ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Create Assemblage Art

Updated on March 29, 2013

Assemblage Art - by John Norman Stewart

Assemblage Art is the result of what happens when you take a bunch of found objects and create some sort of art with them. The fun part is that the materials can be almost anything that you can imagine. This lens is about my personal experience with this medium and some tips on how to assemble these materials into a work of art.

Finding Your Ingredients




You can find your basic materials anywhere....probably the best place to start is in your attic or garage. My garage has never had a car in it and has boxes and more boxes of "junk" or what I prefer to call "Interesting Objects". I like visiting thrift stores like the Salvation Army, or Catholic Services or a myriad of other places in any town. It's amazing what you can find there.

Another great source is metal scrap yards, second hand stores and even antique stores (they tend to be pricier). A little on the edge, but effective, is "Dumpster Diving" - it's amazing what you find - both good and bad. Flea Markets are a good bet, along with neighborhood garage sales and special community fund raising event sales.

Assemblage Art on Amazon

My First Assemblage Project



I think that possibly my first assemblage project might have been a Christmas tree piece. I started with a piece of hardwood that was about 6 inches wide by 14 inches high. I painted the shape of a tree very simply using flat black acrylic paint. I had a box full of clock gears and parts that I had found in an junk shop and I started gluing and nailing them to the painted surface, until it looked pretty full. The black background set off the metalic surfaces of the clock parts all in contrast to the beautiful grain of the wood, made for a nice looking wall piece. I put a hanger on the back and it was ready to hang.

Attachment Methods and Misc. Tools - How to stick this on that.......

Adhesives that I Use:

2 or three kinds of 2 part epoxies: metal epoxy, all purpose epoxy, exterior epoxy.

Mirror adhesive

Elmers Glue All

Super Glue (minimal use)

Misc. Hardware:

brass and copper brads

Various sized wood screws

Various sized sheet metal screws

Various sized nuts and bolts

wood dowling in different sizes

sandpaper in different grit sizes

wet and dry sandpaper, fine

Tools:

Any and all basic hand tools and

various power tools depending on

the project. A Dremel set can come

in handy.

Painting tools:

Various brushes, flats, pointed,

stripers, tiny 00 for details.

Acrylic paint set.

Liquitex gloss varnish

water, rags

Special Materials:

Various gemstones or artificial gemstones

Jewelry findings

Decorative Chain

Gold leafing materials. (I especially like 24k gold leaf)

Stamping materials

Decopauge

Sculpy clay

PMC materials

White beach sand and Contractor's sand

Of course we know that tools and materials will depend on what you are specifically doing in your art project, so we can't list them all here.

It Began With A Box......... - ECOLOGY BOX



The picture (above) is of a piece that I made called "Ecology Box". It began with an old Electrician's tool box that had 3 compartments in it. So I immediately thought to myself "TRYPTIC", and it started.

Compartment #1:
The theme was industrial greed and polution (I lived in Los Angeles smog at the time). I had an old black respirator that I used as a scenic artist for the film studios, a pair of goggles, and 2 one dollar bills. This was the central focal point. I had these two large clear plastic bricks and I burned the top of one of them and mounted a drawing behind it. I painted the back of the other one with acrylic colors and then drilled into it from the back side to create a couple of three dimensional floating objects. I countersunk a depression in the bottom block and epoxied a large ball bearing at that point. Then I glued two brass chains to either side of the top block and just let them drape there.

I had picked up a hologram of a seashell at a sci-fi convention years before and mounted it to the front of the top block. (later I mounted it off to the right). Mirrors were added to the inside edges of the box and to the floor to give multiple reflections.

ECOLOGY BOX (2)

Compartment #2 (left side)

The left compartment of "Ecology Box" was to be a large mask of "The Spirit of The Rain Forest" floating above a peaceful Shibui garden that had a large rock in the middle of raked sand. To accomplish this I took a simple 1 x 4 inch piece of laminated plywood which became the basic head structure, which I attached by screwing through the back of the tool box. I had two large bronze splashings that I tacked and glued to the board, which became the forehead of the mask. Then I located two large clock springs and drilled and screwed them to the plywood board. Then I added three hardware brass pieces to make the nose and mouth and a forhead accent. I painted the edge of the clock springs to emphasize the eyes.



