With the Wind, 1997 by Jim Hodges; Scarves and thread; 90 by 99 inches photography by Alan Zindman/courtesy of Jim Hodges

Family Art Project: Visual Poetry

Jim Hodges’ ethereal works inspire an heirloom-quality creation.

One art critic has said of multimedia artist Jim Hodges’ work that, “He can tease visual poetry from rather ordinary materials,” a sentiment that made his dreamy pieces perfect objects of our latest art imitation.

Hodges, who has a retrospective at the Dallas Museum of Art opening this fall, uses materials such as fabrics, plastic flowers, wire, and gold leaf to create delicate installations and gilded sculptures that often hang from the ceiling like precious curtains or are built to feel like small, decadent rooms.

For this project, we drew inspiration from Hodges’ With the Wind, a wall sculpture made of breezy, multicolored scarves that have been layered to create a patchwork of warm color. Using painted vellum as a translucent alternative to silk scarves, we opted to create a paper version of Hodges’ fabric piece. The addition of gold glitter paid homage to the artist’s other, more gilded pieces and indulged my 6-year-old daughter’s fondness for shiny bits (okay, and mine, too).

The result of the simple collage project was a fluttery, dynamic surface filled with a child’s execution of some Hodges-worthy visual poetry — so easy and so stunning.

What you’ll need to get started:
• board, stretched canvas, or sturdy paper
• glue or rubber cement
• several sheets of vellum
• marbleized or other decorative paper
• tempera or acrylic paint
• brushes
• glitter
• silk flowers

Step 1/ Begin by having your kids paint the sheets of vellum with a thin layer of paint. Allow paint to dry completely and then cut the painted vellum into various-sized rectangles at least 6 inches by 6 inches.

Step 2/ Cut the marbleized or decorative paper into similar rectangles.

Step 3/ One at a time, apply a thin layer of glue or rubber cement to just the tops of the paper pieces, then layer and secure the pieces in a patchwork on the board, canvas, or sturdy paper by tucking them under each other to hide the tops. The papers should all flutter like feathers or scales if they are secured properly.

Step 4/ Once the papers are secured, have the kids drizzle glue in patterns over the surface of the paper collage, then sprinkle glitter and place silk flowers over the wet glue. Once everything has dried, shake off any excess glitter or flowers.

The final product. Make it!