This is a collection of stories and articles created by writer / artist Holly Dare. All materials, including photographs, on this blog are copyright protected and are the sole property of the writer or original publisher. Do not steal intellectual material!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Assemblage Artist Greg Delger

By Holly Dare

“It’s about love!” That’s how assemblage artist Greg Delger defines what art is to him.  Greg puts his heart into every piece he creates both literally and figuratively.  His eye is naturally drawn to heart shapes and he seems to find them everywhere.  A heart shaped leaf or stone often becomes the focal point in his work.

Nature serves as both art and inspiration. A trip to the beach or a hike in the woods is like a shopping excursion to the art supply store.

“Nature really does the work for me. The music is there, I’m just the songwriter who puts it all together,” says Greg.

Found objects, tiny bits of origami, thread and beautiful papers are combined and layered to create a work of art. It is this combination of the natural and man-made all held together ever so delicately that is so striking.

The journey into art began when a friend needed a box for a gift. Greg made one for her, remembering an old lesson in origami. The friend was ecstatic and Greg was thrilled to see how happy the box made her. He started making tiny little boxes using nine pieces of paper to create a box, lid and an inside divider.  The boxes always came with a miniature gift inside: a dried flower, a piece of sea glass or some other object that held his fascination for a moment in time.

“I love that, the second someone opens one of my boxes, all their stress is gone and for that moment, they’re happy.”

Greg’s framed pieces grew out of his origami boxes.  He was always impressed that a piece of paper could become a sturdy box with just a few folds and nothing else holding it together. That same idea carried over into framed artwork. Wanting to stay true to his origami roots as his art projects got bigger, his creations contain objects that can be taken apart without being altered by glue.

A perpetual collector, Greg has quite a range of found objects on his worktable at any given time. When he begins working on a piece, he gathers a handful of items and sits on the floor. He arranges and rearranges until he comes up with a pleasing combination.

The materials can be sentimental or eclectic.  A wedding gift for friends included paper from the invitation and sand from a beach that was special to the couple. Other times, the work builds around a bit of found metal.

“I know right away if a hard shape will work.  It has to be the right color, have enough rust. If it doesn’t, I put it back.”

Once all the elements are in place, Greg attaches them to a backing of matte board. The hard objects are sewn down on top of pretty papers thereby holding the papers in place. Sand is an important element and has a very soothing effect on the artwork.Greg pours sand, chosen for color or sentiment, into a mint tin. A piece of glass is cut to keep the sand in the tin and yet allow it to be seen. Four twigs are placed across the corners and each end is sewn down. Thread color is equally as important as any of the other elements.

True to form, the wood used to make the frames is found on the beach or even from dumpster in the artist’s neighborhood.  Office binder clips hold the covering glass to the frame and matte board and often serves as a hanger.

Greg includes elements that speak to everyone and yet are unexpected.Monopoly money and gum wrappers are there to grab the attention of the child in all of us.Two-dollar bill rings, representing Greg’s lucky number, are often included to serve as his signature. And always, at the center of it all, is heart.

Note: This artist profile was originally published in Somerset Studio magazine July / August 2003. All rights reserved.

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