw it onto a piece of thin cardboard. You could make a triangle, a circle, a blob, or anything you can imagine. The bigger you create the shape, the better.
Step 2: Cut out the shape with a pair of scissors. Rather than moving the scissors while you cut, try moving the cardboard. This is a great, safe way to cut out objects.
Step 3: Next, cut out smaller shapes from the colored or patterned paper and arrange them onto your piece of cardboard. You can draw out the shapes beforehand or trace an object from your home. Try repeating the paper shapes to create a pattern.
Step 4: Once you’ve covered all of the cardboard and are happy with the design, glue the paper shapes in place.
Step 5: Did you notice how A Mayan Garden had flowers on top of the pattern? Find and cut out objects you’d like to add to your work from an old magazine. Then, paste them on top of your design.
Step 6: Find a place to display your work! Talk to friends or family about what you created. Why did you choose those shapes, colors, and objects?
Have fun creating! Share your collages with us on social media – tag #crystalbridges on Instagram.
Written by Marie Hofer, museum educator, Crystal Bridges.
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