13 Dec Day 27 Getting My Art On
Yesterday I had the privilege to teach collage at my daughter’s school. I am passionate about collage and I will jump at the chance to introduce it to anyone. You see I believe everyone is creative. Kids know this inherently. In fact one of the reasons I love working with kids so much is that they don’t doubt themselves. They jump right in and are completely certain that what they make will be awesome.
With adults, there is often a block to get through. They have unhelpful stories about how they are not creative or have no talent in that department. Making art brings up a lot of fear and insecurity. One of the reasons I love collage above other mediums and use it for my workshops is because it is foolproof. I have done workshops with hundreds of people including nurses, bankers, engineers and plenty of people who did not see themselves as creative or artistic. Every single person ends up making something beautiful. I have yet to see an ugly collage.
Another benefit is that collage is pretty nonthreatening. A blank canvas or a lump of clay can be scary but magazines, scissors and glue? Not so much. How can you mess up gluing pictures from magazines? You can’t! The process is fun. I have been doing collage myself for over 5 years and I still feel the same rush of joy and anticipation when I start a collage as I did when I first discovered it. It never disappoints. When I need some fun and I want to check out from space and time, a magazine and a glue stick gets me there every time.
I thought I would share some of my tips for a great collage experience:
Use quality magazines. Magazine selection is key to this process. Now if you know me you know I border on having a disorder with my love of magazines. I rationalize that my passion is for the greater good because I share them in my workshops. And let’s be honest, how many joy slam dunks can you get in life for under $10? So treat yourself some beautiful and inspiring magazines made on incredible paper. Both Barnes and Noble and Target have a great selection. Some of my favorites:
Where Women Create
The Cottage Journal
Flea Market Style
Town and Country
These are just a few. You may have completely different taste in magazines and that’s fine. It’s all about finding the ones that you are drawn to. You may like Cigar Aficionado, National Geographic and Running. It doesn’t matter. What matters is you get the ones that are inspiring to you. Lately I’m obsessed with gardening magazines and I haven’t been using some of my old standby’s. It’s important not to judge or question what you are drawn to. Don’t think about it. Just go with what calls to you.
Have your supplies ready. You can collage on anything from a piece of paper to wall size poster board. It’s totally to you but I like to start people on a piece of 11×14 foam board. It seems to work best. It’s small enough not to be intimidating but big enough to accommodate larger images. Personally I like big images and I get frustrated if I can’t fit them on my board. You will also need some glue sticks. I like Elmer’s. I prefer their gel sticks but I will use whatever is available. Good quality sharp scissors are key and then I finish up with Modge Podge. I like the glossy one. Paint it on with a sponge brush over your finished collage for texture and to keep the images from peeling off. It dries clear so don’t freak out when you paint it on and it looks white on your images. You can get all of these supplies at Michael’s or Wal-Mart.
Let it rip! Literally. When you have a moment to yourself with your supplies ready you can let it rip. Flip through the magazines and rip out the pages of anything you like. Once again don’t judge it, just rip it. You want to have a nice pile of images to choose from. Usually around 15 is a good amount.
Put the puzzle pieces together. Once you have your images start laying out your board. Put it together like a puzzle. There is no wrong way to do this. Personally I loved a layered look with no white space. I think it adds a lot of interest but if white space is your thing then go with it. Once you have the general layout of your board you can glue down the images.
Seal the deal. When everything is glued it’s Modge Podge time. Dip your brush in the Modge Podge and brush it from the top left corner down and over your board. Be careful with your strokes and if any corners peel up on your images go back and smooth them out. If you accidentally glob too much on then use a dry sponge brush to get off the excess.
And there you have it! A beautiful collage. If you are in need of some fun and creative play in your life this is a very inexpensive, low maintenance way to get it. The great thing is you learn a lot about yourself in the process. So even if collage doesn’t ring your bell, the images on your board may point you in the direction of what does. It’s a very helpful tool and it’s fun!
If you like the idea of collage but aren’t sure about doing it on your own then join me for a workshop. I have to tell you as much as I enjoy collaging alone, nothing compares to a group environment. Something magical happens when you share this experience with like-minded people. Subscribe to my newsletter here and I will keep you posted on the next workshop.
Today just open yourself to the possibility of creative play. It is the antidote to stress. Art opens that magical part of you free from judgement and responsibility where pure joy resides.
I’ll meet you there.