DVD Review: Collage Textures and Techniques with Claudine Hellmuth

Posted April 20 2015

Review by Adele Greenfield

Want to get fired up for some creative fun where anything goes? Don’t miss these two DVD’s by Claudine Hellmuth. A popular workshop teacher and author of two books, Collage Discovery Workshop and Collage Discovery Workshop: Beyond the Unexpected, Claudine shows you ways to integrate such things as photos, magazine clippings, fabric, ink jet prints, laser copies, and treated and painted papers from books and other sources into richly textured collages that tell a story. In her DVD’s, she’ll show you everything you’ll need to know and more. Think opposite of coloring in the lines and you have an idea of what’s in store. And be sure to watch the cool intro for a preview of the various projects. 

The first DVD is "Collage Textures and Techniques" with five techniques and two collages (an altered book and a cigar box assemblage). The second, companion DVD is More Collage Textures and Techniques with four techniques (only one is repeated from the first but she goes into considerably more depth with it), an acrylic on canvas collage project, and a review of the projects. Then there’s an informative interview with Claudine. 

Full of ideas, throughout each demonstration, her instructions are thorough and, for you note-takers, jotting down key points is a breeze. Text on the side reinforces the directions and, as she introduces each process, the list of supplies on the left makes it easy. No guessing. Everything is described so you know exactly what to use and how to use it. 

If you’re too tight, you will loosen up and if you’re already loose, you’ll feel right at home. Her stylized drawings and sense of humor will make you smile and go along for a pleasant learning experience. The delightful music fits her perfectly and smoothes the transitions. 

While her subjects are whimsical and fun, you can use the very same techniques no matter how you draw or what subjects you choose. Adapt her ideas to your own needs whether you’re a“serious”fine artist, a scrapbook maker, or an illustrator. Also, don’t just think“technique.”Pay attention to her comments about placement, pushing things into the background, bringing out shapes and colors, and considering how the eye travels in and around the picture. She obviously knows her stuff when it comes to design. Some of the interesting topics she covers are:

  • Peeling paper texture enhancement using masking tape to distress paper and make it look old
  • Ways to“art it up”when using clip art or magazine pieces
  • Using common items like petroleum jelly and alcohol to get some neat effects
  • What to use for glue and sealing and why
  • Treating a printed piece of paper with type or handwriting when you want the visual
  • texture of words but don’t want to see and read every one of them
  • Making flaps and openings and a new use for Velcro
  • Adding contrasting colors for a more peeled look
  • Testing a new color or shape before applying it to the actual piece (just in case it doesn’t work, you’d hate to ruin your artwork)
  • Making a textured paint background with a flat piece of plastic and when to use titanium white or gesso instead of spackle or modeling paste
  • Treating the edge of a canvas so the staples don’t show, giving it a finished look

Image Transfer is just one of the many techniques in the first DVD. Using a small heat transfer tool (like a mini hot iron) for one method, she shows you how to transfer a laser print or Xerox copy and you’ll learn how to tell if the image will show up before releasing the paper and having to do it again. She cautions us not to use heat on acrylic surfaces or gel medium (a thin layer is okay), but it works on metals, paper, canvas, glass, and wood.

She also demonstrates a caulking transfer technique using clear acrylic caulking for color or black and white copies, ink jet prints, and magazine images. She knows what products are out there and she tells you exactly which one works.

The second DVD, "MORE Collage Textures and Techniques with Claudine Hellmuth",  the companion to the first, shows you even more. One interesting demonstration is where Claudine demonstrates how to use Nevr-Dull metal polish on magazine paper to release the ink. And she describes what to use to resist the polish. The crackle background texture has a rich jewel-like effect, similar to batik. 

Quick shots at the end of each process serve as a summary of the various techniques and, since we learn through repetition, these are great visual reminders. 

For her last project, she uses just about all the techniques she covered. An effective teaching method and visually appealing as well! 

The DVD ends with an interesting interview where Claudine talks about her work, her travel and teaching schedule, turning her art into a business, etc. She will motivate you and chances are you’ll get ideas beyond just your artwork. But you’re sure to get ideas about your art and your style.

For more, visit http://ccpvideos.com/products/ch1d.

Adele Greenfield is an artist as well as a consultant/coach who has led workshops on the international
lecture circuit in creativity and change, communication and image, and coping with stress She is also
author of a handbook on creativity and several recorded programs. Topics include public speaking and
how to relax and re-energize. Her articles have been published in magazines such as Cosmopolitan,
Woman’s Day, and Industry Week. Adele lives in Charlotte, NC. Email her at colorusgreen@yahoo.com.