Thursday, November 12, 2015

1000 Collages: Process and Lessons Learned

There's not much that's more satisfying than confronting a random pile of scraps and having elements from that pile come together in a collage. Following is a You Tube time-lapse video of me, assembling two collages:

One of the challenges of doing daily creative work is pushing myself to do the work/play when I don't feel like doing it. When I first started this, I was unemployed and had plenty of time. I fussed over my collages, sometimes spending several hours on just one. Slowly and out of necessity, I became quicker, more spontaneous, more intuitive in my approach.

If it's the end of the day, I'm tired, I'm not inspired. I'm bored with my stash, my brain is shutting down. I bumped up against these challenges often. I still needed to do my daily collage.

It becomes a form of prayer, a bedtime ritual like brushing one's teeth.  It becomes a celebration of the materials: an old piece of sheet music, the small pictures in an old dictionary, splats of craft paint.  It becomes an exercise in creative stamina and endurance.I learned that play and spontaneity were my allies in getting a piece to come together, much more so than careful planning and rumination.

Collage to go: travelling and keeping up. Necessities: pre-cut paper for the substrate, a glue stick and some scissors. The temptation is to load up with possible elements, the challenge is to keep it simple. Paper, scissors, glue, and whatever ephemera comes my way during the course of the day. When travelling to Minnesota for Christmas, I made collages with Red Bull packaging, gift wrap, and a paper sack from the "Hello Kitty" store in Roseville, Minnesota.

After over three years, I finally reached my goal of creating 1000 four by four inch collages.  And then, after a few more,  I stopped.  It was time to turn back to poetry.

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