But I digress. I was sitting next to a woman who teaches and does PR in the art and art history department. I asked her about her specialty and she said collage.
(All collage, art in this post is mine; this photo is by Michael Maurer Smith.)
As we spoke, she explained that when teaching a course on collage to arts and humanities students, she focused on how really, everything is collage. They took exception to that, saying they didn't know why they had to paste things together. It seemed like baby work to them.
But when you put it in that perspective, it's not only true, but oh, the places your thoughts can leap! And what a lesson that can be for someone entering the next stage of their own personal "collage."
For example, when we dress, we are layering bits and pieces that don't always belong together. Grandma's necklace. A scarf we made. A funky vintage top with modern jeans. Collage.
When we watch a video, think of the layers there -- the raw video (edited, putting bits and pieces together), the overlapping layers -- super impositions of names, for example. And if you go to a channel with a news crawl on top of that, logos, bits and pieces flying in and out of the picture? Collage.
The jewelry my friend Kate made last weekend -- or this bracelet she helped me make several years ago. Polymer becomes its own collage element -- layers of clay making canes. The twine that holds it together. Elements that individually mean something else or look like something else. Together. Collage.
Your house. A structure -- be it brick or wood. Shutters. A garden in front. Something attached to the structure -- a wreath, maybe, or a flag. Collage.
A recipe. Individual ingredients, combined together -- the quantities may vary, the result different. But the glue that holds it together may be the egg or the milk or the oil. This trifle -- pumpkin and gingersnaps and whipped cream. What if they layers were different -- raspberry, pudding? Collage.
Or the Christmas cookies we decorate each Christmas Eve. A cookie. Frosting. Another layer, a different color.
Add a little sugar and you have mixed media collage on a mighty sweet substrate!
The table setting. A cloth. Dishes. Silverware. A centerpiece -- how many flowers are in that centerpiece? What's the vase like? Do you have party favors at each place? Add food -- another element. Collage.
And of course, the collage we do as artists.
When you start to think of our lives as collage, it's really pretty fascinating. One layer of experiences upon another. Something that holds it together. Things change, new things surface, the design may change altogether or become a variation of the original. Our lives. Collage.
When I was very small, I didn't have all that many layers to my life. It was pretty simple. Eat. Sleep. Play.
Teen time. College. More layers. Music and drama. Making my own decisions. Living with the consequences good or bad. Collage.
Adulthood. Being the responsible one. Caring for and about others in a different way. Collage.
If we dig past the layer of our lives that is this moment -- the stress of the day, the hot thing happening -- we can see who we are, what we have become and how we became that way. I see all the little layers in my life, those layers being experiences. The experience of being with Rick and his kids was so unlike those in my other relationships. One overlapping layer of joy, concern, laughter, worry, love.
The experience of caring for my dad when he was ill brought me responsibility. What goes around, comes around.
Loving a pet and having to let it go. Layer upon layer of feeling. A collage.
The experience of having a job brought reality -- supporting myself and discovering life wasn't an endless free-form existence.
It makes me wonder what layers will come next. What experiences will I have today or tomorrow or very soon that will change me in a significant way. Even if I don't realize those experiences are is significant for a long time.
I am a collage of many colors -- often bright, but sometimes more subdued. Sometimes, wild squiggles explode from my page, and there is plenty of texture -- smooth, soft; prickly, edgy. I have lots of layers, some transparent, others opaque. Maybe someday, I'll try to put myself on canvas!
What about you? What kind of a collage are you? Colors, textures?