Thursday, April 26, 2012

Odds and Ends, Left-Overs & Remnants make GREAT ATCs

A couple weeks ago, I was forced to clean-up the stacks and packets of paper around my private work area in the studio. I was forced because I had no more place to stash more paper or stuff in my immediate area, I couldn't find whatever I was looking for, and "it" was creeping out into the public space which was needed for an upcoming workshop.

As all collage artists know, you NEED to save most everything interesting that you come across: a label off a bottle of tea or wine, vellum left over from a stamping project, a note card or advertisement, scraps left-over from another collage piece or chine-colle on a print, etc. In the last couple years, I have been given several bags and boxes of art "stuff" from friends that are either down-sizing, moving, or have passed away. They confirmed that I wasn't the only collage artist that saved "stuff" for a some-day project. I took great joy in fondling all the odds and ends which they have collected over the years to use; bird nest material, wrapping paper, netting from avocado or citrus bags, bark, home-made papers, dried flowers, paper from Japan and Italy, receipts, photo negatives, match books, and etc.

Back to cleaning off my work area -- I had little clear envelopes of all the scraps and left-over pieces not used on the last couple years of SoulCollage® cards, Artist Trading Cards (ATCs), haiga (haiku painting), and other collage pieces. OH MY!!! All the larger pieces I put away in their appropriate containers to be used later, but I was left with bags of wonderful little, pieces of paper that I couldn't bear to part with (hence the small clear envelopes). By all rights, most of the small scraps should be put in the recycled bin. Alas - I started making ATCs from the little tiny pieces . . . Started to make only six cards, just enough to send off for our monthly ATC trading, yet I couldn't stop till I had to clean-up for a workshop -- twenty-two cards later. They were soooooooo fun and are now my favorite (I know I say that with almost every new series!!!)

I admit that I did cut out some more "remnants" of ancient civilizations to use in this series - though I did have many of the images already cut out ready to go somewhere. Watercolor paper was used between the backing paper and front collage; I like thick cards. "Shimmering Metallics" offered by Soul Expression was the backing paper. Once all the cards were pasted together, flattened between books, trimmed, and stamped on the back, I lightly sanded the edges and the front images. Pretty easy! Much fun!! I challenge you -- or invite you -- to create your own 3 1/2 inch by 2 1/2 inch collages from left-overs, odds and ends, & remnants.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Collage Camp

Since Spring Collage Camp ended last Tuesday, I've been reflecting on how to best describe the four-day experience. Of course I can state that it was fun, meaningful, relaxing, intense, and insightful . . . yet how do those words really describe the experience to someone who hasn't attend Collage Camp? Just like any deep spiritual experience or personal awakening, words to describe it are only like a finger pointing at the moon.

H. Harrison and P. Crasdal from their book, Collage for the Soul, state:  "When a collage is finished a transformation has occurred. Where there once was a random collection of found or created objects and images, there is now a cohesive work." Nowhere else in art-making does synchronicity and intention have such power and impact as in collage-making. By trusting the process of selecting images that resonate with intention and present state of being, a person is transformed by the collision and integration of all the metaphors and symbols that show up in a collage. Or not -- if they do not trust the process.

Collage is much fun! Children do collage -- anyone can do collage (maybe not as good as children). Collage is also recognized as a fine art form. Collage is everywhere as advertisements, serendipitous on street corner posts and fences, in galleries and classrooms -- It is popular because by using images and found objects, a person can make art without being able to draw or know color theory and all that stuff.

Collage also is a powerful process to learn about oneself; a tool for self-discovery. Something happens when we trust our intuition to create a collage. Something emerges when we reflect on the placement and meaning of an image and how it relates to our life. Something transpires when we interact or dialog with the symbology chosen for self-expression. That something is transformation.

So -- back to camp.  It is always a small group (no more than 6 women) to ensure intimacy and individual coaching. We spend four days, each about 6 hours, in each other's good company creating, reflecting, sharing, playing, envisioning, relaxing, journaling, re-creating, and more with collage. We all start by crafting a large collage which then becomes the "jumping off" point, or as Coeleen Kiebert calls it, "grist for the mill" for other collage and art-making projects during the remainder of the camp. One woman during this last camp made eighteen SoulCollage® cards that directly related to her upcoming birthday!

It is an awesome process! (I need to get some testimonials by camp attendees up on my website. Hint. Hint.) I feel very blessed to be able to offer this kind of opportunity. Perhaps you will join us for the next camp - most likely to be scheduled this autumn.