I make a collage and set it up on the bookstand in my “serenity room,” (named for my aim within it). The collage waits there for me to see and ponder every time I glance up.


“Climb,” it has come to say to me. “Upward.” “Movement.” “Rise.” And soon, “Journey.”

All those meanings emerged in its making…

So I ponder its creation:

I started with the stairway, cut from a magazine for the beauty of its lines, and for the “painted” quality the stairwell’s wall gives the photo (something like poetry within prose)—but maybe for more reasons besides.

I used torn strips from pictures of shirts in a Duluth Trading catalog—because lights and darks undulate in the folds of cloth. (Sorry I didn’t take photos of this step.) I overlaid these strips with tissue paper shreds to subdue them, placing all in vertical to contrast with the repeated horizontal of all those lovely red-carpeted steps.

Now I had a background. But what to put on it?

Time to sort through papers on my scrapbooking shelves…


I found a book of old old-fashioned portraits, with lots of roses sprinkling pages. I love red roses, and these seemed to capture my heart, so I cut some out. The ones inside the book’s covers loomed too large for scale; so I hacked up the front!


Here and there, while leafing through the book, I passed a few watch faces, which I mostly ignored at first. Timepieces seemed redundant because I’d pictured clock faces before on my blog. 

But I kept thinking about them. So I searched through again, found three, cut them out, and placed them “at random.”


I needed one more, I decided, but did the illustration book have another? Searching, I found just one, hiding under double-folded pages—and heart shaped!

“Perfect!” said my intuition, and I extracted it, too. It would be the focal point watch.


After all that went into place, a blank space remained in the curve made by the stair. Robbing roses from other places didn’t work, left areas too blank elsewhere. What to use?

I’d brought to the work table a couple snips of deep red wired ribbon. I started playing with them. Eventually one of them became a sort-of rose shape, opening out toward the watches and roses. The other snips made wind-blown banners.



Done. But what did it “mean”?

Husband entered at one point and surveyed it.

“Why all the clocks?” he asked, “And all different times?”

How could I answer when I didn’t know? I only knew I’d chosen them and that it was somehow important that they all showed different times.

Did the idea of journey come from Friday’s five-minute prompt? Probably. But it caused me to think more about life truly as a journey, from here to there, and hopefully upward, even though that involves a long-term climb.

Did the watch faces “call out” because the “time to turn the clocks back” loomed just ahead? Probably, at least partly, but they also caused me to think about life within the constraints of swiftly passing time as the journey moves forward.

Why the roses, and why red, when my book source contained many other hues? Just because I like them best, I supposed! But beyond that, I know that red roses symbolize love, and I think in the depth of my mind or heart was the concept of True Love, which would be Christ’s, showered over our hours and travels.

Beyond all that, it’s your guess as much as mine.

What does this collage seem to signify to you?


5 thoughts on “Climb Through Time (Collage)

  1. Sylvia-As you well know, I love discovering meaning in collages. Your journey through the process and your retelling of it here was exquisite. I loved how the timepieces were different hours…which also makes me think of observing various hours of prayer. But your interpretation of Christ’s love journeying with us throughout our hours and travels warmed my heart.

    One thing, I notice is that the shape opposite the stairway resembles a side portrait silhouette. The rose ribbon placed on the nose. No meaning for me but just an observation. Although it makes we wonder how “hitting it on the nose” became a phrase meaning “you got it!” Or “you got it exactly right”

    You have captured the essence of that phrase with your interpretation of the collage. Such a striking collage, I love studying it’s composition. Very contemplative.

    1. Loved your observations, Kel. I read them after I wrote mine just to see what my personal insights were. Love you!!!

    2. How encouraging you are, Kel! I can tell you’re a gifted teacher. In fact, I learned both processes, collaging and retelling, from you–from your tutorials and example.

      I love that you answered here as to meaning you found in the collage images. I don’t know why I didn’t think of prayer hours, since I’ve just begun going back to their practice. I’d started observing them several years back and loved how they helped draw me back into God’s presence through the day, and settled, focused, and equipped me for hours remaining, yet I let them go by the wayside more recently. And two of the watch faces even display traditional prayer times: “Terce” at nine o’clock, and “None” at three! I didn’t see the silhouetted human face either, until you pointed it out! Right on the nose! as you say. (Or is the person “stopping to smell the roses”?) I’m so thankful we met on the net!

  2. I love how collage calms the soul and claims the heart as the process brings insights of recognition, encouragement, hope, and even warning. I love that it is the language of the heart (and hence, your heart clock is apropos). I also appreciate how God speaks to each heart uniquely, though never contrary to Scripture. But He loves each of His children as the individual He has created them to be. So to me? I see the staircase as more spiraled, with its twists turns . . . like life. We never know what is around the next bend, but still, we ascend (or hopefully ascend) . . . yet, never in a straight line. And occasionally, we rotate back to were we *almost* were, but still ascending. I appreciate that the Holy Spirit is our banister by our side, our Friend to whom we cling for support. And He always gives just enough light for the next step. The red carpet is the blood of Christ, which winds through all, and which is our true support that permits and enables the ascent. Without His blood we would never climb–could never climb. We’d be doomed. I can’t tell what the rectangle is to the side of the stairs–a window? mirror? what? But it seems as if there is a reflection to be seen. I don’t just want to look at the steps as I take them, but to see how my steps are reflected back to me, to know the quality of my feet. Do I take time to reflect upon my feet, whether or not they are the “beautiful feet” mentioned in Scripture? to reflect upon mysteps–whether or not they are appropriate, whether they follow Christ, whether or not they are sinful or stalled. I need to reflect daily, and do not. I’m guilty of that. I need to repent and to reflect upon the goodness of Christ and also *to* reflect it back to Him in how I love. And the roses? He was the Rose of Shorn torn and shred for me on that wretched Tree. And roses have always spoken to me about fleetness of time ala “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.” Roses, too, speak of fragrance, and I long both to inhale and exude the fragrance of Christ in all I know, in all I do. Surely the clocks, for me, symbolize time and its fleetness, as well; that different times are represented, reminds me that to “every thing there is a time and a season and a purpose under heaven. (not a direct quote)” My job is to ask the Lord to help me to decipher what time it really is in my life and to live accordingly. I don’t see midnight depicted, which gives me hope! And the collage generally reminds me that I hope to collage as I watch election returns. It’s been a horrible election season and has left me hopeless and disillusioned. Just before seeing this, I’d told my daughter that I think I will pull out some collage tonight for calming enjoyment. Collage always captivates and quiets my heart. And that is my two cents’ worth, from the peanut gallery. And I thank you for the challenge and question! It’s a remarkable collage. Now I’m going to read what my dear friend Kel has to say! I always love what she has to say–and you, Sylvie, I love all you write!
    Happy Election Day.

    1. Lynni,
      I never had any idea how true that is, that calming, contemplative effect that can come in collaging, until I got into the process. You have done a lot with it, haven’t you? (I hope your collaging calmed you during the the election returns last night! I’m not sure that would have worked for me. To be calm I just turned them off!)

      The spiral staircase image did occur to me. I wrote about my personal pilgrimage as such a few years ago, in this post: https://sylvrpen.com/2012/04/pilgrimage-in-circles-2/ You might be interested in reading it, because I think it echoes your thoughts and feelings. And the phrase “gather ye rosebuds while ye may…” may have flitted through my head, because I happen to think of it often! But the other imagery–the feet, the fragrance, Christ as the Rose, etc, were new light on the picture for me.

      That’s why I love when comments like this come in. They add so much to the blog’s main text that I wish everyone would read them as along with the post. Thanks for sharing all these insights! God bless!

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