30 day collage challenge

orange meets red

MovingupwardsThe vermillion square of corduroy is something I found on a search for an orange altar cloth I've probably never made.  That will quite likely change at some point over this month.  For now I am contemplating the next energy center by way of the High Priestess (renamed Enchantment) card I made within my own modest and woefully incomplete foray into creating a deck of my own.  For me this card embodies everything sacral that I'm likely to focus on at a personal level.  But who knows.  A co-creative process like this forges its own path as a collective energy grows enough to really hone in on itself.  Literally anything could happen!  For any and all of us!

DiscoveredredWhile I was looking for the non-existent orange cloth I ran across this red based cloth I recalled upon sight but didn't remember when I began to rummage in the box.  Once I had ironed it and sat holding it for a little while I decided to set it out on the corner of my coffee table workspace.  To let it be the place where I kept personal track of my equally personal experiences with this ongoing process.

ResquarealtarvignettePreviously I had the High Priestess and the red square on the edge of my long artist's altar.  Thought it was good to include a glimpse of mine since I'm about to ask if you have one too.  Everybody who's reading here and working/playing in their own ways is an unquestioning creative light of one or many kinds.

LightstruckbasketofstonesYesterday (when the sun was shining) I created an intentional chakra-ish altar on the cloth I placed on the coffee table.  This little basket of stones and ceremonial talismans seems important.  Am I the only one here that spent years wishing to make the plural talisMEN?

SunnycoffeetableHow my coffee table appeared in yesterday's light.

OpeningtospiritThis is my favorite chakra oriented idea book/reference guide.  I like it because it combines a great number of modalities that are appealing to me both spiritually and aesthetically. 

The symbol for the second/sacral chakra is a crescent moon oriented like a sheltering bowl or Hathor's sacred horns.  Either reference works well for this chakra.  So does the simple inner memory of a beautiful crescent moon that rose and/or set with this orientation - luminous and electrified within a perfect summer-indigo sky. 

I like the relationship of:  the sacred home of 'I'

OrangeadditionsAlmost every reference I consulted lists carnelian as the stone of choice for this chakra.  I've always hewed towards citrine and this was no exception.  The small sliver of baby citrine crystals on the right holds deep personal significance from my (younger) roaring twenties.  The color to re-balance an over saturated sacral center is BLUE.  The raw aquamarine beryl above is a stone I personally collected as a newly 9 year old child.  Back in June I set it outside for awhile - moving it from place to place to collect information 'on the ground' as well as light.  Have held it some every day since, you know, we elected a president and then the aftermath of that was pretty much like I and everybody else who's been primarily focused on the psycho-neuro angle of things thought it would be. So there's been a lot of just holding on to the stone and concentrating on the ongoing intention to allow my emotions to exist without being overwhelmed by them.

'thinking how things will be' and actually living through them is a whole other beast.   Sometimes my ongoing sense of life as we live our human experience(s) as individuals and a collective pretty much boils down to that particular truth. 

Visualize an orange bowl.  What does it look like?  Is it an actual bowl in your life?  Can you get it out/re-purpose it as a bowl of sacral contemplation?

I have an enormous orange tupperware bowl.  It's existed since my son first learned to walk. In fact the first time he walked all the way across a room unaided he did so specifically in order to sit in the bowl and laugh at great length.   Since then the orange bowl has become a fixture on the kitchen table of every place we've lived.  It's always there.  I always think "that's the perfect sacral orange."  I have never before today thought to imagine re-purposing that bowl for part of an afternoon and using it to do something meditational and healing with the sacral chakra in mind.   

Would like to do something that elevates the fact that it's plastic somehow.  Like fill it full of freshly plucked gardenia flowers that are only partially opened.  So maybe I'll do that over the summer when we're up at the crown and Our Lady is in flower.  For now I'm just going to remove and relocate all the plastic bags and partial garlic heads, cough drops, just the ring portions of canning lids and so forth.   Wash it by hand and elevate it.  Let it be a metaphor for everything that's been overlooked, over-filled, and over-extended.

I'll have to sleep on figuring out what I'm going to "do" once I actually get as far as what I've described.  Am kinda getting the rough idea as I sit here staring at the keyboard and letting the notion take a bit more form.   Day one of the emo-center was one of cascading rain.  Our stream is running quite briskly and by the time the rain slowed down enough to consider going for a visit I was all emo'd out.  I want to do orange things that are basic and rudimentary and possibly only knowable in true significance by me.  I want the equivalent of Jung retreating to make a replication of his childhood village from mud, straw, and stones.  I know I over-rely on that analogy but it's always been a very powerful totem of a story for me.

I want to collect orange as the color appears in this studio specifically.  I just want to see what orange IS to me as a color existing in my ongoing landscape...

today I'm bringing back the post in which I shared the major arcana tarot card mock-ups I've created with fabric collages.


Day 30 - results


(because that's where and why and how all the creative magic happens)

I'm really glad we all did this together.  I hope you are too.

  EVERYBODY did outstanding work - not just in the scope of their collage creations but also in terms of quickly establishing a challenge-based working style and dedication to their personal process development.  Despite the initial uncertainty any challenge brings it was truly remarkable to see how quickly everyone adapted to their freshly personalized relationship to this expressive medium.  By reviewing each other's efforts the way we'd all look at something together if our virtual situation was happening in the walking-around world - we each insured that every single one of us "got" something about collage that we hadn't quite put together before this time of sharing.

