Lately I’ve had a bit of down time…which gave me the opportunity to finish reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, BIG MAGIC. I had started it over two years ago…but it seemed that it always sank to the bottom of the nightstand reading pile, in favor of magazine articles that can easily be consumed before drifting off to sleep. I wanted to soak in her words and ponder her advice which wasn’t going to happen in the 15 minutes of drowsy coherence before I dozed off. A week confined to rest was the opportune time.
I’m sure that many of you have read it - it is a volume filled with insight and enthusiasm for keeping your creative spirit alive. But there was a particular portion that really struck a chord with me…about staying curious and following where that thread may lead. Not every creative project starts as a grand idea in your head, ready to manifest itself into existence. Some ideas are unplanned…rather impromptu…you pull on a loose thread to see where it goes…what you untangle…where it ends.
She asks you to follow an idea…however small or mundane…it may spark a bit of curiosity…follow that clue…trust it…see where it leads you.
Well, no sooner than I had read this passage did such a moment come to pass. I was cleaning up my work space, finished with a series of collages I had completed that used fragments of old french pay stubs and cyanotype prints that I had made two summers ago. I usually have quite a selection of materials on hand when I’m pulling together a composition…lots of auditioning goes on until I find just the right composition of elements.
This cyanotype of a maple leaf along with a piece of eco-dyed linen caught my eye…
adding in a bit of a french pay receipt…I literally felt the need to pull the thread to see where this might go.
I looked around at the table to see what else might add to the story…the blue of the vintage Dennison box blended perfectly…and if I finished off the inside of the box, that would add another level of interest…
Keeping with the feel and look of the rest of the series, I knew that I needed a metal element…old window markers would be ideal and would reinforce the number elements of the receipt. An aside here…window markers were used years ago, when one had separate screens and storm windows for the house. The markers indicated which screens/storms matched up so the proper one went on the correct window.
I completed the inside of the Dennison box with the addition of some maple seed whirligigs…and a small key for additional metal interest.
Here’s the completed collage…a wooden typeset capital A adds weight and interest to the bottom third of the composition…and a rough frame made from old garden stakes finishes the piece.
the moral of the story…trust serendipity…you never know where it might lead…
This collage, and the rest of the five collages in the series “Measurement” will be available at the Wedgwood Art Festival , July 13-14, in Seattle. I hope you will stop by.