I have a bunch of collage books. They’re generally not art books but rather something between pattern studies and wish lists for interior design.*
There’s a freedom in cutting and pasting without worrying too much about the results.
I pulled a notebook out yesterday that’s falling apart. This intersection of picture-edge and coil failure is probably my favorite shot from the book.
I used to use rubber cement. It often fails with time. I like the marks it leaves behind too.
You’ll notice some themes: barns and fabric, angels and antique maps of the heavens, flowers. Death and ghosts. Love and more flowers.
The peony/Browning poem with a picture of D as a young boy is a copy from another Sketchbook Project, the one I cannot find on the site. The theme was : Jackets, Blankets, and Sheets.
Rubber cement mark on lower left.
Sometimes the order of the images matters. I like the way the three above relate to each other.
And sometimes (often?), the collages reveal that I was thinking about my novel, like the ones below.
In the period that I wrote about (1737 to 1744), many of the enslaved had just been kidnapped from Africa. They were called “saltwater slaves” or “comyahs” (as opposed to “binyahs”) (say those two words aloud and they’ll make sense). In other words, in the early colonial period, some slaves were born here and some in Africa. I’ve thought a lot about what it would have meant to have memories of home, to have been ripped away from a coherent society and family, to be force marched and shipped to these shores into lives of brutality, abject humiliation, and privation.
These geographical and soul wounds can be viewed through the lens of indigo. Eliza Pinckney was an early innovator, but the slaves who harvested, aerated, and acidified the batches of dye may have had very specific memories about the crop, not to mention expertise. I learned about the Tuaregs of the Sahara, also known as “the blue men” for their intense deep indigo blue turbans — cloth which when unwrapped would leave blue shadows across their foreheads. I learned that in some areas of Western Africa cloths were woven with indigo threads to swaddle babies at birth. The same cloths would be worn at weddings and then used as shrouds at the end. Also, I learned that men tended to be the weavers.
I could say more about all of this but will leave it here for now.
* Exceptions: The Sketchbook Projects, collected collages done under Acey’s direction, and two books of Paris Collage Club works (one done, one in progress).