inspiration from the past

My friend, the artist/photographer/creator/deep thinker/unselfish spirit, asked me to come over one day and make collages, or “cut and paste” as she called it. “OK,” I said reluctantly. I couldn’t imagine creating anything worthwhile without planning it for weeks or months, but I thought I’d give it a try.

When I got there, she had covered her dining room table with a protective cloth and had out an incredible assortment of supplies. There was a beautiful array of scrapbook paper, markers of all shapes, sizes, and colors, magazine pictures, photographs, samples of some of her previous work, and paint, scissors, and glue, of course.

I was both impressed and overwhelmed. Then she showed me her laptop where she had collected over one hundred samples of collages and other artwork she liked and pasted them into a document that we scrolled through for inspiration. I felt the pressure starting to build, and I knew I was going to really struggle with this that day.

Then, then she showed me some of these pages from a calendar that she had found in an antique shop:

I was totally in awe. As an amateur calligrapher, I was taken by the hand-written work. And so many of these quotes had such a depth of meaning to them. “This is a treasure!” I exclaimed.

“You can use them, too,” she told me.

“Oh, I could never cut these apart. They are amazing, they are one-of-a-kind, they are gorgeous.”

“We can make copies of them then,” she said with a smile.

And so, I was inspired, and that day with my friend I made some collages from these sayings. The ideas just came into my head without warning and without effort on my part. Afterwards I was so excited, and I made a list of other ideas that came to me for more work.  I am ashamed that I have kept myself busy with other things since then, but now I am anxious to get back to these while I have some time, before the summer fades away.

2 thoughts on “inspiration from the past

  1. I’ve been enjoying reading several of your posts – Disneyland, praying, collage, what would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail… all great reading. How come they all have the same posting date?
    I heard an interview with an author who has recently published a book about the first woman to collage, it sounds really interesting and I have it waiting at the library. The title is The Paper Garden.
    I love the question about imagining not failing. Why is it that it isn’t until we’re in middle age that we start living that way?

  2. First of all, thank you for taking the time to read these. I know a blog is supposed to be daily, or with at least some form of consistency, but that seems hard for me. This writing has come in fits and spurts! I made myself a promise to write every day in the month of July. I have done that, but I have also learned that leaving my writing alone for a while and coming back to it for revisions helps. And, even in the summer, other things came up. So all those got posted together. Now a have a few more “waiting in line.” I need to work on that.
    I have wondered – do you “wake up and write” every day? That’s a great plan! And I have found all your pieces to be so thoughtful, each coming full circle as you tie in so many things along the way.
    Thanks for letting me know about the collage book. I’ll have to check that out. A friend of mine’s sister has a book, Collage Playground (Kimberly Santiago) and I have enjoyed that a lot.
    So true about waiting on many things til middle age. Interestingly, I have had several conversations about that lately, with famiy and friends. Included in our discussion is how hard it can be, and how important it is, to take a stand for what you know to be right. You don’t have to be forceful to still leave no question as to what you believe. So stepping out in faith – believeing you cannot fail – is part of that. I need to heed those words! Thanks again for your comments.

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