Sunday, February 5, 2012

I made a collage...

2012 Best Life Collage

Sometimes I need a creative kick-in-the-pants.  When this happens, I usually try either a change of surroundings or a change in activity.  This time, I decided to make a collage.

The first collage I ever created was a fifth-grade science project that involved lions.  It rocked.  Since then, I have secretly loved making collages, even after I discovered that the activity's promoted as a self-help tool.  You can make collages of what you want in the future, things that appeal to you now, or any variation that feels right.  It ties into the laws of attraction and manifestation and those sorts of new age-y concepts.

But more importantly, it's fun.  I love collages because they don't require actual skill above and beyond cutting, pasting, and arranging.  I started this project by raiding the local library's magazine pile and purchasing the whole thing.  For ten cents a magazine, I bought three Fitness magazines and seven Sojourners magazine, (which I discovered was Christian-themed).  I added three Experience Life magazines, since I have a subscription.  I stacked them all in a pile, then tore through them, ripping out anything that appealed to me.  I had been a little nervous that I didn't have much selection, but I ended up with an amazing stack of images and phrases--way too many for the modest letter-size collage I'd planned.  So I spent an afternoon arranging the images, and when everything finally felt right, I painstakingly pasted the whole thing into place.  It was worth it.

I plan to frame the whole thing, but I have to get the largest poster-frame available, because it's an awkward size:  27x30 1/4.  I'll post a final image once it's framed and I'm satisfied.  What really surprised me at the end of the project was how the collage seemed to sum up my crazy mix of interests, ideas, and passions--dance, writing, environmental justice, music, social justice, reading, performing, animal husbandry, parenting, exploring the world, and experiencing joy.  Sometimes it feels like all of the parts don't fit together, but it's the crazy mix of things that make me, well, me.

Delicious Kale and Water Buffalo

This captures how much I love swimming, my desire to eat healthy and explore the world, and the summer I spent driving oxen.  I love the yoga stretch in front of the sunrise, because it reminds me of the flow I get when I dance.

Cool Reading Mural and Empty Stage

The child holding a book looks like he is surrounded by the characters from that world.  It reminds me of how I feel when I read.  One of my goals this year is to learn how to play the guitar.  It's a little hard to see, but underneath the guitar is an empty stage.  I have been performing onstage since I was little, and I would love to start acting and dancing again.
Meditation and Pregnancy

The meditating hands captured the stillness and peace I'd like to experience more often.  The pregnant woman is a reminder that hopefully my husband and I will have children and raise them with love and play.  The picture with the caption, "Be someone who does something about poverty" struck me as a powerful message.

Healing Massage and Environmental Justice
I love massages--both giving and receiving.  This picture is a reminder to touch my husband more, and to ask for loving touch in return.  The picture of a dancer stretching is another symbol of my passion for dance and movement.  I chose the image of a man standing at the base of a hill leading into the wilderness because it was an interesting contrast with the city in the background.  Isn't that a choice that each of us must make?  It went well with the message of saving the earth.

Sunflower Field and Mountain View
The woman basking in the sun, surrounded by sunflowers made me happy--and the caption Spread the Joy will prod me to share that happiness with others.  I tried to work in images of nature throughout, and the mountains in this picture remind me of our trip to Oregon this year.

Dancing and Wilderness
The man in the top corner is twisting mid-air.  The look of intensity on his face captured how I feel about dance.  It's an interesting contrast with the woman in pink twirling in a ballroom--to me, they are both dancers, and they are both beautiful.  There are three images of people interacting with nature--the woman with the horse, the person walking towards a field, and a model smiling in the forest.  I feel more alive when I am in nature, so I want to remember that this year.  They tie in with the picture that says, "What sort of world will you give them?" because I want my babies to live in a clean, beautiful world.  The choices I make today will impact the world they inherit.

Woman and Cat Sun Salutation

I chose to put the woman and cat doing a sun salutation in the center because it was both serene and silly.  It was originally a cat food advertisement, and I covered over the promotion for healthy cat food with the words "Choose your radiance."  For me, that's what it's all about.  In any given day, I can choose what I devote my time, energy, and thought to, and I want to devote myself to things that make me feel alive.  

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