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How I Keep Going

Over the last three months, I've made a surprising amount of artwork. Not because that was my intention, and not because I necessarily had the time, but because I needed to do something that felt good. It was funny to me that quarantine baking took off like it did---I love baking, but since that's basically my job, that didn't feel relaxing to me. So, I've delved deep into collage.

There are so many aspects of making collages that are satisfying to me. I have a collection of papers, and the first enjoyable step is rifling through those papers to see what calls to me. Sometimes I have a particular scrap or color in mind, but generally I'm looking for a piece that I know when I see. I gather what I think I want with that piece. Maybe it's similar colors, maybe it's opposite colors, or maybe it's a motif. Next is the arranging step. I move the papers around until they feel right. Sometimes I trim them, or cut different shapes entirely, before I'm ready to glue them down. And here, it depends on my level of care. If it's a slapdash endeavor, I use a glue stick. More fussy pieces call for matte medium, and if I'm trying to be very careful, I get out the PVA glue with a paintbrush. When the pieces are glued down, they are sometimes in slightly different spots than I had then I adjust. I might add color with Caran d'ache Neocolors, or colored pencils, or lines with a pencil or pen.

I've been working on a variety of collages over the pandemic, but I started to feel paralyzed over the last few weeks. My family and I live in a bubble in rural southern Vermont, but it was hard to ignore the protests over racism, and the call to be an ally to Black Lives Matter: nor did I want to ignore it. I've struggled with what to say, and I feel like I don't have much to offer other than to try harder, to listen, to donate, to vote. But none of those things can quiet my hands like collage, so I'm back at it. The picture shows the last week's pieces. I've made two a day. It's a tangible way to feel a little hope, to push a little light back into my world.

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