What first surprised me about collage was how it can bring out what’s lying soul-deep and unspoken.
What surprised me later was the practical function it can have.
When I first read about it as a way to journal, I couldn’t foresee it replacing or even supplementing word journaling for me. Nor, as I began exploring the process, could I imagine making my collages small enough to fit into what I considered a journal.
Did I have some new discoveries ahead! And new doors opening with them…
The first collage I tried, several months ago at Kel Rolf‘s prompt, expressed my deepest longing at the time, better than words could have done.
This amazed me. For one thing, I never expected to “chance” upon photos, words, junk clippings, anything really, that could depict my spiritual yearnings. Yet, as I flipped page after page, there they were: illustrations or phrases that grabbed, and spoke for, my heart—so many I had to select just a fraction. Even then, the collage I laid out was enormous by journal page standards. I crowded what I could onto a 12 x 16 sheet of paper—and left everything unpasted, afraid to move forward and “spoil” the arrangement with paint or marker, also thinking I might somehow find a way to condense it.
Thus it ended up tucked away, I didn’t know where, yet wondered about it when Kel, in her “29 Days” series, once again invited collage.
Her invitations got me perching at my high art table more often than I would ever have predicted, ripping out pages, scissor-clipping words, sorting bits and pieces into folders for better management, and… voila! therein repeatedly observing my heart revealing itself, along with possible new directions for my energies.
This motivated me to tidy up paper piles and art materials still disordered from their move from elsewhere to my lighter, brighter, larger “creativity room” (an advantage of the empty nest…) In the process, I found that aforementioned, buried “first” collage!
By then I’d also unearthed a still-blank 10×10-inch spiral-bound “sketch book,” perfect for reasonable sized collages. I used it to make these first two garden ones, and realized this would serve well as a collaging Art Journal!
So what you see near the top of this blog page is that “first collage,” now slimmed down and supplemented with words and background colors.
As for the practical, what you see below is a way to use collage as an ideas-organizing aid.
I keep files of all kinds of ideas: for interior design and decorating, cooking and celebrating with food, handcrafting of all sorts… many things… like this file full of gardening and outdoor design.
The good thing about these files is that things are categorized into folders rather than thrown into one chaotic pile or box where I’d probably never find anything. The bad thing about them is that I have to get out the file box, draw out the appropriate folder, and sort through a lot of loose papers (that fall onto the floor and get all mixed up with each other), whenever I’m looking for certain ideas.
The last time I rooted through these garden folders for ways to develop my raised bed garden, it occurred to me that I could trim down clipped ideas I’d like to execute out there–and condense them together… by collaging them, on notebook-sized paper and put them in a special section of my looseleaf Garden Notebook!
As for the garden collages I’d already made, I trimmed them down and used them to dress up front and back covers, a la my friend Laurie’s comment that she’d used collage for such purposes.
This, I believe, is going to become an Everest of adventure, toward which I’ve just taken the mere first steps!
[Note: By the way, I’m now collaging on only one side of each page in the 10 x 10 journal. I never know what use I might find for an individual collage!]