Collage Unleashed!

August 9, 2010

The power of artist trading cards (ATCs) continues on in the Art Therapy Alliance Materials & Media community, as a second ATC exchange has been organized by community member Melanie Glassey and details announced last week.  The theme for this exchange is “Collage Unleashed”, which of course easily inspired me to sign up and participate in round two.

I’ve written on Creativity in Motion before about some of my reflections on collage making in my own life and some of these benefits personally and professionally.  My collage art has ranged from using magazine photo images & words, creating in altered books, and incorporating mixed media such as painting (acrylic, watercolor) and drawing (pastels), stamping, as well as found, collected, or gifted design paper and various other art materials.

For this ATC swap, I decided to focus my series on the main themes and benefits connected to my collage making:


Revolution/Alter– I find the process of cutting, ripping, gluing, layering, and re-assembling images and words on paper an exciting creative process rooted in transformation and alteration.  When I use printed design paper, visual inspiration from my favorite copies of Cloth Paper Scissors, or magazine photo collage material, I enjoy destructing and re-constructing the message as my own with themes that experiment with change, taking action, and my personal rev o’ lution. Collage makes it easy and visible for me to create, transform, and develop my ideas over and over until all the pieces come together with new meaning.


Courage/Create- Often during times where I  have been undecided, uncertain, or need to explore my thoughts and feelings around new challenges or opportunities in my life, I turn to crafting simple mini-collages to process what’s going on.  Slowing down and taking the time to select images, think about their meaning and the symbolism in the details usually helps me visually discover the bigger picture and to face it with courage and intention.  This awareness ultimately helps decrease anxiety and feelings of doubt.  Some of my favorite collages, while sometimes very simple, have been created in this spirit and I view as most powerful.

Fly Free / Let Go

Fly Free/Let Go– Another theme that has started to surface in many of my collages  is around detachment and letting go.  The creative process I described above about going through images to use in my collages, I also find therapeutic for discarding and weeding out the things, relationships, thoughts, feelings, and memories that I don’t want anymore in my life.  The collages I create on detachment also serve as important visual reminders to myself about this virtue.

Imagine / Vision

Imagine/Vision– And finally, a lot of my collage making has been in response to visioning or imagining my hopes, wishes, and intentions through magazine photo collage. As I wrote this past May,  I started using art-making in this way several years ago to help make meaning of where I wanted to go, what I needed to do, and what change I wanted for the future.  For me, I think Visioning Collages are the most fun to do!

If you’re looking for more ideas on collage art or to learn more about the therapeutic qualities that often attract art therapists to this media, read this Psychology Today article by Cathy Malchiodi, highlighting many of its benefits and why magazine photo collage was chosen as #10 for her Top Ten of Coolest Art Therapy Interventions.

I look forward to seeing what collage art I receive back in return from this ATC exchange and will be sure to post when they arrive in a few weeks!  For more information about this new ATC swap, check out the Materials & Media in Art Therapy Group on LinkedIn. Deadline to sign up for this exchange is August 11!


6 Responses to “Collage Unleashed!”

  1. Lani Says:

    I signed up and it looks like I beat the deadline, hooray!

  2. Kelly Darke Says:

    I’m so excited for this one!! I really like how yours focus on one word or idea. focus.

  3. Cathy Asher Says:

    Beautiful; and ahead of the game Gretchen…

  4. Gretchen,

    I just discovered your blog and this post in particular. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the experience of creating collage–What I find wonderful is the thought that those experiences lie embedded within the collage itself.

  5. melanie glassey Says:

    I love your ATC’s and the stories behind them!

  6. […] Collage Unleashed! […]

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