I’ve been doing collage on and off since my teens and I can’t help feel I’ve been doing it all wrong. If there is even a wrong way to collage??
There’s not, not really, it is, after all, cutting sticking, and putting it on whatever hard surface you choose. Though I want to take a look back at my collage roots anyway, they have been ripped out from the ground this year.
There was a trend at school (the 90’s pre-2000’s) to cover your books and folders with images you like, I’m not sure if this was the teacher’s way of introducing the new year like a ritual, to personalize each one so they could easily be identified or that we had something enjoyable to look at that enclosed the work.
At school: I had a large A3 plastic folder that closed at the front, this housed all my drama papers, drama was my favorite class. We weren’t at desks, could move around the space and we had a great teacher. On my folder, I had cut up and carefully put as many images of soap stars as you could imagine on this folder. This wasn’t odd as I watched a lot of evening TV as did other people at the school and they covered theirs with pop stars. It was mine, I made it and covered it with cellophane to ensure it’s many years of safety.
I did the same thing with my dresser, this time the soap stars collage was all over three walls, arching over an oval mirror. There’s something about this time that makes me feel glad and happy I was free to follow my creative impulse though at the same time I feel all that TV watching and pasting storylines everywhere I could see, added more drama into my life, and kept me looking on the outside, for love, validation, likes.
Pre-college: My Dad worked at a University and I went along to a free taster session where we mixed pre brought images we liked or things we wanted and put them alongside paint and glitter. This was more my soul calling, it’s a happier memory from my teenage years.
The twenties: Vision boards – A3, notice boards, A4, book-sized and more – the fridge, the toilet – if you can see it you can manifest it! I was pro-vision board for years and I still have images of things on a corkboard though it’s more of a mood board. This reminds me of all the times I used to look through the Argos catalog and cut things out like jewelry and high priced electronics, being in the energy of wanting and less being. I don’t doubt their positive uses, I’ve manifested cars, college courses, relationships, and room makeovers. Though this has been with some effort too, not magic.
Last year: I got excited about collage again, I’ve found it to be a very happy and forgiving medium when I don’t feel the creative motions (whether it be hormones or circumstance) I find images that spark some happiness or feeling and stick them down in my journal. Last year I got a book of images to use for collage, I used a craft knife like the picture shows someone using and got stuck in. I could make stories and worlds within a page!
I enjoyed it though I felt like something was missing, then one ordinary day I cut something out with scissors for the page, and O M G the collage was ON! I was present, curious, and liked I could hold an image in my hand instead of bending over eyes balling at a sharp knife.
I upgraded the scissors to a shaper pair for better precision and I’m thoroughly enjoying it, with a child-like spirit.
I’m discovering there are at least two different ways to collage:
First: Soul collage or documentary style where you cut an image that speaks out to you or a moment in time that you feel is worth looking back on and you cut them out and stick them on the page. I do this at the moment in my diary, Austin Kleon does this too. I cut and stick there is not much organization other than putting them near or far away from each other.
Second: An artful piece, this is where I have a single or double-page and I’m cutting out images then seeing how they will fit together. I will place them on the page and if I’m coming back to it later, blue tack them down. I sometimes take a picture on my phone to remember the layout if it’s not obvious straight away. These are fun, they can be time-consuming and I find that I’m most present doing this style a) I’m using sharp scissors b) I’m putting a scene together and I’m in the flow.
Below is the first spread of my square journal for 2021 in my newly decorated journals. It started with a self-portrait and some Santas and morphed into so much more. I was going to do something with the woman on the right though I left it and scattered flowers, gems, a bird, and a Kaur. I’ve been waiting to add this Sikhi element for ages and finally, it felt right!
On finishing I listened to a video on Sikh journeys through Covid19 by Sikh PA and it felt wonderful to be in some form of and start the day off with familiar faces and Sangat (holy company) of people on a similar journey.
I’m going to explore drawing again in my square book for the next few weeks.