Tag Archives: Collage

What a psychic said

We’ve all been victim to the innocuously made comment, bland in endorsement, challenging in ambiguity.

Such as: I see you’ve gotten your hair cut.

Another example said to me years ago by a psychic: “you’re in good shape, considering what you’ve been through.”

Okay… I’m sure she meant to be encouraging but the fact that I’ve never forgotten her words kinda suggests otherwise.

These three scraps of paper, from the top down: 1) an aerial view of a lake in Colorado; 2) antique linens beautifully cared for; 3) a young impoverished girl sunk in a wading pool, somehow managing to look both defiant and defeated.

This is more of a time line than a depiction of ‘above, center and below’ as prompted by Acey* in Prompt #24:

Above/Below/Within — Tell a 3 piece story about who you are in relation to the sacred directions

Reading from bottom to top — the girl represents what I was given (not literally, I grew up comfortably middle class), the linens represent the mediating power of creativity, the clouds and lake, call forth the bigger picture, the place of transformation.

With a birthday on the horizon, it’s an opportunity to think about the archetype of The Water Bearer. To me, the lake and clouds suggest Aquarius. They reference the sign’s reputation for having concerns about humanity generally (as opposed to singular people), and for taking an airy intellectual approach. Sometimes the cool mental ways associated with Aquarius strike me as ‘less than’ — no heart-centered earth mother here!

Without intending to so do, this collage reveals the strength and beauty of such an approach.

The collage below also came together this morning — similar in structure, but more grounded, specific and joyful.

The fact that the points along the linen’s edge form a row of houses is just perfect.

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Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album, SoulCollage, and the tags for SoulCollage and collage here on the blog.

And from last night, another slide show made, in part, while sleepless last night. We were away this weekend, so I hope to catch up by Wednesday.

I’ll list out photo sources later.

Home, prison, companions

Continuing with Collage Month.* Sort of.

Prompt #22: Breathe deeply and visualize a place that you love. Send it a Valentine.

It may be trite to say that home is a place I love, but it truly is. What follows is a little bit more of a meditation than a valentine — one that includes ‘home’ as well as intellectual/heart preoccupations that have taken place within its walls. Maybe a valentine is to follow.

The nest: a classic symbol of home. My nest is empty now, but it hasn’t t always been.

I put the photo of the prison work force picking cotton behind the nest as a way of saying that from the comfort of my home (and my white privilege), I’ve been able to delve into the darkest period of our nation’s history — a history that some would say hasn’t really ended because ‘slavery didn’t disappear, it evolved’ — unpaid or barely paid prison work forces who are disproportionately black standing as one piece of evidence.

When I noticed what looks like tufts of cotton in the bird’s nest, I thought, “how appropriate,” offering symbolic testament to how the comforts and ease of my life are facilitated by the color of my skin, purchased with black sweat and suffering.

It is my belief that once you truly internalize this, you cannot help but support reparations. (See the Atlantic Article on sidebar).

Home (below), from this morning.

BTW, that first shot is not a double exposure but created by shooting the glass case of a cabinet.

Then I went to find a companion for the tree as directed by Acey in Prompt 21, only to discover I’d already inserted one.

Before discovering Stag Boy already glued in, I’d had the impulse to add a fabulous couple, clipped from Vogue or Elle ages ago. It is the only SoulCollage card I’ve ever made with a single clipped image. I love them so much.

But then my printer went wonky and even after replacing the color cartridge, produced some bizarre and intriguing results.

It’s weird how the stripes continued the reference to prisons.

Prison vs home.


And then, because it came up, here’s an old SoulCollage card about America. You’ll recognize the lead from True Blood.

Not sure you can see, but there is a tear falling down her cheek.

Okay, one more. A less literal more Feeling State card about America.

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Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album, SoulCollage, and the tags for SoulCollage and collage here on the blog.

 

20 Rectification

What force, what power, might be ushered in to rectify the damage of old limiting beliefs?*

At first I thought: movement, dynamism, light. Wheels and lightening.

But this is what came and it interests me more than the elemental first take. Here I find: mentorship, a path laid out by others, ritual. We see the moment BEFORE flight. A controlled relationship with a wild and fierce creature of the sky is depicted. There is wonder and delight. Mystery.

I am the student and the teacher. I am the raptor and the tether-holder. I am the arms and the wings uplifted as well as the stones lying flat, secured by grass roots and gravel.

Perhaps even the tether and raptor hood (not shown) are part of becoming free? If used in service of flight? In service of relationship to that which is wild?

Who is the hooded figure in the lower left and what’s with that ball of light? What did the boy do to invite it in? (It’s the sun setting over Assisi, double exposed, but still… )

I take my collage to mean getting unstuck and banishing my lack of faith with support, with tried and true tools, by putting one foot after another on a traveled path.

Writing a novel is like going out to sea, alone. I think Natalie Goldberg said that.

So the idea of walking a well-tended path, where help shows up now and then is revolutionary.

Below are a few digital responses. My printer isn’t cooperating, so they may not make it to glue and page.

I just turned off Jay Sekulow. There is only so much I can take (hood?)

Prompt #20 in full:

Let’s suppose a thought held by many has been powerful enough to jettison The Occupant once and for all. Why stop there? Why not just assume that for the duration of responding to this prompt you’re Empress of Everything.

What will you usher in to begin to rectify the damage incurred by the agent of destruction you’ve banished?

