As I began this 31 day collection of collages, I said most of what you’d see here would be made wholly or almost wholly from junk mailings. Today is a total exception. I share it so you can see how collage can involve lots of other materials.
I don’t know what prompted this one: whether it was hearing or thinking of the famous quote by Victor Hugo, a favorite of mine since my youth, or coming across the little ephemera circle with a bird on it and the oval with the feather.
But I do know something made me want to make a collage containing the quote—and the present pile of junk mail didn’t have anything fitting.
So I rubber-stamped a branch on the index card’s whiteness, a feather on some mulberry paper, and another feather on some light cardstock. I added marker “tweet” lines on the circle and words on both it and the oval, and colored the stamped feather and branch with art pencils. Among my scrapbooking materials I found a likely wedge of background paper to paste a diagonal and some earthy looking contrast, then tore some of the remaining mulberry paper into wisps and pasted them here and there. I drew a few emphasis lines beside one circle (with marker), and wrote in the rest of the poetry quote line. (Since I photographed the collage, as above, I added a credit to Victor Hugo.)
Fini! Not junk mail, but still scraps and other things just lying around. Almost free! As a bird!
Things in this world are not always what they seem. Collage often capitalizes on this concept.
This mini collage gives an example.
The name gives its secret away. But if you hadn’t read the title, would you really think what you see above is more rugs than rocks, and home interior backgrounds entirely instead of sea and sky? In fact, what’s represented as the most rugged peaks and most breath-stealing descents are cut from pictures of carpet pieces. The actual mountains in the collage stand much more smoothed by time and weather.
Yet the mix of the two takes the viewer much more into a “world of the imagination,” as my one grandson would have put it in his kindergarten days. And that’s good for our heads, methinks. I think that’s the attraction of collage: the way it can lead us to 1) think outside the box more and 2) consider how the appearance of things in life may be other than what a first glance seems to say.
Take a mind trip in this collage today, and if you like, go back and explore earlier ones in this series using surprising objects and materials to represent something quite different from themselves. In the list below of previous posts I’ve marked with a ** those containing “deceptions” you can detect and consider. (Have fun!)
The ordinary person obliging before someone’s camera?
How about the irrespresible spontaneous smile erupting in exhuberant laughter or beaming all over the face or shining out from the eyes?
What makes you smile that way? What stirs your heart, brings light into your eyes, and ends up curving your lips without your bidding?
Here’s a challenge for you this week: Pay attention, and try to catch yourself smiling that way, and determine what has brought it on. You might be surprised. It might be a seemingly small thing. If you keep a journal or daily lists, note down your smile and its trigger. And consider what truly delights your heart.
Then make an effort to get yourself more often in company with what brings out that good and heart-deep smile.
Thing was, I heard it so often, I learned the entire narrative by heart. And the illustrations clearly signaled when to turn pages.
So sometimes I got my begging request, and other times, well, I just “read it to myself.” Right out loud. I still remember some of it by heart, even in my aging adulthood:
“Teddy was a little brown bear. He was just about the cutest little brown bear that ever lived in Bumpkin Hollow. But he had one very bad habit. No matter what his Mother told him to do, Teddy wanted to do just the opposite…”
Only I’d say “ops-di-dit,” because I couldn’t pronounce the big word rightly.
I think I knew well, however, what it meant. I also suspect someone bought that book because of its lesson about this “very bad habit” not being a very good idea.
I suppose it helped me learn not to say “no.” Which is good. To a point. Like when I stood fierce and firm atop the hall stairs and said it with gusto to Daddy. He’d said to come down those steps, and I’d declared, “NO!” just like that! Then I discovered how fast Daddy could run up stairs, plus what a spanking from him felt like—the only spanking he ever gave me. Evidently I learned well (not to say no), and never needed reinforcement.
But you can learn that too well, can’t you? Did that make it harder for me to refuse manipulative people—or even people asking favors? Books with moral lessons can over-magnify in a child’s tender mind.
This thought fades the luster of my favorite toddlerhood book somewhat. Yet meanwhile, two favorites for my own toddler glow warmer in my heart…
How like a comfortable blanket Good Night, Moon feels! The “great green room” indeed looms large in the (bunny) child’s eyes. The night is dark, and that dollhouse lit up in the dimness could look spooky. But with the sweet old lady whispering “Hush” and the comforting cadence of the text, almost anyone hearing it is ready to drift into peaceful sleep after the final page turns. Such warm, secure love envelopes little bunny-boy, and consequently reader. What a rare, precious thing, in this era of angst and scurry and upheaval!
Because angst and upheaval visited my son and myself even before the book, I’m gladit was the one I readoften before tucking him in at that time, instead of one implying dire consequences if you don’t do what you’re told.
My other favorite, by the same author: The Runaway Bunny, speaks even greater grace.
This little bunny wants to run away. But the one who loves him tells him no matter how he schemes escape to lonely freedom by imposture, she will stick close, following him everywhere; he’ll never shed that companionship, even if he tries. So finally he surrenders to persistent love, deciding just to be who he is, and runs into her arms.
This book we acted out—spoke the dialog and pantomimed the actions. At the end, I’d squat, arms outstretched, to catch my “little bunny,” who came running, throwing himself hard into them, “knocking me over” (as I let him), erupting us into rollicking laughter.
How like the great Lover of my soul, and my own surrender to Him! No wonder I wanted my child to conceptualize such persistent love.
Excellent book favorites for any parent and child, especially taken together.
*You can listen to a recording of Teddy Bear of Bumpkin Hollowhere, in its entirety.
Apology: Since one of last week’s posts contained two new collages, I took the liberty of reusing the one above today. This series is still slated to present 31 original collages by the end, and we still have eight collages in eight days… Just in case you wondered… 🙂