GreenishLady

Originally Blogging the Artist's Way. Thoughts, musings, experience of the 12-week course, January to March 2006. And after that?.... Life, creativity, writing. Where does it all meet? Here, perhaps.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Compose: Sunday Scribblings

They're right. It's an odd little word. Not one that passes my lips very often. I would never tell someone to "compose" themself, for instance, or when I write a poem, I never think of myself as "composing" it. Friends who write songs are song-writers, to my mind. When I put images together for a collage, that's probably the time I'm most likely to allow the word "composition" to enter my mind.

That makes it sound as though it's almost a forbidden word. That's not it. But it is a word which carries a weight of old, old associations and memories. When I was young, we didn't write "essays" or "papers" at school. We wrote compositions. In English and Irish. By the time I came to secondary school, they were called Essays, and on Sunday nights, I'd frequently find myself at the kitchen table, rushing to put together something in English, something in Irish, and something in French, too. And then, I'd think of them as compositions again.

Without turning to my dictionary (Yet! - I'm itching to, but will hold off until I've finished writing this piece!) I think the word "compose" means to bring elements together and to create one singular unit of them. The elements might be musical notes, thoughts and ideas, or pieces of a picture. The elements become a "compostition" then, and that's the aim. When I wrote school essays, I'd try to include a few aspects of the theme, and draw them together with some wonderful unifying thought. It usually worked.

Looked at the dictionary. Yes, among the definitions, there's something close enough to mine: To form (something) by putting it together.
This afternoon, some of my friends will join me here at home to make some SoulCollage® cards. We will gather images from magazines, photos, advertising flyers, each of us creating a bundle of pages which have called to them for known ("Oh... that looks like how I feel when I'm on holiday / mad as hell / thinking about what I have to do !") or mysterious ("That picture has a .... I don't know... a quality... an atmosphere... an aura that attracts/repels me... do I want to pull it?...") When we have a bundle of image gathered, we will spread out our images, move them around, moodle with them, try various combinations of images, consider how one would look as background to a variety of other images, and gradually the composition will begin to come into focus, and we will reach for scissors, carefully snipping around foreground images, cutting background pages to the size of the card on which we will be making our collage. As the cutting proceeds, the images are tried out, checked in relation to one another... Other elements might be sought out. ...

As we work, a quiet concentration will descend on the group. There may be murmurs and occasional questions: "Anyone seen the whale I cut out? Where was that gold cup again?... Can I borrow that other scissors? ... " Time will slip by and then, one by one, we will begin to sit back, surveying the card we've been working on, holding it at arm's length, allowing the others to see what magic has taken place in the juxtaposition of a variety of disparate images. Some of the initial images will have been discarded. Some will go into (growing) piles of pictures we want to use sometime in the future - when the "right" image presents itself to join the first to represent some aspect of the self, some energy that is felt deeply, some archetype that has meaning in the life of the SoulCollage artist.
...
These "compositions" become precious talismans to us. Over the past 4 years and more, I've made more than 100. I know a woman who has only made 2, but those 2 sit on her bedside table, precious to her, because they are a part of herself. When my sister began to make her cards, she carried them everywhere with her, as you might a special journal or diary.

When I found the SoulCollage process and began to make these cards, I did not imagine it would become such an important part of my life, but it has become a way in which I get to know myself, to share parts of myself with others. My cards remind me of what is important to me; they offer advice and perspective. When I'm wondering what course of action to take about something, I might pull 3 or 4 cards from my deck, and consider how they relate to my question. I've usually found affirming and reassuring answers in my "reading" of the cards.

When I began to write today, I did not mean to write a "composition" on the subject of SoulCollage® ! But it seems to fit, so I offer it to those of you who are curious. If you'd like to know more about the process, check out the SoulCollage website of Seena Frost, originator of the process, (where you will see 4 cards chosen randomly for you, and a large gallery of cards) or Kaleidosoul, a resource site run by a MA facilitator and trainer. I blog occasionally about my cards and process at SoulFragments. If you have questions... I'd be glad to answer them!
Find other Sunday Scribblings on "Compose" HERE.

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27 Comments:

At 19/4/08 12:42 pm, Blogger ArtyEm said...

I love this idea of soul collage - I work in an art journal but strive to make it about the authentic inner voice, not just pretty images. . . .thanks for sharing this.

 
At 19/4/08 12:55 pm, Blogger Lilibeth said...

I too am struck by the fact that when we compose, we rearrange existing elements...all that's new comes from bits of what we already know. For once, though, I'd like to create...make something entirely new with no elements in it of anything familiar.

 
At 19/4/08 2:28 pm, Blogger Deirdre said...

I may have to give this a try. I've done a bit of collage and have been surprised by how quickly it takes me to a quiet, calm place.

 
At 19/4/08 2:46 pm, Blogger anthonynorth said...

To bring things together. Very true, but the word is a misnomer nowadays. Nothing is brought together more than an ecosystem. Does nature 'compose' it?
Oh dear, those who don't like 'intelligence' above us will love that :-)
By the way, those images were marvellous.

 
At 19/4/08 3:35 pm, Blogger lila said...

I love your explanation of your soul Collage cards...I do a lot of this myself but have never made the card format. And to do art with friends, what could be better?

 
At 19/4/08 4:25 pm, Blogger Granny Smith said...

A very good composition! I like your definition of the word and then the extension of the idea into the soul collage descriptions.