The floor of this compartment was next: I epoxied a nicely shaped, flat stone to the floor. Then I carefully brushed some white glue around the stone and sprinkled contractor's sand around it. I mounted a long screw just above the stone and glued a glass ball to it, giving a floating effect. I also mounted a real pearl and a glass bead to the mouth. (see picture below)

ECOLOGY BOX (3)

ECOLOGY BOX (4)

Compartment #3 (Right Side)

The right compartment had to do with writing to the "Powers That Be", so I had this antique bronze finished perfume bottle that became an ink well when I added the Peacock Feather pen. I floated the "ink well" on a block of wood that was glued to the back of the box. I had another antique decorative finding and I mounted it to the back panel. Later (not shown in photo) I added mirrored interior walls to add a little mystery to the piece. The inside flaps that cover the left and right compartments were gold leafed on the inside and painted with bright colorations on the outside. When the box is completely closed it can still be hung on the wall, looking like a big black tool box.

ECOLOGY BOX (6)



It actually hangs on the wall like this and then you can open it in two stages. I recently put this one up for sale at Saatchi Gallery in London.

Pick A President (aka: Heads of State)

This is a humorous political piece that has various elements: a real bullhorn, a genuine fossil, a political platform and a party anima. It is interactive in that the viewer selects a little wooden head, then watches as it rolls through the sculpture. Music plays as it descends into the bottom tray. It was fun to make and was difficult in that I had to build it from scratch. It has been exhibited widely. It seems to appeal the most to children (of all ages).

A Political Platform

Political Platform.........

The Heads Will Roll......

A Party Animal.....

Church Box



Church Box

Interior "Church Box"

Assemblage With Scraps of Wood

Another View

CRUCIFIX SCULPTURE



I created this piece years ago. I consider it to be assemblage because it is made of hammered bronze and copper, welded bronze, gold leaf and has a large emerald inside of the crown.

Guestassemblagebook

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Gayle Dowell: Hi there. Thanks for coming by the lens. Assemblage can be fun... :)

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 4 years ago from Kansas

      This looks like fun. I've seen "paintings" done with found objects. All objects were painted black except one large focal piece. It was made from old toys. I was great to look at and pick out familiar toys.

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @jtbmetaldesigns: I used to weld sculptures back in the 60's - I kind of miss it at times. Assemblage is fun too though. Thanks for looking at the lens. :)

    • profile image

      jtbmetaldesigns 4 years ago

      I am now itching to hit garage sales this spring. I like welded sculpture but I think I am starting a new hobbyof found objects and upcycling.

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Scarlettohairy: Thanks Scarlett: Appreciate your spending some time here. Have a great evening! :)

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @FancyThatUSA: Thanks for the comment - yes, these things are fun to build. :)

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @angharad: Thanks and you are awesome for looking at the lens. :)

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @takkhisa: Thanks, I appreciate your looking at the lens. :)

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Wow, you are quite the artist. Love your explanations, both of how you assembled the art in the boxes or the piece and your take on the meaning of each piece.

    • FancyThatUSA profile image

      FancyThatUSA 4 years ago

      Wow this is really interesting, I love the idea of found art objects, so different!

    • profile image

      angharad 4 years ago

      These are awesome!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      You are very much creative! Thanks for sharing :)

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @anonymous: Thanks for commenting :)

    • Christene-S profile image

      Christene-S 5 years ago

      Love your art. :) Especially the 'Ecology Box' and 'Assemblage With Scraps of Wood'. Great lens!

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Lee Hansen: Hello Pastiche: Thanks for your comments and sorry I took so long to get back to you. You sound very knowledgeable regarding the art.

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @colgrym: Glad you were inspired and thanks for the comment...:)

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Diane Cass: Yes - old cigar boxes are cool. I remember having some when I was very young. Thanks for liking and commenting. :)

    • Diane Cass profile image

      Diane Cass 4 years ago from New York

      Neat stuff! I love using old wooden cigar boxes for projects. You can do some really fun things with them.

