Skip to main content

Winter Break Wonders Activity: Found Object Collage

Found object collage

This Winter Break Wonders activity is inspired by Al Souza’s artwork, Field & Stream. Learn more about this artwork, then make your own collage with found objects!

Field & Stream by Al Souza
Al Souza, Field & Stream, 2001, puzzle parts and glue on wood, aluminum, 72 x 84 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2011.26. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

Look Closer:

  • The artist Al Souza used multiple nature jigsaw puzzles to create this collage. Have you put together a jigsaw puzzle before? How did you decide which pieces fit next to one another?
  • The shapes of jigsaw pieces determine their placement. By sorting the pieces based on the color and design of the pieces, you can figure out where each piece goes. Souza reverses the process of putting together jigsaw puzzles. He collects completed puzzles from thrift shops and takes them apart to make his collages. What things do you collect? Where do they come from? Why do you collect them?
  • Souza layers several of these partially assembled puzzles which makes a surface geography of craggy formations such as plateaus, crevices, and ridges. Think of places in nature where you have visited. How are those places similar to the places seen in Souza’s collage? How are they different? How might the season change the look of the places you’ve been to?

Activity: Make a Seasonal Collage with Collected Materials

Items to use in found object collage

Materials Needed:

  • Cereal box or any cardboard rectangle
  • Scissors
  • Collage papers (Ex: scrapbooking, colored, old artwork, magazines, junk mail)
  • Glue stick, white school glue, tacky glue, or hot glue gun
  • Collected small objects from home and/or from nature (Ex: straws, pom-poms, string, packing peanuts, bottle caps, leaves, etc.)


Step 1: Cut the front or backside off of a cereal box. You can also use any type of cardboard rectangle that you find in your home.

Step 2: Gather lots of collage papers, like scrapbooking papers, old art, or colored paper. Cut up your collage papers and arrange them on the cardboard base. Think about the different colors you see outside with different seasons. What parts of your collage will represent Winter? Spring? Summer? Fall?

Step 3: Glue your paper arrangement to cover the rectangle.

Making a found object collage

Step 4: Arrange the found objects on top of your collaged background. Continue thinking about the different colors that represent each season. How might each object convey each season?

Step 5: Glue your found objects. Set aside your collage to dry. Three-dimensional objects will take more time to dry than two-dimensional objects. How does your collage look in comparison to Al Souza’s?

Found object collage

Explore more works with found objects in the collection:

Book Recommendations:

Want to learn more about the interaction between humans and nature? Here are some books we recommend for further learning!

  • The Curious Garden by Peter Brown
  • The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain; illustrated by Yoval Zommer
  • Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers
  • When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano

Have fun!

Written by Kim Ly, art instructor, Crystal Bridges.


Special thanks to our sponsors:

Youth and Family programming is supported in part by AMP Sign & Banner, Arthur J. Gallagher Risk Management Services, Juan, Marcy and Joaquin Camacho, The Coca-Cola Company, iHeart Media, JTH Productions, Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Pinnacle Car Services, Procter & Gamble, Gordon and Carole Segal, The Simmons Family Fund, and ViacomCBS Consumer Products.

Education and Learning is supported in part by Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, The Northern Trust Company, Pamela and Wayne Garrison, Doug and Shelley McMillon, Jack and Melba Shewmaker Family, Neff and Scarlett Basore, Galen and Debi Havner, Lance and Sharon Beshore, Cardinal Four Foundation, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Harry Cornell, Cox Communications, Dorothy Hurt, J.M. Smucker Company, Kimberly-Clark, Nice-Pak Products, Inc., The Russell Berrie Foundation, Stephen and Claudia Strange, Felix and Margaret Wright.