I didn't know what to expect, but I figured it would be a fun time regardless. The only collage I've done in the last decade(s) ended up being my friend Dave Doobinin's album cover, so I also thought that this would be a good opportunity to force myself to try making another collage.
Dana was a great teacher. She gave us a brief history of collage, some tips on how to get started, and let us loose with the tools she provided. In addition to scissors, glue sticks and thick backing paper, she brought a few dozen old books she'd gotten from the thrift store. I'll admit I felt a little weird about cutting out images from hardback books. But then I remembered all the books I've seen thrown into the recycle bin (at the hospice thrift store where I volunteered) and I suddenly felt good about giving these old books new life.
Once the class was underway, I spent the first half of the class hunting around for images I liked. I found it very meditative and I sunk into a pleasant silence, not talking much with the group. I realized that I always do my creative work alone and naturally go into my own inner world when I'm making things. No one seemed to mind. After I'd pulled a few dozen images that I liked, I began to silently panic that I wouldn't think of what I'd want to collage. In hindsight, I find it hilarious that even though this art-making was just for fun, I still managed to be seized briefly by self-doubt. Note to self: make more art for no reason, and get over self.
After spending some time looking through the images I collected, a concept started to form in my mind. I created a black and white world and thought I'd put a few black and white figures in it, but I didn't like the figures I'd found. So I went back to the books and looked for the right size figures for the foreground as well as for some colors for the focal point. The very last piece I found was the bird. I love that he has a worm in his mouth.
I did eventually interact with my fellow collage makers, especially once I'd figured out my composition and was just doing some (tedious) cutting and pasting. I loved how everyone went at their own speed, talked as much or as little as they liked, nursed a cocktail or didn't, and by the end we all had the most diverse collages to share. Mine is below, and you can see the others here.
Even though I'm a mostly solitary maker, I highly recommend doing some social art making. It was so fun to see what everyone else made, and frankly it forced me to make something I wouldn't have made otherwise. I'm going to look into more events like these when I get back to the East Bay.
Just before the evening wrapped up, someone stepped outside and discovered a gorgeous rainbow. It all made for a magical evening. Thanks Dana and Friends & Neighbors!