Category Archives: Collage

Falling apart / gluing together

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.

Eliza?

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.

Sea Island Indigo workshop, SC. 2014

I could say more about all of this but will leave it here for now.

Image of gate leading out of barracoon, west coast of Africa, plus other images.

* Exceptions: The Sketchbook Projects, collected collages done under Acey’s direction, and two books of Paris Collage Club works (one done, one in progress).

It’s snowing

I dreamt I was on a cooking show. I couldn’t find a spoon or a bowl or eggs and I had to make Yorkshire Pudding. Time kept sliding past. I had nothing to show. I can’t get an F, I thought. I’ll make a sandwich!

One of THoSe dreams.

Maybe the dream was informed by a stretch of intense editing. I deleted two more chapters. I’m back to tracking word count. Recently, sliced out nearly 1,000 words.

Time keeps sliding past.

Some pretty snowflakes are falling right now, but yesterday was rain, rain, rain. There’s been a lot of rain falling this “winter.”

I found out that The Sketchbook Project’s library is closing its doors in Brooklyn. There’s a narrow window in which one could sign in, pay a fee, and request the return of your booklet. I submitted two, years back.

I couldn’t even sign in. Had the right everything. I know it. When I can’t sign in somewhere I usually don’t have that confidence.

I may try again but if I can’t get in, eh. I gave them up once, it shouldn’t be that hard to let the status quo reassert itself.

Paris Collage Club effort that used a Sketchbook Project page as a layer

This link may or may not work.

https://www.sketchbookproject.com/library/S132182

I had to copy it into my search bar. ALSO, there’s a Sketchbook Project tag on the sidebar.

Dog, collage, and cream biscuits

Someone looking guilty
Someone looking on with avid interest
Someone ready to go outside after licking the cutting board
PCC collage made when I couldn’t sleep last night
The prompt this week is the woman’s face

Hope my American friends had a tasty and relaxing day! We were four and it was really nice. I learned you can always make something else (oh? Bourbon-laced sweet potatoes? Why not! Cream biscuits? Sure!), thereby turning a meal for four into something more like dinner for nine.

I had a chance to test the Hockey Puck Biscuit Theory.

Previously, I have been embarrassed and annoyed that any time I tried to make cream biscuits for a holiday meal, they were epic fails. Hockey puck biscuits. While my more private baking adventures are not uniformly good, I often manage to produce tasty and flaky biscuits.

Until yesterday, I figured the tension and pressure of putting out a dinner for a crowd foiled my efforts. But yesterday, we were four. There goes my theory.

So what, then? A post-turkey oven is not hospitable? Sitting on a cookie tray for three hours jinxes the dough? Anyone? Maybe the cut dough needs to be refrigerated until oven-time.

I mean look at that thing! It’s practically two-dimensional.

Everything else was good, I’m happy to report including the cookies (talk about going overboard. I’d already made a pumpkin cheesecake).

It’s cold. It may or may not be raining. If not, it will be raining soon.

Lastly, I came upon two share-worthy creators this morning. The poem by Bernadette Mayer (below) offers a master class in the use of repetition and captures my mood of late. The collage artist, a 75-year-old woman living on one of the barrier islands along the South Carolina coast, takes my breath away. Some of her pieces are huge. Aldwyth.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49736/failures-in-infinitives

Pix of trial and error

First semi-successful gelli plate magazine transfer
Magazine page after failed transfer

A fourth Amherst Writers’ circle today. Zero meetings next week. Change of rhythm. Special counsel appointed. Dingdong’s hat in the ring. Dogs walks while wearing hat and gloves. Twitter sputtering, me grieving. Reading a great memoir. Watching Derry Girls. Gave up on 1899. Pretty low energy here – sorry! Black bean soup last night. Tonight a roast chicken. Planning a pumpkin cheesecake. Extreme gratitude for a new beta reader. One hundred pages in. Good questions. Back hurts but it’s time to rise and shine!