One of my 35 before 35 goals was to fill a journal up with collages. I'm on my way.
For me, collage is just a way to unwind and play around. I try not to think about it too hard. Yet, it's a fun puzzle - cutting out pieces and moving them around until they start to feel right. Eventually I say good enough, turn the page and start the next one. It's a low pressure way to play around with style, techniques and composition. And believe me, that experimentation leads to pages that are disasters and that I would never post on the internet!
Katie Licht is a collage artist who inspires me. She is an illustrator, a graphic designer and a Midwesterner too. I bought two of her art journal packs and they are really affordable and great collage starters. She also recently made her own zine which is super fun! She includes tips to get you started with making your own book of fun, vintage inspired collages. She didn't pay me to say this or nothing. Just someone whose work I recommend checking out if this is your thing.
Tonight, I found the artist Rebecca Shapiro while looking for encaustic artists online. She produced a series for TedX Portland and in her talk, she discusses our desire for freedom and using creative expression to work through the "beliefs and behaviors that keep us bound and from enjoying movement and momentum in our lives."
I like her expression "enjoying movement and momentum in our lives." These photographs remind me of a moment when I was unbound, so I'm thinking a lot about how to create more of those moments in the weeks and months to come.
This long, dark winter is extending into spring.
It's still quite chilly most days but today there was green grass in the park. Soon enough the treetops will be green too and it'll be time to go back to the beach and to enjoy the sun.
We celebrated my grandma's 86th birthday on Tuesday. My friend Elizabeth writes some really funny posts about her grandma. My grandma is also the kind of person who is hilarious without realizing she's being hilarious. I wanted to remember some of the conversations we had the other night so I thought I'd share.
It's important to know first that she's a devout Catholic, and there was big news in the Catholic world this week when the Pope resigned. Just as importantly, she loves celebrities, reads Vanity Fair, and really enjoys bargain shopping at the grocery store or Target.
When we have conversations, she has the best punchlines. Sometimes, her stories make her laugh and other times she's being dead serious, which makes what she says all the more comical because you never know what you're going to get with her.
Me: I made you Gwyneth Paltrow's chicken recipe for dinner.
Grandma: Oh yeah. What? Do you have a book of recipes by celebrities?
Me: No, she has a website and puts her recipes on the internet.
Grandma: Oh, I knew that. I knew she was in to cooking.
My mom: Did you ever think you'd live until you were 86?
Grandma: No. [Pause] But I'll be ready to go when I'm 87.
My mom: Why 87? What do you need to do in the next year before you're ready?
Grandma: There's stuff I need to read.
Me: What do you need to read about?
Grandma: The Pope. Did you know he had an artificial heart?
Opening her Presents
[Grandma opens a birthday card]
Me: That is from me and Matt.
Grandma: Oh, Kroger!
My mom: That is a gift card worth $20.
Grandma to me: Oh, twenty dollars! You must be doing very well! [Dead serious]
To finish off the evening, we watched My Week with Marilyn together. I'd been planning to watch this movie with her for over six months. I thought she'd really enjoy it since Marilyn Monroe is her favorite celebrity.
- Beginning of the movie -
Grandma: That's not Marilyn Monroe.
Me: No, it's not. It's a movie about Marilyn Monroe.
Grandma: Oh. When is Marilyn Monroe coming on?
She spent the movie telling me she already read the story in Vanity Fair.
- End of the movie -
Me: What did you think of the movie?
Grandma: Corny. I mean, she was silly like that but I liked watching her movies.
Me: How would you rate it? On a scale of one to ten?
Grandma: A one. [We all laugh. She turns to our neighbor's son and wife who are staying with my parents.] Did you ever see the one where she went skinny dippin'?
Neighbor's son and wife: [Shocked face] Uh, no. I don't think I saw that one.
So, maybe I should have just rented Some Like It Hot. She was expecting Marilyn and got Michelle Williams. Although, she did ask me if I knew about Michelle's history with Heath Ledger, of course.
I really doubt I'll be so up on current events if I make it to 86. I am grateful that the Pope resigning is giving her a reason to live through another year. And don't worry. She's been talking about not expecting to live this long for decades. It's part of her schtick.
This brought me some happiness in January. Getting the record player out of the basement. Cleaning out the horribly cluttered shelves in the dining room and filling it with speakers and records and cookbooks. Getting these prints on the walls and setting up the little calendar a friend bought me at Renegade Chicago in December.
There was the moment I finally figured out how to put the new needle on correctly and spin the record at the right speed (33, btw). Marvin Gaye's voice shot through the crackle of the speakers and filled up our downstairs. I squealed. And danced. And sang. Matt came back in from a walk the moment Side A finished, so he missed the magic of that first record playing in our home. But, we had a ton of fun later listening to his Zappa album while we thoroughly cleaned the downstairs.
I told Matt, this is how I was raised to clean up. Saturday morning, put a record on and everyone gets to work. In the summer, throw the windows open and let the breeze blow in. Sing "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" with your mom and get the dusting done.
A couple years ago someone posted a link to this video of Jason Schwartzman in a record shop. It's kind of silly and very hipsterlicious* as he sits on the floors and describes all the records he's going to buy but (spoiler alert) at the end he says, "For some reason I want the house to have a positive, fun, loving feeling [...] you're trying to keep it up, trying to keep the mood up."
That last line always stuck with me.
And now I have a record player to keep the mood up.
*The spell check suggests 'oversuspicious'. Fits, I think.