It may seem strange to post about collages when so many horrible things are going on in Ukraine. Besides making a small donation to an organization assisting there*, and offering up thoughts and prayers for peace, I have not really felt empowered to make any real difference in the resolution of the conflict.
So, in order to keep my focus on the idea of “creation”, I committed my time and energy to a group art project entitled “Februllage”. In my free-time I worked continuously through the month of February to fulfill a promise (to myself) to create 28 collages based on daily prompts.
This creative distraction reminded of other times in my life when outside forces were out of my control and I would sit and meditatively do needlework or other crafts in order to push through it all, to keep my spirit up, to emotionally survive. I don’t remember if I have posted this here before but I like to say: “I’m lucky that many of my defense mechanisms are considered talents.”
They did not set any other daily parameters but, because I suppose it was not hard enough to spend days trying to find key images and to think of how to best present them, I added additional rules for myself, as a challenge. I decided that all my 28 collages had to be:
- 4” wide by 6” high;
- constructed of paper, adhesives, and tape only;
- portrait orientation (short edge on top); and
- ideally, if it is a noun, will contain an image that is, or represents that prompt word.
Here are my 2022 Februllage pieces (click on them to enlarge)
If you have not tired of reading about my collages yet, I will tell you a story of the Clouds piece, a near-fail. (This might also give a little insight to my internal process as I work on these pieces.)
During my image searching phase I found many images of clouds and even a large sofa shaped like a cloud, and I would have used those as my background but then I saw some graph paper with clouds I had hand stamped over 20 years ago. I had designed and carved a rubber stamp to print the negative space between clouds and this was a scrap of paper I had used for testing. I liked the colors and the industrial feel of the rigid blue squares under the pastel clouds.
I found an old Ray Ban sunglasses advertisement that was printed on vellum, a sheer opaque paper and I thought it would work with the clouds and some lavender handmade recycled paper.
Unfortunately, after I had decided on my layout and I began to assemble the collage, I did not remember that I had used water-soluble ink for those clouds and it reacted with the glue, started to smear. I had also decided to punch a few holes in the vellum, thinking they would allow some of the cloud colors to peek through—but this was not as clever an idea as I had imagined when the edges of these little holes caught clumps of glue. These clumps created a mess as I tried to apply the vellum to the base collage. And, then everything became difficult to align when I tried to apply glue directly to the vellum instead—it rolled up tightly and would not uncurl all the way.
I almost threw the collage away because it would not lay flat; it had so many flaws. Then I remembered a phrase from “Art Engineer” Luis Martin (of Collage Dream) that I heard in one of his YouTube videos, “nothing is precious” so, I clenched my teeth and just ripped off the offending warped and bubbled vellum revealing the clouds and brighter colors beneath. [P.S. Luis has a Februllage Show & Tell video you might enjoy.]
Sprocket Prints – My Journal
I have a previous post about Keeping Notebooks. This year I am using a slightly larger art journal format. For February, each of my daily entries featured a small Sprocket print of that day’s collage on top of a printed/painted black bar, a visual anchor.
UPDATE-March 2022: Because of crisis in Ukraine the Februllage project has added an additional collage prompt “Peace”. Here is my piece, created March 5, 2023:
*9 Meaningful Ways You Can Help Ukraine [https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/ways-to-help-ukraine-conflict/]