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Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album. SoulCollage and the tags here on the blog

What gets in the way?

It’s a good thing there are only 11 days left to Acey’s Collage Month* because it’s been so consuming! Consuming in a very good way, but consuming.

The next prompt: What gets in my way?

DOUBT is what first came to mind but I went with what came second to mind: LACK OF FAITH.

In particular: lack of faith in personal good outcomes. A train wreck is one of those things: ordinary and yet tragic. It could happen to anyone on their way to work. But it’s also rare, so why assume it’s only a matter of time until I’m sent off the rails?

In the second image, strips of a woodland creek scene butt up against photos of the disaster, as if the trees and water were complicit or at least, failing to offer protection.

Sorry for the glare here but the day is demanding that I move on.

A big thanks to LIZ, of the blog I’m Going to Texas, for sending me a big pot of YES paste. It’s sticky to the hands but so much more effective than what I was using. Thank you!

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Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album. SoulCollage and the tags here on the blog

Also, here’s a little minute plus that I made last night.

Scissors to cut and to edit

Prompt #17*

Consider something extremely literal and mundane that’s central to your life and sense of well-being. How could you exalt this subject in a way that expresses its internalized value to you?

Scissors are indispensable to the quilter as actual tool and vital to the writer as a symbol for editing.

Yesterday, I cut rectangles of fabric for a crib quilt commission and cut out almost 3,000 words from my manuscript (where, by the way, snakes like this show up more than once).

The snakes add a mythic element.

Transformation: the shedding of skin.

Eternity: the snake eating its tail.

Death: by venomous fangs.

Meanwhile, The snow did NOT turn to rain as predicted.

And it‘s light and fluffy.

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Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album. SoulCollage and the tags here on the blog.

Arms aloft Sufi

Found my protective talisman. My agent of change. My reminder of where transformation lies.

The whirling Dervish.

Coming of age as I did near New Lebanon, New York, the site of The Abode, I knew Sufis. Worked with a few at a Japanese restaurant near the intersection of Routes 20 and 22. Watched the waitresses go weak in the knees when Pir Vilayat Khan came to dine.

Even before that, though, I’d spent a summer working at a camp in Nova Scotia run by a Sufi. I bunked with another Sufi from Czechoslovakia (it was still around back then). I learned heart-centered meditation that summer, which competed with the TM I’d learned the year before. There was lots of storytelling and swimming naked in the sea, which is warm up there because of the Gulf Stream.

Years later, when I took part in a group that looked to Rumi for wisdom and occasionally cleared the floor to whirl, I was primed.

Whirling draws down heaven, even when you are a clod with no teacher and slim practice. Reliably so.

Somewhat like Grace’s Tree Woman, this glowing image of dervishes has been in my possession been for many, many years — most recently, pinned to the basement fridge (in my studio) with magnets. Ten years? More?

It wasn’t until cutting the outline of the Sufi that I realized the similarity of the arms held aloft to the girl running up the steps and the skateboarding boy.

Maybe it’s time to dance again? Or whirl?

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Prompt 16. Acey’s Collage Month.

See also my Flickr album. SoulCollage and the tags here on the blog.

Where is your strength your totem

What totem, what symbol, what spirit of grace might show up at the table today?

Another provocative and well-timed prompt by Acey at the midpoint of Collage Month.*

I was flummoxed — which seemed like a version of an old script that says, ‘I have no support, no bolstering grace.’ The potential (provable) fallacy of such a view kicked up a healthy skepticism. I went off and cleaned the upstairs.

Autocorrect changed the parenthetical word above from “probable” to “provable.” The substituted sense is stronger and I will be collecting proofs of bolstering grace going forward.

Later, shifting papers around, it came to me that my totem had already shown up. Repeatedly.

It’s that silhouette. He is part ghost, part Jedi Master, part Arab (as signifier of the larger world). He looks backwards but moves forward. He shows up anywhere and everywhere. He is witness but also, IN and OF every landscape.

The figure holds mystery. How do I even know their gender?

I consciously put strips of paper in a couple of these compositions that reference language and textiles, two areas of pursuit in my life that might be considered redemptive.

The messier assemblage below points to issues of American history and racism, since those things often arise when making collages as well.

The boat etching could have come straight out of The 1619 Project: a scene of bodies being moved to a colony as chattel. Or perhaps these paddlers are already on some planter’s inventory and move merchandise from ship to shore. The gold paper scraps represent the vast sums of wealth generated on the backs of black bodies. The big bones overhanging — weighty, limiting, obscuring of the sky — represent structural racism. Lasting, like bones. Hidden, like bones. The tri-part composition seems to graphically reference the “wealth gap.”

Finally, I also came upon the photo below — an arrangement of pieced/loose sections laid out while studying the Middle Passage. The pieces never got assembled, making the picture the only incarnation of that particular thought.

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For info on this collage project see Acey’s blog

For more SoulCollage cards of mine, go to Flickr on sidebar and open the SoulCollage album. Or, track the ‘SoulCollage’ and ‘collage’ tags here on the blog.

The ‘slavery’ tag will take you to several years of thoughts about both history and my relationship to it.

Also: The New York Times published The 1619 Project, but I didn’t link to them because of their firewall. If you subscribe, go there first. The NYTimes podcast The Daily, put out several Saturday episodes expanding on the topic which were moving and informative.

Originator of the project: Nikole Hannah-Jones @nhannahjones (on Instagram). There’s also a hashtag: #1619project.