First the components: the B&W profile supplied by Paris Collage Club as this week’s prompt; the paper collage using the prompt and magazine cutouts; a photo of K on Mt. Washington in Los Angeles, full size and cropped.
Variations made using dianaphotoapp as usual. I also used the app called Grungetastic for the third image. A number of older collages (both paper and digital) got layered into a couple. Usually I like selections that keep the week’s prompt very distinct and central. But then again, the combos where the prompt nearly disappears can also intrigue me.
You’ll notice in one collage the National Geographic image of an Egyptian man dragging a net. I have riffed off of this photo for two years now (from Acey’s challenge and before). I’m not sure why it compels me so, but writing this post I now see (duh) how my photo of K echoes that silhouette.
I’ve printed out a couple of these and will go back to paper and see what comes up.
But first, we are off the buy compost and a few flowers (it’s almost Mother’s Day after all!)
Much of creative discovery is propelled by laziness — or at least in my case, it is. It’s not that I mind performing lots of discrete steps or putting in the time (sometimes an obscene amount of time, I might add), it’s that I don’t always love some of the individual steps — for instance, gluing shit down.
Enter the scene: 8 1/2 x 11” sticky paper designed to be fed into an inkjet printer. Oh, am I psyched about this!
Step one: rip and cut collage elements. Place on blank page. No glue. Photograph.
This is as ephemeral as you can get, by the way, because by the end of this process, this arrangement will no longer exist. Digital record only. Do I mind the curling edges and the shadows produced by them? Sometimes. Sometimes not.
Step two: run photo of unglued collage through a bunch of filters using dianaphoto app.
My favorites below combined the collage and a photo I took of very weathered wood — perhaps a window opening to a slave cabin? I don’t remember. Using the “roll the dice” function for shuffling images in dianaphoto means I don’t always recognize what comes up and, having 13,000+ pictures on my phone, I don’t necessarily want to track down the source (see laziness, above).
Step three: select one photo of a layered collage and print onto sticky paper. Trim and stick to sketchbook page.
Step four: pillage elements from original collage (remember, nothing was glued down) and adhere them to the print/layered version.
I have trouble getting the interface between my phone and printer to do what I want it to, so I often just go with what comes out. In this case the slight change in scale served the design.
PS Sometimes I use the app “whitagram” to add a white border around an image so that when I print it, the image is smaller. In this case, I didn’t.
PPS The photo of the weathered wood was taken with the app “Hipstamatic” which applied the off-white faux paper photo border and also muted some of the color.
Maybe I’ll try to find the original after all. But first, it’s shrimp scampi for lunch (inspired by Melissa Clark’s cooking video on NYTimes cooking app) and then I’ve got to bake Za’atar Parmesan Pinwheels (same app) for a 75th bday party tonight!
The two female faces showed up in an earlier collage, some filtered versions below.
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).
I’ve been trying to combine already quilted remnants with other cloth. The layers have their own ideas. Not sure my determination will be enough to overcome bubbles and ugly edges.
Section outlined in red below is already three layers (including batting).
The week has been quiet, the holidays muted. I’m kinda glad they’re over. I kept bumping into sadness and got tired of constantly having to manage expectations.
My brother and sister-in-law gave us membership in a Puzzle-A-Month club. Who knew such clubs existed? We are very psyched. Hope the next one is a little easier than the first (above).
I’m not picking a word for 2023. The practice feels out of reach, I’ll just say that. But I might set a modest goal, which is to learn — FINALLY, AT LAST — some rudimentary elements of perspective. I’ve tried, believe me. It’ll take a lot more practice.
If you look at my most liked photos from Instagram, you can see how much my quilts and collages might benefit from a different view of structure.
The middle, far-left (above) made an attempt and it is terrible.
I’ll end with a version of an inspirational quote I found online and then couldn’t find again, so I made my own little poster. Don’t know who said this, but it is pure gold.
0 — number of times I’ve been discouraged by Dems in Disarray narrative, Dems need better messaging coverage, negative polls, or Doomsday DOJ sentiments;
0 is also the number of cold frosts so far this year; number of times I’ve had Covid;
1 — number of ballots cast this week; number of books I’m reading right now; number of queries sent out recently; number of mini, fallen skeletons seen in the neighborhood today.
2 — number of meals I served homemade croutons with (homemade spinach soup and a killer Caesar salad); number of manuscript rejections received with an actual email in last few weeks;
3 — number of people within two degrees of separation who have died recently. One was almost 100, one was almost 99, and one was 59. Also number of times I heard the liturgical response in Latin in my head at a funeral Mass this morning;
3.5 — number of inches of hair that I cut off this week;
4 — (also during Mass) number of times I heard my mother’s voice saying, “I love a good Irish tenor;” approximate number of times I wondered what my Jewish neighbors thought about all the sitting, standing, and kneeling going on;
5 — number of WIP quilts that I am actively working on right now;
6 — numbers of days recently racked up without sugar;
21 — number of white linens out to dry at salon on Center Street;
31 — number of tulip bulbs planted in containers to force;
75 — number of daily emails I receive from democratic candidates (just kidding, but whew — it’s a lot);
875 — total number of #PostcardstoVoters I’ve sent out in last two years (this is a real number);
Too many to count — number of times I’ve fast-forwarded through TV news coverage recently either because * I’ve already learned about issue in some detail through twitter or because ** it’s nattering on and on about what Dems are doing wrong or because *** they’re playing a clip of the former guy (and usually one I’ve heard umpteen times before — e.g. portions of his bullying, illegal conversation with Raffensperger); times I’ve felt grateful for Finn’s company.
The number of collages made in the last month, especially digital, is also too many to count.