Collage

March 03, 2013 12:56 AM
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Some people might think six hundred disembodied plastic doll arms and legs belong in the trash, but not Maria Raleigh. Her pair of Collage stores, the first on Alberta and a second in Sellwood, are known for having strange found objects that artists like to use in collage and assemblage projects.

Some people might think six hundred disembodied plastic doll arms and legs belong in the trash, but not Maria Raleigh. Her pair of Collage stores, the first on Alberta and a second in Sellwood, are known for having strange found objects that artists like to use in collage and assemblage projects.

When Raleigh prepared to return to work after quitting her corporate job and spending five years at home raising her children, she knew she wanted to open her own store. Being the crafty type, Raleigh decided to sell art-making supplies. Collage carries materials for everything from jewelry making to lino block printing to fabric arts. There are packaging supplies for people who sell their creations online, and a dedicated children’s art section.

Raleigh set out to create a store that would cater to the needs of the artists living nearby. “I liked the idea of a neighborhood gathering spot,” Raleigh says, “and I wanted it to be an enhancement of whatever community we ended up in.” The Alberta store, entering its tenth year in 2013, has changed along with the neighborhood over the years. “When I first moved in,” Raleigh says, “there wasn’t a place you could get Scotch tape or glue, really.” As more businesses have moved in, Collage’s inventory has evolved. Today, Raleigh says, washi tape, a Japanese masking tape made from decorative paper, is very popular.

In case people don’t know what to do with some of the supplies at Collage, the store offers instruction in the classroom Raleigh opened in the storefront next to the Alberta location. Portland artists, and occasionally visiting teachers from around the country, guide budding makers in everything from glass etching to book binding to soldering. The classes are part of Raleigh’s vision for Collage as “a place for people to come and learn and grown and discover new things.” One thing hasn’t changed since Collage opened—people still need glue to hold their creations together. “We sell so much adhesive,” Raleigh says, “it’s amazing.”

One response to “Collage”

  1. Sharyn says:

    Maria’s store is an absolute treasure, as is her friendly, knowledgeable staff. She has single-handedly introduced countless people to all kinds of media for self-expression and interesting hobbies, including the next generation of artists. I’ve had many fascinating conversations with her customers there, and the classroom is such a gift to the community!

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