01 April 2010

12th International Collage Exchange & Exhibit

"Deep Nocturne"
5" x 7"
papers, batik fabric, stamps & hand-embellishment

Dale Copeland has been running this international collage exchange & exhibit for a number of years now and I wonder how she does it, accepting shiploads of collages from artists all over the world, uploading images to the site, selecting the ones that will go into the "on the ground" gallery as well as the "virtual" gallery. Then dividing up the spoils so that each participant receives a wonderful package in the mail later in the spring filled with works from fellow participants.

Well, here's my heartfelt appreciation to all her hard work and dedication to this art form and to the numerous creative folk who participated this year. This was my first year, but I am sure I will continue to participate in coming years -- if Dale can hold up!

I've thought about the collage genre and why, for me, it is something I've been doing quietly for a number of years. When I first began, it was during a year that was extremely difficult for my husband and I as parents. Too much was going on -- elderly parent's stroke, an engagement and wedding coming down the road quickly, our teenage son's difficulties, work for both of us -- all just too, too much. For a time only fingering paper and silk scraps, moving them around, looking for pleasing combinations and making greeting cards for friends and family was all I could handle, mentally and creatively. Like worry beads, it would calm me down and give me a sense that I had not lost all connectivity to my art-making. It was portable. I could sit by the window with the light pouring in and just "play" with these bits of paper and fabric.

Even now, when stuck as to how to combine certain colors in a painting or how to balance this mass on the left with that on the right, I'll pull out my bag of bits and begin to move them around.

I also wonder if this is a seasonal or cyclical process? In the deep cold of winter, oils seem to work well, their viscosity and richness so replete with color and depth. Yet, come spring and summer, I often turn to watercolors and/or paper and fiber. Perhaps it is the tactile nature that draws one, just as the watercolors seem to reflect the lightness of the season, so too the papers and fabrics.

Well, whatever the reason -- to be able to touch color and texture, to build and take down and re-build again with whatever medium one chooses -- cherish this love to create. Nurture it and let it grow. Sometimes it may go fallow but that's natural, just like a field that must rest. But then, like Persephone emerging and returning to Demeter's world of spring and summer, it begins again.

Recommended Reading that seems to echo this entry: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

Happy April to all!


Caterina Giglio said...

love this piece, great texture and color!

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Dear Kelly,

I agree with you that dale has been doing an amazing job and I almost took part in this years exchange. I am glad that you did enter.

I appreciate your personal journey and how you work out the different elements that make up the collage, but I especially like that you sitting by the window.

Wishing you a wonderful Easter weekend,

Four Seasons in a Life said...

I forgot to mention that I like your new avatar photograph. -e

Kelly M. said...

Caterina -- Thanks so much! And Egmont -- your visits are always lovely and yes, my new avatar is something I cooked up from a photo where I think I was greeting someone when the shot was taken -- thus the uplifted pose -- very complimentary to my middle-aged "facade!" Happy Easter!!!

layers said...

I saw your collages at the collage exchange site-- love them. this is my second year participating-- last year I got some wonderful collages in the exchange. I hope to get one of yours this time.. yahoo for collages.

Kelly M. said...

Donna -- Thanks so much! Yes, it would be lovely to have one or yours and Leslie's, too! It was fun and I'm glad I participated.

nancy neva gagliano said...

hmmmmmmm...great collage and analogies for the process.....i may be ready to join in the 13th international exchange. good for the soul.

Kelly M. said...

neva -- yes, do so! I found it a great way to stretch those creative muscles -- ha!