Collages seem like a silly thing to do, kind of like elementary school cut & paste.  But so many “creativity-enhancing” books and classes use them as exercises, and I have to admit I really love making collages.  Since I’m working on The Vein of Gold right now (which I wrote about here), I’ve been doing a lot of collage-making.  Chapter 2, “The Kingdom of Sight”, uses visual aids to explore the reader/participant’s interests and priorities. 

old and new collages of mine

old and new collages of mine

Author Julia Cameron asks readers to make a Time Capsule Collage of images that remind you of your childhood, and to create Treasure Maps using images, largely from magazines and photos, of what you hope for in the future. 

In the past, I’ve read books that have the reader collaging colors and images of what you like to wear, to help build a wardrobe.  I’ve also done a lot of collaging, using magazine images, of how I want my house to look and feel.  I’m strange I know, because I’ve been reading and subscribing to home magazines like Country Living and Victoria since junior high!  Right along with Seventeen and Young Miss, I was reading about home decor and all that from a tender age…

So it’s no surprise I like to collage.  I love pictures and images that evoke feelings.  I love creating good feelings in my home and life, and even in what I wear for clothing.  What does collaging do for me?

  • It helps me to know what I really want/need/love.
  • Knowing what I really want and am attracted to saves money in the long run.  I come home from shopping with far fewer “mistakes” that hang in the closet or sit unused in a cupboard.
  • When I have clarity, I can set goals.  “Treasure mapping” the future using images really helps with that.
  • When I set goals, I can prioritize and know what to work toward and that saves time.
  • Collages help me to know myself better.

Collaging can be very affirming.  I struggle all the time with the question, “what should I do with my life?”  When I did Cameron’s exercise, “Grab-Bag Collage”, I followed the rules and quickly pulled 20-30 images from a stack of magazines.  These images just have to appeal, without any other direction.  After I cut, copied and pasted the images onto posterboard, I took a good look at the photos to find what they had in common and what they might say about me.  Well, on my poster I had a lot of images of happy families and smiling people.  I had a “lightbulb moment” when I noticed that and realized I am doing what I have always wanted to do, by being a mom at home and homemaker.  Being with children, creating a happy home, those are the things that have always been attractive to me. 

This was affirming and helped me breathe a little easier, knowing I’m living my passion.  Sometimes I think I need more passion(s), and I’m jealous of my husband being so clear about his (that being music).  But from the time I was a child, I’ve wanted a loving family to call my own and a home and all the things I’m so blessed with now.  It felt great to realize I do have what appeals to me!  

Collages can also be motivating.  When I was working on my “Treasure Mapping” collage (to which I gave the time period of this coming year), I noticed I pulled out a couple of images of women with their backs showing.  They were revealing a lot of skin.  I thought to myself, why does that appeal to me, and what in the world does it have to do with my hopes for the next year of my life?!  I could only deduce that I’d like to work on revealing more of myself.  Not my skin, sorry!  But my inner self.  Writing involves a lot of revealing of the self, and honestly for me that is the hardest part of writing for publication.  I even gave up blogging for a while because I felt too exposed sometimes.  So many people were reading my blog; I was even listed in the blogroll of a very, very popular blogger’s blog, and that freaked me out.  (I have a pattern of this type of thing.) 

So the motivation part comes in here in that I can look at that collage, and remember I want to work on being okay with revealing more of myself.  Writing is revealing.  I’m going to be careful in what I write and how, but I’m going to try and keep going and work past any uncomfortable feelings that arise.   

Whether it’s for my life work, my home, wardrobe or hobbies, collages are a creative and fun way to find out what I really want, or what I should do, or how I should present myself to the world in a way that works for me.