Collage or decoupage?


Whilst using acrylic inks, by happenstance I created a figurative image. I cut it out in one piece, removing any distracting bits as I cut. Now I want to adhere it to another surface: just a plain white ground, I think. What would I call this piece of art: collage or decoupage?

I don't suppose that it really matters what you call it; it will still stand as a piece of art in its own right.

However, our immediate feeling was that, of the two, it was probably decoupage, rather than collage. My dictionary (Chambers Dictionary, 2000 edition) defines collage as 'a picture made from scraps of paper and other odds and ends pasted up; any work or construction put together from assembled fragments'. This sounds very much like a description of a typical altered art project, rather than what you are describing, and this would seem to confirm our initial reaction.

The same dictionary defines decoupage as 'the craft (originating in the 18th century) of applying decorative paper cut-outs to, for example, wood surfaces; a picture produced in this way'.

Of course, these days the term 'decoupage' is often used to describe one of a number of similar crafts in which paper cut-outs are mounted one on another, separated by small foam adhesive pads or silicone glue, to form a three-dimensional picture.

Again, neither of these two descriptions would appear to fit your artwork exactly, but since it involves sticking a paper cut-out to another surface, this term seems reasonably appropriate for what you intend to do.

Leave a comment

Return to Altered Art Questions and Answers.

What would you like to tell us about? What would you like to hear about from other visitors? Why not make a suggestion for contributions?

Subscribe to
Altered Art News


Follow us in Feedly

Add to My Yahoo!