Objects of Devotion - Magpie Workshop

Something a bit different today... Jeanne Berg of Magpie Workshop is a New York native who resides in Bath, England. She wrote to tell me she shares my interest in paper, and to introduce me to the Rite of Spring miniature canvases she creates. Each features hand cut flowers that adorn faces from beloved Renaissance paintings.


Jeanne says... I love paper, more specifically the cutting and pasting of it. For the last two years or so, I have been making collages. They all feature images from my favorite paintings. I love being able to re-imagine them - to give them a different twist.  


I like to think of the faces as steadfast companions, whether they mark the page in a book, are tucked in a pocket, or watch over me from a place on the wall. The timeless beauty of the 500 year old images offers me a respite from the modern world.

All of the items Jeanne creates are very small... no more than a few inches and are meant to be displayed or simply held as treasures by the romantics among us. 

This miniature shrine was inspired by Jeanne's love of Mexican crafts and the long tradition of carrying objects for personal devotion. 


Her original career was as an illustrator and during that time she looked for inspiration in the works of Renaissance artists. When Jeanne began making collages, she found herself returning to the paintings.

My intent with each collage is to remove them the images from their past context and create a new story around them... a story that I hope will resonate with others, inspire their imagination. 

I want the viewer to become involved in the story I create with my scissors and glue, and not to be preoccupied by what the original painting had been about. For example, many of the images are of Madonnas, but I will often turn them into a Demeter or Persephone.

This is a laminated bookmark that features hand cut flowers and sequins.


Jeanne also collages small matchboxes by embellishing them with sequins and glitter, and then applies a coating of acrylic medium to create a gem-like surface. She covers the drawer with brushed paper, adds a pull cord, and sends the box complete with a paper fortune.


Sometimes Jeanne perforates the backing and fills the drawer with French lavender as a version of the centuries-old tradition of carrying a pomander to mask odors. It can be opened on your nightstand to allow the scent to lull you to sleep.

See more at Magpie Workshop and follow along with Jeanne's latest work via Facebook.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. there all gorgeous, love them !!!!

  2. Jeanne's creations are just wonderful! I wonder if she's ever done paper cutting (and pasting) on any of Vermeer's women subjects?

    1. Hi Bellenza,

      Thanks for your kind words. I haven't yet collaged any Vermeer subjects. At the moment, I find them a little too painterly. What is so perfect about Renaissance images is that they are so crisp - very easy to cut around.

      All the Best


  3. Thank you so much Ann!! You so wonderfully captured the spirit of what I try to do. I can't tell you how thrilled I am.

  4. What a talent and those are stunning! Hope you had a lovely weekend. xoxo

  5. This is so beautiful. I love the embellishments that are kind of like hats, but kind of not. Brilliant. The colors are fantastic!

  6. They all look beautiful. So very creative!


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