Innovative Textural Collage Art by Ronni Jolles

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Welcome to the return of All Things Paper! After taking August off, there is now an exciting backlog of paper art and paper crafts to work through in the coming months. I'm looking forward to introducing each and every feature, beginning today with Ronni Jolles, a mixed media collage artist in Chevy Chase, Maryland, who was introduced to me by a longtime reader of this blog, Maureen Doallas of Writing Without Paper.


 textured paper collage of standing woman ironing large piece of fabric

 Through the Steam

Maureen has organized an exhibit of new pieces by Ronni at St. Michael's in Arlington, Virginia through the end of September, titled Women at Work. A number of the beautifully textured torn, cut, and layered paper collages you see here are included in the show. Often, a scene's subject matter is derived from a photograph Ronni has taken on travels.


textured paper collage of classroom with seated students watching teacher standing at chalkboard
Morning Lesson

She uses acrylic paints to increase the papers' color variations and to enhance textures, and then applies sealants for protection. Interestingly, she works on eight to ten pieces at once, as she finds returning to a collage after some time has passed brings a fresh perspective. 


textured paper collage of two woman carrying large baskets containing produce on heads in countryside
Heavy Loads


As an art and psychology major in college, Ronni gained experience in a number of artistic mediums, and later worked in educational media at National Geographic. After taking many graduate level art classes she was drawn to teaching middle school students. 


textured paper collage of ballet dancers in white dresses and pink shoes readying to dance
Ballet Shoes


I loved teaching! For about twenty years I taught everything - drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics and sculpture, etc. I was looking for the right art form for me that was different from my mother’s work (sculptor, watercolor artist) and my sister (painter, sculptor). 


textural paper collage of woman carring baskets of laundry to water's edge with more women already washing laundry
Wash Day


When I started getting into collage, I wanted texture. I learned how to make paper, but it was so time-consuming to make the right color and texture of papers I wanted for each piece… I didn’t have time to make the artwork I wanted to create. So I began to gather paper. I also began to manipulate the papers as I glued them onto the canvas layer upon layer.


textured paper collage of young girl playing grand piano
Musical Solitude


In 2000, Ronni left teaching to become a full-time artist with a focus on collage, making use of her vast collection of papers. Her work has been shown in a number of exhibitions and galleries, and she participates in artists' groups and gives artist talks. 


square wooden box containing textured paper collage of dimensional tree scene
Box Series example


New venture: I am starting a Virtual beginners class via Zoom in my art form on Wednesdays beginning October 6. I call it “Art in a Box” because I can ship all of the supplies to the participants.


textured paper collage of lighthouse on rocky coast with many seagulls in air


It’s hard to find the papers I have gathered from all over the world, so I don’t ask my students to get their own papers until they’ve studied with me for a while. With Covid, my shipping of all supplies makes it easy for anyone to take this class.


textured paper collage of two cats seated in window of ornate building during snowfall
Cats in the City



Enjoy this video in which Ronni is in her studio describing her art process. Note the wide range of collage sizes!

Ronni Jolles Studio Tour



Visit the website of Ronni Jolles where you'll find a list of upcoming shows and answers to frequently asked questions about her art form. She has posted a few how-to paper project videos that I enjoyed watching, and you can follow along with her latest projects via Instagram or Facebook.


textured paper collage of birch trees in autumn with mountains in background
Autumn Sky

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. What an amazing artist Ronni is! I could look at each piece for an hour. I’m headed to her website now to see what else she has created.

    Thanks, Ann, for gathering all this artwork into one place, Pamela Haskin

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed seeing Ronni’s art, Pamela!

  2. Visual art is to me almost like food! By that, I mean it is savory and oh so pleasant. I love Ronni’s work!!!


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