When I'm not telling stories in words, I tell them with images through collage. I have always found comfort and creativity in the cutting and pasting of images that catch my eye. I'm not an artist in the traditional sense, but I am able to create something unique and beautiful through my collages.
I have created collages for most of my travels abroad. These
souvenirs are my answer to scrapbooking. The benefit of the collage
for me is that when I hang the framed collection of memories on the
wall, I can relive my trip every day rather than having to pull a
photo album off the shelf, which I likely wouldn't do.
Like succinct writing, collage requires an economy of images to
tell the overall story. There isn't room to include every photo from
the trip, so I choose the ones that help tell the story best.
This past Christmas I used my collaging skills to create a gift
for Cadence. I had a Coldplay calendar that had been a prized gift
from a friend in the UK from a few years back. I decided to dismantle
the calendar and to choose images to create a memento to remember our
summer Coldplay concert experience. I chose a calendar page for each
of us and then created notecards from other images. I enjoyed giving
the calendar a new life through the collages and notecards. It seemed
a better way to honor my friend's gift than to let it collect dust on
a shelf somewhere.
This is the collage I made for my daughter. It includes a LOVE pin
they handed out at the doors, confetti that fell from the ceiling,
and her ticket stub.
I wasn't prepared for her reaction. “This is one of my favorite
gifts! I love it. Thank you so much, Mommy! Can I take it with me to
Her reaction restored my faith in the idea that handmade gifts
carry a lot of weight and meaning. And that the best gifts don't have
to cost a lot of money.
She's commented about her collage repeatedly since Christmas. When
I asked her why she loved it so much, she told me, “Because it's a
good memory from an awesome concert.”
That's exactly what I wanted it to be for her. That night in July
was pretty amazing. I hope when she looks at the collage she
remembers that our seats were close enough to the floor that she
walked away from me to get a closer look at the lead singer, Chris
Martin, as he walked through the audience. I hope she remembers the
excitement she felt when she returned to her seat and yelled, “I
touched Chris Martin's arm!”
No matter how big a fan I am, I would never have had the gumption to reach out to my favorite singer. Never. Not in my forties, and definitely not when I was nine. Her moxie in that moment made me admire her even more
than I already did.
This weekend I felt a little restless, so I worked on my
collage to complete the Coldplay collection. With scissors, rubber cement,
glue gun, and quiet creativity at the ready, I put the elements of my
collage together. The process was like meditation. I quieted the
noisy chatter in my mind with each snip of paper and swipe of glue. It is true: art heals and soothes and makes the world better.