Perhaps there has been no better time to explore ourselves as the creators of our own lives. While so many of us are home or isolated, many of us find ourselves sifting through what remains, missing those we love, longing for experiences gone, and piecing together the parts of ourselves that seem lost to us right now. This is the perfect time to reflect on what has been and imagine what might be, and what better way than through artistic expression? Artist and author Amy Zerner delves into this beautiful method of healing and becoming with us through this timely article today. Gather the things you treasure around you — your memorabilia, objects you find beautiful, things that enrich your spirit — alone or together with your children, and collage your own soul seal to gather and prepare for what may come.
We are all already collage artists and, in fact, we are all collages — the way we dress, the way we arrange the items in our homes, our dressing tables. And a lot of the way we see things, our taste for what is visually pleasing, is comprehended in this same way: How does this picture look here? Are the curtains the right color with the couch? Are these earrings too long for my face? These are all judgments that are an important introduction to the art of collage.
We all collect things – photographs, stones, shells, cards that your friends send, dried flowers from a trip. Collage can be a way of re-cycling — of creating a life story or a visual diary out of reminiscent objects or images that convey an important time in your life. You may make one once a year for reproduction as a greeting card for a special day.
Let’s try a project where we identify some of our own personal symbols and incorporate them into a personal “inner” portrait — to capture our essence and make magic that way. To empower and imagine the way you might like things to be. To make a stage set, to act out your hopes and dreams. Or, you might want to make a Soul Seal of someone else.
Another way you might think of this collage piece is as a “treasure map” — you can even add words and affirmations to the image so that when you see it, it stimulates your confirmation of that goal: “success” — “finding the perfect mate” — “good health”.
I would like to convey how important it is to be open and in tune with your unconscious and spontaneous self. Try to be as a child. There might be something that falls out of the magazine by accident. You notice a bird fly by. Everything is synchronistic. You pass a yard sale and stop by — there is the perfect object that you’ve been wishing for.
As far as materials go, anything goes. We make a big mess when we collage. You need a lot to play with. These materials are your palette. You want a pile of materials at hand, so that you can develop a flow. At some point you might see in your Soul Seal the only thing that will do is a purple flower in the right-hand corner — in that case you will have to stop and search — but you might run across a perfect tiger that you would not have even thought of if the other thing hadn’t come up.
Often when I need something, I find someone comes to the door with the exact right thing (my friends are always scouting for me!), right when I need it, or in the mail. There are no accidents — that is why collage is such a therapeutic technique.
When we develop our abilities to visualize, we can achieve many goals — we can create our own reality. By making these decisions it strengthens our decision-making abilities on a daily basis. By getting in touch with what colors we like, by trusting, we identify what strengthens us and gives us energy to accomplish our goals.
To begin with, all you need is probably right in your house — a patch of wallpaper, leaves in your yard. If you have old drawings, you can recycle those. There are no mistakes with collage — you can fix anything.
If you really get serious, you can experiment with different glues and paints. I know a woman who uses left-over eye make-up. My sister goes running and finds flattened cans and metal pieces that have been run over by cars. Many of us go to yard sales and flea markets. But it’s like photography — you can spend a lot of money and go crazy getting the perfect equipment, but you can also get a great photo with a simple little camera.
So, start simply. And don’t be too precious about cutting into things.
Collage is a very therapeutic technique because it is a creative and spontaneous process; it allows us to be open to our soul language, to imagine the way we would like things to be. When we develop our abilities to visualize, we can achieve many goals, we can create our own reality. As we make the many decisions of placement and balance by intuitively adding and eliminating elements, our decision-making muscles are strengthened on a daily basis.
By trusting and connecting to our personal and meaningful symbols, we can draw up answers and revelations from the well of the unconscious. It is such a spiritual journey. And it’s fun, too!
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