Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Collage to Cope

Making a collage can be a fun and enlightening experience.  Every time I have made a collage, I have kept it, because I feel a connection to it, like it has a secret meaning in my life.  A collage is easy to do.  Gather some old magazines, your own, or mooched from other people.  Women's Day, Family Circle and other magazines like these contain a wealth of tidbits, and any magazines of your interests or hobbies would work as well.  Catalogs are also good.  Try to get a variety of sources.  In addition, you will need a piece of cardboard or paper for your base (I like 11" x 17" or thereabout, it is not too big to be intimidating, but big enough to have room to play with.)  Scissors can be useful, but aren't really necessary. You will need glue or glue stick.

You can start with a theme in mind, like 'taking care of me', 'healthy living', 'my dream vacation', 'a perfect day', 'positive ways to cope with stress', or anything else that interests you.  Or you can make a collage of  anything that catches your eye, with no particular theme to guide you.  Start paging through a magazine, looking for images, words and phrases that you like that fit your theme.  When you find something, cut or tear it out.  Keep your mind open.  You may find things you would never have thought of on your own.  There may be a phrase that you can rearrange to fit your needs.  For instance, let's say you find an article titled "How Can I Go On Like This?"  You can keep just the words "I Like This", or "I Can Go On Like This", or  simply "I Can".

Some people like to glue their finds down as they find them, I prefer to collect everything first, then play with how to arrange them on my paper or board.  If you glue as you go along, be forewarned that you may find the perfect picture, but not have room for it.  I usually end up with some words and/or pictures left over.  You can put them in an envelope, and save them for another time.  You can make new collages as often as you like, on the same theme, or different themes. If you want, you can get very creative.  No one said you have to stick (pun intended) with magazine pictures.  You can add stamps, buttons, scraps of cloth, photos, etc.  Collaging can be similar to scrapbooking.  (This type of collage takes more forethought and planning, and is not as spontaneous or relaxing.)

The act of making a collage is relaxing and therapeutic.  Your mind quiets, and you become introspective.  The end result can be inspiring and uplifting, and can act as a reminder of what you have going for you.  Put it somewhere where you will see it often.   Making a collage is a great group project.  Gather some friends together, and go at it.  Besides finding items for their own collage, people will likely find items of interest to give to others.  You can present your collages to each other at the end, or put them all in the middle, and see if people can tell which is whose.

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