Today is the first day of Advent. And with it begins my collage-a-day and writing practice, everyday between now and Christmas. Maybe you followed me through this process last year. Maybe you are here because you read about it in the Berkshire Eagle. Maybe you are here for a completely different reason. However you found yourself HERE, welcome! (Today’s collage is at the bottom of the post.)
You can observe Advent this way too, it’s really easy. All you need are some basic tools
and whatever papers you can find. I make a rule to not buy anything for this project except glue, if I need it. Otherwise I use scraps from paste papers I’ve made, from magazine cut-outs, old books, snail mail catalogs/mailings/etc. and found papers.
I keep my collages small to keep the practice manageable. My collages measure in at 5×5 inches. That size makes it easy to find frames that fit these dimensions with pre-cut mats at Target, Michael’s and Joann’s. So just in case I really like one, I can get it framed quickly! I usually pick out a few pieces of paper–typically less than 10 and try to make something from them. I play around with composition, flat/dimensional, color and focal point. I often bring in birds, pathways and tree imagery. You can really do whatever you like.
As I prepared for this first collage, I looked through my collection of writings, quotes and poems, highlighted sections in favorite books and did a few internet searches for the right words. I found a poem by David Wagoner, a poet born in my home state of Ohio, but who now lives in the Pacific Northwest. His poetry tends to be about the earth and nature, with this one bringing together two of my loves, the trees and the raven.
Stand still. The trees ahead and the bushes beside you.
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called HERE,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying HERE.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.