Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques are often credited with “inventing” collage around 1912. While I do not agree with this statement, I will allow that they elevated the medium to the status of fine art, at least in the eyes of the art-viewing public, media, and academic world.

However, as long as women have been creating from scraps of material, collage has been around. Collage is an art form that was once regarded as one of the “low arts”; its origins are rooted in piece quilts, scrapbooks, and other traditionally feminine handicrafts. Elevated to the status of a fine art in the early part of the 20th century, collage still makes use of humble materials – discarded mail, fabric scraps, string, old wire, stamps, newspapers, found objects – as well as the materials of fine art – handmade papers, ink, paint, and the like.

Collage is a process of building and layering, of adding and taking away. It takes dissimilar items and knits them together into a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing whole. Like all art forms, selection and discernment are important; the elements and principles of design apply to collage just as they do to painting or sculpture or photography.

In addition to its “recycling” nature collage combines the traditionally feminine arts with the historically male domain of painting. This truly makes it an art form for the 21st century. For me, working in the medium of collage is the same as painting. The only difference is my media – paper instead of paint. I even use canvas as my support, so my collages on canvas truly are paintings made of paper.

Marsha Monroe Pippenger



Prayer in Four Parts