My annual February collage party happened. These are two of the small (8.5″ x 5.5″) collages I made. They will have to take the place of my drawing for this day.
As has become the custom, all attending worked on a group collage. It’s always a grand excursion in working collaboratively and letting expectations go. Quite possible that the process is more interesting than the result, but there’s certainly a lot to look at!
In February I hosted a collage party, as I have for several years now. It’s a great excuse to spend a day with friends doing arty stuff. To prepare, I have to really organize my studio and break out old my magazines, calendars, and scraps of decorative paper.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to warm up to making collages in just one session. I don’t have any direction or focus, and spend the day just looking at paper and images, maybe collecting piles, maybe adding to some older pieces. When everyone is gone, over the next few days it’s time to sort through everything and tidy up. That’s when images start landing next to and upon each other. It took me almost 2 weeks to finish the cleanup this time, because I kept finding one more picture I wanted to make.
I think one of the great things about collage is playing with colors and images that appeal to me, working in a very intuitive way. I have very little guiding idea, especially when I start out. Ideas may emerge out of the process, but I hold them pretty loosely and try to stay in playful visual space, which keeps me from getting didactic and overly critical.
They end up feeling like conversations, or jigsaw puzzles with no defined picture or point of completion. It’s a satisfying thing, and in the end my studio is in much better shape than when I started!
Every year since I think 2009, I’ve hosted a collage party sometime in the depths of February. The germ of the idea was an impromptu anti-valentine’s day session around a friend’s kitchen table. Soon after that, I took a workshop on using collaged images to make your own divination/inspiration card deck. My friend and co-conspirator Emily Cavin instigated a followup session, which became an annual event.
I have an embarrassingly large collection of old magazines, calendars and decorative paper scraps. On the chosen day, some friends come over and spend a large chunk of time playing with images and materials. We also chat and share snacks, and admire each other’s work. It’s completely delightful.
Last year we started making a group collage during the party. A piece gets started, and moves around the room from person to person, as many times as it takes until everyone feels they have nothing more to add. Here’s the group collage from this year’s party:
Emily Cavin continued work on her deck of divination cards, and gave me permission to show them here:
I didn’t get much done except the water/snake image at the top. But I’m pretty content with that. It can take me a while to get revved up for collage, if I don’t have a project already going. I spent much of the day just going through images, and collecting piles of stuff. I’ll have to see if it leads to anything else when I go back out to the studio today to tidy up!
The studio stayed relatively tidy this time, due to very considerate friends with ample space to spread out. Here are a couple shots of my workspace and the supplies just for grins – a happy mess.
It is a tremendous gift to share time with friends for creative play. I hope you are able to do something similar from time to time, in whatever medium feeds your spirit.