In this post I introduce some of my collage and related works. I don’t have many of them. I tend to begin using sketchbooks then just stop.
I couldn’t begin this post without mention The Humument by Tom Phillipps. In this video, Phillips talks about his lifelong project. He transforms a Victorian novel into the most beautiful artefact. Listen to Tom Phillips talking about his book.
I have an i-Pad app (costs about £6.99) where you ‘spin’ an Oracle and two pages of The Humument appear. You decide from those what message you want to take away for the day . There’s no substitute to owning the book though – I believe there is an updated edition which I intend to purchase. You can hear Phillips reading from The Humument here.
Phillips work must have been in the back of my head when I made my own – in a much cruder way.
My sketchbooks are full of angsty shit. Most of the materials for these are cut out from art gallery magazines and scrawled over in felt-tips and crayons. In the first of these I cut up parts of Newton’s Opticks -why on earth, I hear you say. I was interested in some it for my PhD and cut up sections then to use in this poem (extract):
And if the sunns rays passing into a darke room
In the foreground , a black and white dog, sitting looking at me.
through the hole doe fall very obliquely on the glasse sides
the door ajar, angled yellow light
lattice windows on one side
coat, cloak? hanging on a hook inthe corner
thus the Sun, by reason of his distance,
appeares coloured on his edges
beyond, a courtyard
On a black peice of paper I drew a line
whereof one halfe was a good blew the other
a good deep red …
I liked using different coloured paper. The best line that came out of the collage process is the title of this piece. I’m giving them titles as I type.
“The First Pulse Ends AT The First Dark Circle”
“Carry That Head”
“Oh Jeff I Love You But …”
“Spring” was the theme of a making/writing workshop I led with an artist. I worked on a collage as the participants did theirs. It has some lines from John Donne’s ‘Twickenham Garden’ in there. I think I was influenced by Karl Schwitters -his idea of ‘Merz’ where you bring in random scraps and objects.
The Emily Dickinson Collages
These were made for an Instagram competition which was organised by The Poetry Society and people linked to the film The Quiet Passion. You can read about the winners and see their splendid work here. Brilliant poet/artist Sophie Herxheimer went on to do a whole series and you can see them on her Instagram.
Mine weren’t in the same league but I like them and they were fun to do: I write each as a poem too.
Out of my window
the women cooling the flames
as if truth had
never been dis torted
This one has a background of a long bathroom tile, some paint and tissue paper with cut out figures and headlines.
with scales feathers wings
Black card with cut outs,crayon and luxury art papers.
The Encounter That Took A Part of Me
the animals and birds
were spirited that season
between the mountains
and the beaten silver sea
Black card, wrapping paper, paint, crayon cut out pictures and headlines. I photocopied these from a book -and the ones in the previous collage.
“Part of the Fun of being”
This was made on a course on Poetry and Art led by the wonderful Tamar Yoseloff. We were at The Old Olive Press, Almasserra Vella, the residential centre owned by Christopher and Marisa North near Alicante. I used pages from a magazine and newspapers. Note the American theme.
Lastly, for now, a collage made in response to a prompt in an online poetry workshop.
“Let Us Live Our Lives The Way We Want To’
I’m not going to write it out. The background is torn from an article on embroidery from the V&A Catalogue. The method is erasure/redaction. I cut out the masks. The background is black paper.
`I must press on with these. They can be mined for ideas for other poems. They are fun to do and definitely therapeutic. Why not give them a go?