Serendipity and Collages

I got an e-mail that the local library was doing a class on collages.  Yes, collages.  Remember those?  Tearing images out of magazines, arranging them somehow, gluing it all together?  Well, adults do it too…and sell them for quite a bit of money.  (Well, our teacher does at least!)  Realizing I hadn’t been on an Artist Date in a while, I decided to attend the class.

The only problem was that we were told to bring images with us.  I don’t subscribe to any magazines.  And I wasn’t about to go spend a bunch of money buying new ones just to tear them apart.  The whole idea is to use old ones – reuse, recycle.  So, as usual when I need something I don’t have, I figured I’d just go to Mom and Dad’s for it.  I swear they must get twenty magazines a month – at least.

I was in Rhode Island when I got the info about the class, so figured I’d take care of getting my images when I got home.  But God had other plans.

As it turns out, I was in Rhode Island helping a couple of friends declutter – and was actually getting paid for it!  Guess what one of my clients was getting rid of?  Yup.  Old magazines.  She was thrilled to give them to me to use for my upcoming craft project.  I took about ten of them, and put the other hundred in her recycling bin.

The class was yesterday.  I still had the magazines in my trunk.  So I grabbed some scissors, got in my car a half hour before I was due to leave and started cutting.  There’s something meditative to me about cutting out things.  I was responsible for the coupons growing up – dad had no patience for going through the sale papers and cutting them, but he had no problem using the ones I diligently found and presented as we entered the baking aisle for brownie mix.  I was into scherenschnitte for a while – using very tiny scissors to cut beautiful designs.  And now here I was cutting images from magazines.  In my car.  At 10 AM on a Saturday.  And really wishing I had another hour to do it.

Turns out I did: we spent most of the class looking through more magazines and getting more images – the library had plenty to recycle.  With only 20 minutes left of the class, I had yet to find a suitable theme or arrangement.  As a student who always wanted to get the assignment “right” I was tempted to call the teacher over for some advice.  But instead decided to just keep plugging along.  And of course, it came to me.  I had been attracted not to images of “things” in particular, but colors.  Lots of blues, in fact.  I had four different size rectangles of shades of blue which I layered on top of each other biggest to smallest, then made it “pop” with an image in the middle of a white vase with a red design on it.  I loved it.

The lady next to me said, “It looks very geometric and orderly.  Are you like that otherwise?”  I looked at the rectangles, at the splash of color in the middle.  “Well, I am a math tutor, so maybe that’s where the geometric thing comes in.  But I do a bunch of other random creative things, so that’s maybe what the color in the middle is all about.”  And it all made sense.  Our teacher had said collage was very reflective and how it was interesting to see what patterns emerged.  Here, with just five images from the forty I cut out, I had made an abstract image of me.

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