  Everyone - including me -  willingly trusted I'd guide them to a stationary end-point while also digging deeper into their private stashes of emotion and life experience as well as their paper collections.  Now - going forward - there's only one barometer/compass rose to be followed:

trust yourself

keep speaking truth to and FOR power

from the center of your creative soul

and every corner and crevice you discover

where true power resides


My faves from these days:





Marti - curendera (make sure to scroll down or click for her response to our final prompt)


[For those who like statistics - this blog has averaged 82 unique visitors a day for the challenge time-frame.  Including myself and everyone actively involved - 35 people have let me know they're participating/following along as a somewhat regular part of their creative experience. 

The most unique visits to a single post (328) happened here. oof.  Typepad is going rogue on me right here at the end!

For reasons unknown all the [listed as published] posts aren't appearing on the blog right now.  At least not in what I can see of it here on my laptop or phone.  The post with the most unique visitors was the Day 16 results page for the garden Crone totem.  Quite a skyrocket!  Somebody somewhere linked, obviously, to significant effect.  Perhaps it's fitting that my first studio-based intention once I've scheduled this post is to paint that totem's background layer.  Last things first, as I like to say!

Not at all by design but I'm very grateful it's working out this way - I don't have to be/go anywhere that requires me to be all the way ON until Thursday morning.  Between now and then I'm planning to stay paint smudged and considerably more powered-down than I've been since ... before Thanksgiving, actually.  Yikes.  No wonder I feel so ready to shift from extro to intro mode energetically.

and I still don't have a clue what I might post on this blog going forward.  or why ...]

Day 30 morning post

Prompt #30:

Imagine our shared challenge experience has been a literal path marked with stepping stones - one for each person who participated in whatever fashion.

What does your stepping stone look like?

(hint:  what would you wish us to receive as a gift related to what you most enjoyed about collage?)

day 28 - results



My response for today's prompt references a truly gorgeous never-forgotten dream I had when I was 14 or 15.  Hadn't thought of it until I was focused on working with a very different seed representation/color palette.  While looking for something else I found some of my very first deli paper prints.  Both examples in the above's background layer reference one of the dream's key visual elements.  So does the lovely white marble sculpture, the shape and scale of the seed, and the Florentine mirror.

For the moment this collage is serving as an art journal place-marker.   Have three or four different ideas of what to superimpose on the mirror.  at this point I believe any additional layers - beyond that mirror - will be made with ink and ink-on-ink  OR ink and designer's gouache.  

As the challenge winds down I've begun wondering what I'll choose to share here on this blog once I re-calibrate on the other side of this thing I apparently did during the month of January.  I have a lot of options, really...

Day 27 - results


Today, for a change, I woke up with an idea from the night before which didn't re-invent itself before during or after I made the  collage above.  I've been responding to all the prompts that don't fit the narrative of my Bee allegory booklet within a catch-all art journal.  So I'm pretty sure there will be an additional layer or two of line work using ink and super fine-line paint pens.  Will also connect the free-floating coral-pink negative ions and sentience bubbles in what I hope will be a very cool way.  As usual there doesn't seem to be a lot of grey area.  It'll either work or it won't.  The freeform paste paper cut-outs represent wild rose thickets.   I'll add many more small free-cut stones and maybe some moss.

Although this isn't a realistic rendering of the landscape where it's located my collage is a tribute to my actual gaia altar.  I've kept one for two decades now:  a sacred place to reverently return plant matter used to prepare tinctures, glycerites, flower essences with too many components to successfully return them to the base of each plant where I was guided in my bloom selections. The coarse scrim I use to strain therapeutic oils free of plant matter every late-autumn/early winter  has a few months to weather itself apart before nest-lining birds descend to pluck up every thread. 

The rock is understated and seemingly unremarkable.  We are a likely and lucky alliance.


Back at the spiffy first-spark of the New Millenium I read Jim Green's FANTASTIC herbal medicine making handbook cover to cover twice in a row.  It's still a favorite of mine to recommend for far too many reasons to encapsulate in this context.   He stressed the belief/philosophy that any tincture, tea, or oil we prepare needs to have its maceration remnants returned to the earth before the herbal healing properties are fully released into the mind and body. Green attributed this equation of reciprocity to "ancient cultures" or possibly some types of shamanism as I recall.  Not sure of the ultimate provenance but I will say that maintaining this practice and being diligent about working with its energy mindfully has also taught me how to plant and harvest and plan in a way that is equally beneficial for All.

If you've not yet seen my group-tribute collage it's right here.

Day 25 - results


Here are the Just Because pieces that gathered for me.   But.  I couldn't get into the groove immediately like I've been doing for a lot of this challenge because the cumulative clutter explosion on my workspace looked like this:


and in the process of pulling it together to look like this so that my visual brain doesn't likewise explode before the end of the challenge:

Today's desk

I made this instead.


just. because.

(p.s.  I have hoarded all my paper source catalogs because they have the BEST (non-slick/non-smear) pages to use for glue-sticking surface protectors.  Having the catalogs to use avoids me putting glue/smears where I don't want them on the collage, art journal page, etc.)