    • colgrym profile image

      colgrym 5 years ago

      I'm currently working on my first two assemblage projects (having at last moved my boxes of treasure - aka junk - from the garden sheds into my new workroom) and your lens and your pieces are inspirational. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 5 years ago from Vermont

      I totally enjoyed this tour of a few of your assemblage pieces. The church box intrigues me; I'd like to see you develop a lens with explanation for it similar to the ecology box. My favorite is Pick a President. The balance, the symbolism, your choice of elements ... I'd love to see this in person when / if it is on tour. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is wonderful. Love your art. Thank you for sharing.

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 5 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @flycatcherrr: Thank you so much, Flycatcher. I really wish you well in your artistic adventure. Send me an image when your ready. J@jstewart.com

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 5 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Christene-S: Hi Christene: Thank you for checking out my lens. I really appreciate it. : ]

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 5 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @flycatcherrr: Thanks Flycatcher: Glad you were able to see the lens and I hope it does inspire you to do an art piece or two.......have a very Merry Christmas...:) John

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      These are wonderful works - now I'm feeling all inspired now to do something with the bits and pieces I've been collecting over the years, thinking "there should be something creative I can do with this..." :) Thank for for the instruction and inspiration - this is a terrific lens!

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @PatriciaJoy: Thanks PJ: I hope you have fun doing your first assemblage art piece. It is a fun medium to explore...:)

    • PatriciaJoy profile image

      PatriciaJoy 6 years ago from Michigan

      This has been inspiring. I've always wanted to experiment with assemblage art. I think the political piece is wonderful.

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @kathysart: Hi Kathy: Thanks again for checking out my lens. Assemblage is definitely fun....:) John

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @JJNW: Hi JJNW: Thanks for your blessing and comments on the lens. :) John

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      How cool.. thanks for the great ideas!

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 6 years ago from USA

      What great fun! I love these types of projects. Thanks for the great photos! Blessed by a SquidAngel for great writing and creativity!

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @junecampbell: Thanks for looking at my art and may 2011 be a breakthrough year for you....:) John

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @BlueStarling: Thanks BlueStarling: appreciate your looking at my lens and commenting. A lot of these were in a show that I had at The Red Bluff Art Gallery last November (2010).

    • BlueStarling profile image

      BlueStarling 6 years ago

      Good practical information and nice photos. I really like your art, especially "Pick a President" and "Scraps of Wood" -- interesting and very nice!

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 6 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I love assemblage art. I have tried it from time to time --I lack confidence in my skills as an artist. Perhaps in 2011, I will strive to create art and fee good about it.

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @MargoPArrowsmith: Hi Margo: Thanks for checking out the lens. Glad you liked it. Merry Christmas! :)

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      Wonderful things, a great art lesson and I love the name you use to call it! Thumbs up to you

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Rita-K: Thanks Rita: appreciate your comments. I'll be checking out your lenses. Merry Christmas! J

    • Rita-K profile image

      Rita-K 6 years ago

      I love your art! Assemblage Art is a favorite of mine...and very few people can accomplish such wonderful pieces as you have. Love them!

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 6 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Dianne Loomos: Thanks Stargazer: I'll check out your lenses. Merry Christmas! :)

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      Interesting art!

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 7 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @Lee Hansen: Hi Pastiche: You home must be an aesthetically fun place to live. Pick a President has always had the best response, I think, because it's interactive. Appreciate your comments. :)

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 7 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @ajgodinho: Thanks ajgodinho, for looking at my lens and nice comments on the art. Thanks also for the blessing....have a wonderful week! :)

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed reading your lens and seeing your work on assemblage art. I liked your political one. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 7 years ago from Vermont

      Assemblage and collage are among my favorite creative arts media. I even treat areas in my home as progressive assemblage installations ... you do interesting work, Jon. My favorite in this lens is Pick a President.

    • jnstewart profile image
      Author

      John Norman Stewart 7 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      @WildFacesGallery: Hi Mona: Thanks for the comments. Appreciate it. Enjoyed looking at your gallery. You have some beautiful art . J

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      I love your work. The intro piece is awesome. :)