Collage artist to exhibit and teach at the Contemporary Art Center – News – Journal Star – Google Alerts

PEORIA — Artist Laura Lein-Svencner’s first art lessons happened while sitting on a porch swing in Wisconsin.

With coloring book and crayons in-hand, 4-year-old Lein-Svencner listened as her grandfather describe the natural world around them.

“He taught me to look at everything and break it down to its simplest form, and once you see that, you build it back up as a drawing,” said Lein-Svencner during a recent phone interview from her home in Darien, Ill. “It was always about observing, looking at shapes and colors.”

Today, Lein-Svencner uses those skills to build collages from paper, a medium she took up in earnest when her youngest children, twins, were 4 years old. She set up a card table and filled shoe boxes with different types of paper, creating a space where she could work whenever she had a free moment.

“I’m self-taught. I never got a degree in art, but I took a lot of art classes in high school — jewelry making, ceramics, and printmaking,” said Lein-Svencner. “It was something that kind of evolved.”

Over the last 24 years, Lein-Svencner’s collages have won awards and been published in magazines. She’s also written several books on the art form and founded the Midwest Collage Society, which exhibits throughout the Midwest.

Lein-Svencner will exhibit her work during “Inner Most-Outer Expressions” at the Contemporary Art Center of Peoria Sept. 13 through Oct. 18. She will also teach a collage workshop from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 15 at the CAC.

Lein-Svencner teaches a lot, and she enjoys it.

“To me it’s almost as exciting as creating a piece of artwork, breaking down the steps so that people can learn it,” she said. Students in Lein-Svencner’s classes learn various techniques, including how to coat paper with liquid adhesive so it can be easily adhered with a tack iron. She also shows students how to alter found papers through painting and stamping. After relating the basic techniques, Lein-Svencner sets her…

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