Processing the Old, Welcoming the New

2016 was  a tough year—did you find that as well? My partner & I each lost a parent,  and a favorite relative or two, and the news of childhood icons leaving us seemed never-ending on top of that. Collage and art has been a comfort and a distraction.

As a collage warmup, I took some black paper, ripped it into squares, and then tried variations, like the sample, left. The act of destroying the paper, then re-imagining it, and having it evolve back into colorful compositions felt cathartic.

The next step for me, in these exercises, is always to create a collagraph plate, and print up the results. After scanning at each step of the process, I’m free to try any of the stages as layers in my new compositions, as shown in the right-hand image.

When the new year was finally here, I also retired some prints, from 2012 and earlier, and on a much lower scale, mourned their passing as well. Destined to be new building blocks for my collage, they’re getting the same treatment as the dramatic black paper, being re-sectioned into pieces. It was surprisingly hard to cut them up! But cut them up I did:

I’m still working on whether this new set of collages is done, ready for the printing press, or even worthy of my time. But the process of repurposing, rethinking, and moving on is part of my grief, and very helpful either way. How are you handling the new year, and saying goodbye to 2016?

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