Teacher Spotlight: April Walters

In this spotlight, we’re talking all things collage with our paper-loving member, April Walters.



How long have you been collaging?

Since junior high, at least. My best friends and I kept shared notebooks that we would decorate with cutouts from surf magazines and really old Seventeen magazines. I wasn’t exposed to much art as a kid but I always loved paper and had my paper projects. Always. Decoupaged box Christmas gifts, covered a whole wall in my bedroom, collaged birthday and thank you cards—that sort of thing. My more in-depth study of collage is less than a year old, but my, she grows every day!

Why did you want to teach a collage class?

When I started the collage workshops at Makeshift, I felt really stuck. My job was to be online all day and every day—Twitter, Facebook, name a social media network, and I had to be there. I had no attention span and I felt bad about myself because of the large amount of time I spent ingesting and admiring stuff that other people created. It was exhausting and I knew something was missing.

The collage workshop was a way to try something completely new. A real life event, with people, encouraging people to use their hands, use their creativity, leading people in an area that I wasn’t exactly an expert. What I lack in schooling, I make up for in curiosity, observation, and experimentation.

Between my paper collection and one stop at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse, I had enough material to do a dress rehearsal with some very kind friends. And June is already the 7th Collage Workshop at the Makeshift Society!

What has been your experience been like teaching this class?

Would it sound drastic if I say life-changing? Hosting the Collage Workshop altered many things for me. Doing it was a brave thing and I still have brief moments of terror before doing each workshop—it is still absolutely worth it. My favorite thing is to look at the collection of collages at the end of the evening. The ideas and new things that people can create is a remarkable, beautiful thing. And everyone has such a unique perspective and take on how to transform something as simple as old paper. It’s fun to see everyone learn from each other too. I really just want more people to take a moment to use their hands because it’s such a powerful thing that is easy to ignore.

What inspires your themes for the class?

Three things help me select what sort of images to pull for each workshop: trends I notice within my paper collection, subjects I like, the people who come to each workshop and what they’d be inspired by. So far, I’ve done workshops around dance, space, the body, color, food, and cars. The next workshop is, well, let’s just say that things might get Wild.

Here’s a peek at April’s last collage workshop, as snapped by Celeste Noche.

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And don’t forget to signup for April’s 7th (!) collage workshop on June 22nd.