Saturday, August 25, 2007

In Which I Finish Reading A Book
I read SoulCollage by Sheena B Frost to get a better idea of what I am going to be creating over the next few . . . well, weeks, months, possibly years. I sent out an email to everyone I know who lives nearby asking them to please not toss out any magazines or catalogues with the promise that I would recycle anything I use. I am already gathering some curious images. I am prepared to take my time but to also experience some inspiration and insight along the way. Which is to say, the book has excited me about the idea of creating SoulCollages. What is a SoulCollage? It is a collage, 5” x 8”, created on a matte board. The cards are divided into specific types—one source card and four suits (committee, council, companion, and council). The names for the committee cards do not connect for me. I know what they mean symbolically and appreciate their significance. I will probably work within these names for a while but I have a feeling that I will want/need to change these as I build my own cards. And that is one of the other things I like about this idea. Frost encourages the reader to be flexible, to make changes, to listen to and trust your intuition. Everything about the cards is like that. Although you are encouraged to make specific cards, you are never told to create them in a special order. And even then, you are not forced to conform to every card suggestion. The only exception to this is the Source card. It is different from the other cards in every respect and is different for different people. For Christians, the Source card is a symbolic representation of God. This could result in a Trinitarian image pieced together or be an iconic one of Christ resurrected and/or crucified. For Jewish and Muslim artists this card will have no anthropomorphic images. For Buddhists, it may be an image of the Buddha or a Bodhi tree or even a lotus. For me the image came in a dream in which I was touching . . . well, I won’t say more. I was surprised when I woke up by the clarity of my dream and three days later I made the connection of the symbolism behind the dream. I sketched out the dream moment onto a piece of paper and tucked it into the envelope in which I am storing my various magazine and catalogue finds. When I first got the book, however, I was disappointed that most of the card images are black and white. For instance, this lovely card (http://www.soulcollage.com/images/cards/143.jpg) is only offered in black and white. Not all of the cards are merely in black and white. There is a section of color plates in the book and odds are the book in full color might be intimidating for the less artistically confident. Then I realized that I could use these black and white images not only as inspiration but as a sort of meditation before actually working on my own cards. I could color in a card as I prepare myself for the inspired work ahead of me. I like that idea very much and whether Frost intended it or not I think it is an idea others could use. I did find some of the redundancy, however, annoying. There were occasional cross-references sprinkled throughout the book (see image on such and such a page or this will be explained/discussed in chapter so and so) but that is not bothersome. What irked me were the suggestions that are repeated throughout the book. Offering ideas on how things can be done differently is great. But by the third time this same thing is suggested I felt talked down to, as if I were either too dumb or forgetful to remember that this idea had ever been suggested before. It is ironic because this is a book on collaging and, because of this redundancy, it made me feel as though the book were pieced together and poorly edited. I don’t mind that the book was pieced together. I would have liked someone to go through and point out the redundancy, choose a place where it is most insightful and/or surprising and then go back to delete the others. Poor editing aside, the idea behind this book is inspired and I would happily recommend it to anyone who is interested in this sort of thing. Once I have begun making my own cards, I will probably refer back to the book to see what other ideas for their use I have overlooked. I may do that a few times but eventually the book as a resource will no longer be necessary. Then I will give the book away. To whom? I can’t even guess right now. But after working with creating these collage cards and tapping into my intuition I’m sure my intuition will tell me where to send the book next. After all, I already have several ideas for cards brewing and waiting to be born.

2 comments:

  1. Some of us will be starting Soul Collage cards soon.

    Do you feel the book is good enough to warrant buying, or can we learn what we need by looking at the websites online about it?

    Alex

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  2. Alex,

    It is quite possible to figure it out using links online. If you need any help or have any questions, please feel free to ask me.

    You might also want to join the artjournals yahoogroup which is where myself and others are working through the book at this time.

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