 
At 19/4/08 7:26 pm, Blogger paisley said...

i wanna make a soul collage card.. this is such a wonderful idea......

 
At 19/4/08 8:47 pm, Blogger Under there... said...

What a wonderful idea. Thanks for putting this site out here.

 
At 19/4/08 11:15 pm, Blogger Greyscale Territory said...

The idea of a soul collage has really grabbed me. Love how you work your interest in reflective thoughts on compose.

Gemma

 
At 20/4/08 7:33 am, Blogger Tammie Lee said...

I wish I lived close enough to join your card making gatherings, they sound wonderful. Recently I made a mandala, it is not finished yet. It is 2 feet square. I am surprised to find the process feels as though I am finding clarity in seeing my way into my future. Some how this feels similar to your soul cards. Composing a destiny. Thank you for sharing.

 
At 20/4/08 11:49 am, Blogger Caroline said...

Great composition on composing... and SoulCollage seems the most brilliant fit with the word...

And I've made some too... the first in a year.

 
At 20/4/08 12:17 pm, Blogger anno said...

Like you, I find the word "compose" a little stiff and at odds with whatever results from my improvisational encounters with words or food. Your soul collages are enchanting, and feel much more familiar.

 
At 20/4/08 4:30 pm, Blogger Tammy said...

Imelda, you have expressed what a soulcollage is and means. I have tried to get someone to explain it because it is new to me but they found it hard to articulate. You did it beautifully with this prompt.

If I could use scissors I would love this! XXOO

 
At 20/4/08 8:10 pm, Blogger January said...

Very nice composition!

Hope you can show us a few of your soul collages. Sounds like a great project.

 
At 20/4/08 9:05 pm, Blogger http:/blogcabinfever.typepad.com said...

I love the dolphin picture. It reminds me of the Hitchhikers book, "So long and thanks for all the fish".
Imelda, thank you for your sweet comment on my blog. I really appreciate that.
Hugs,
Pam

 
At 20/4/08 10:19 pm, Blogger Becca said...

When I first read this prompt, I thought of you (and other collage artists) who go through this process of composition in their work. It's interesting to me, that this came to my mind rather than composing music or literature, both of which are more familiar to me.

I liked the way you used the definition of the word and applied it to your particular process.

And I enjoyed learning more about soul collage. Fascinating :)

 
At 21/4/08 12:49 am, Blogger tumblewords said...

I've followed your other posts about Soul Collage and find it fascinating, challenging and 'to compose' is surely a big factor. Nice post!

 
At 22/4/08 12:38 am, Blogger The Alchemist said...

I really lied your post. I also have difficulty thinking that I am composing stories for the same reasons...I associate them with school. Thanks so much for sharing your soul collages. I have been trying to think up a Banner for my site. Can't draw, don't know how to use photoshop and don't have enough money to pay someone to do it for me. If I could come up with a collage that would embody what embodies the essence of my blog that would be great. Thanks!

 
At 23/4/08 12:25 am, Blogger Inland Empire Girl said...

I love doing collages and am eager to try this site. What a good take on compose. I loved the image of you cranking out those essays on Sunday night!

 
At 23/4/08 1:40 pm, Blogger Naturegirl said...

I recently was asked to do a soulcollage for a gathering of artists who met here in Sedona for the first time as I was invited to join the group.(we all met through our blogging) As a photographer at first I was intimidated however as I began gathering my images and puttting them on paper..it was an enjoyable experience..one I shall do again..with the many photos I have taken while vacationing in Arizona!
Love yours with the hand!sunkissed in Arizona NG

 
At 23/4/08 2:25 pm, Blogger lila said...

Imelda, I have been reading your poetry. It is wonderful to have such a glimpse into your world.
The one "When these walls speak" seemed to relate to my last post about homes and houses.

 
At 23/4/08 5:11 pm, Blogger Karen said...

What a wonderful composition! The soul collages are so beautiful--I think I need to look further into it...

 
At 23/4/08 6:23 pm, Blogger Judy Merrill-Smith said...

Thanks for the kind comment on my blog!

I love reading your scribblings. And your cards are lovely -- thanks for sharing them. As I get more serious about photography, I am learning more and more about composing a shot. So much of our outlook on life depends on how we frame our subject(s)!

 
At 24/4/08 2:16 am, Blogger Lisa said...

A beautiful composition. :)

 
At 24/4/08 5:26 am, Anonymous tinker said...

Both your post and your SoulCollage cards are composed beautifully, Imelda! The dolphin composition is especially lovely.
Some day I will get around to trying SoulCollage again...yours are stirring my interest again. Thank you for the inspiration!

 
At 24/4/08 3:05 pm, Anonymous robin bird said...

i love the description of the gathering of friends and the process of how you all engage in the 'composing' of your soul cards. it made me smile as i imagined you all looking for scissors, whale clippings or the spello tape. i have a raggedy old collage i made in about 1970 that was very important to me at the time and represented hurt and a healing of immense proportion. i have pulled out this large black construction papered sheet many times to contemplate what exactly it all meant to me at the time.i believed at the time and do now as well that it was a life saver for me to have a way to express the inexpressible.

 
At 3/5/08 4:39 pm, Blogger Julie said...

I would love to have companionship when I do my soul collages. My one experience with that is the visual journaling class I took last year. It seemed to go easier when four of us were doing pages at the same time. Comments would spark ideas and the other presons' choice of colors and themes would inspire me and stretch my boundaries.

 

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