SoulCollage®: Creative Self-Exploration
“Bits & Pieces put together to present a semblance of a whole” Lawrence Weiner, conceptual artist, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
I have loved collage for a mighty long time. It's a form of play and self-exploration. It's as simple as cutting and pasting, so it's accessible. You can do it on your own or with others. It's low-pressure. It's a respite and an oasis. As Jill Badonsky has said, "Collage is destroying something and remaking it in your own way." In other words, there's a lot to recommend it.
When I stumbled onto SoulCollage® just a few years ago, I thought, "How am I only now finding out about this?" Really, for as many times as I'd googled "best glue for collage," you'd think I would have already discovered this brilliant method of self-exploration developed by Seena Frost. Once I realized what I'd been missing, I got Seena Frost's book, SoulCollage® Evolving: An Intuitive Collage Process for Self-Discovery and Community. I watched youtube videos about it. I contemplated becoming a facilitator (full disclosure: I didn't. I opted to become a Kaizen Muse Creativity Coach instead. But maybe SoulCollage® facilitator is next?) And I've been making cards, adding to my personal deck and doing daily-ish readings for several years now. It's tons of fun. So I thought I'd share some of the tips and tricks and techniques that make it easy, accessible and delightful.
Collect images that float your boat. A SoulCollage® card can be as simple as a background image with another image glued to it, as in my elk card shown at the top of the page. Or it can be more complex. I look through magazines and catalogs and cut out anything that gives me a jolt of joy, a tingle of recognition or a feeling of "yes, please!" And I save these images in boxes. Figuring out which images should go together is a delightful exercise in experimentation, trust, lowered expectations, play and tuning into my intuition.
You can get supplies from the SoulCollage® website. I tend to be a DIYer, so I like to use what I have on hand.
For a base, I use the free card stock that comes in my mail almost daily in the form of junk mail. The flyers at left are prime examples.
I cut all my cards to 5x7. Or you can get the precut mat board from SoulCollage® which measure 5x8. Either size is recommended by SoulCollage®.
I use my quilting rotary cutter, ruler and mat to cut my cards.
Pioneer Glue is my favorite for collage - it's for photos but it's been effective for gluing glossy magazine pics to glossy card stock. (Not as effective for matte-finish paper, fyi.) Somewhere in the course of reading and watching SoulCollage® instruction, I came across someone acknowledging that re-gluing is a part of SoulCollage® - as we handle our cards, they naturally get unglued in places. So that helped me lower my expectations and put less pressure on my cards to be/stay perfectly glued.
I also made a frame out of paper (as seen above) so I can get a good visual of what my finished cards will look like.
And I love a rounded corner, so I use my corner rounder once the whole thing is glued together. I like the finished look it gives the cards.
I also glue a backing on my cards. I started doing it according to the SoulCollage® idea of a different backing for the different suits, using a different patterned paper for each. It turns out I don't find the suits all that helpful, but I do like the backing paper which is much prettier than the bare junk mail back.
Doing Readings with Your Cards
"Who is the wisest teacher about one's life journey? Surely it must be our own Soul who alone knows our personal coding, our history, our talents, our passions and our dreams." Seena Frost, SoulCollage® Evolving
Doing readings with SoulCollage® cards allows you to tap into your own inner wisdom and to gain insight into yourself, your shadow, your gifts, your fears and your patterns of thought and behavior. Traditionally SoulCollage® uses an "I am the one who..." formula for doing readings with your cards. You simply look at an image in your card and let yourself feel its energy. Using "I am the one who..." as a prompt, you finish that sentence by describing yourself as if you are the image.
I initially found this process rather unsatisfactory. I felt like my brain was completing the sentence rather than my intuition or inner wisdom. So, I've learned to really stop. Look at the image. Close my eyes. And feel myself stepping into the card. Then before I let words form in my mind, I check in with the feeling I have when I'm inside the image. For me, pausing to notice the feeling is really more powerful than putting the feeling into words. But words usually follow and then I can complete the "I am the one who..." prompt.
Sometimes I'll get a phrase or title or song in my head when I see a card. Or it will remind me of a book, so I'll grab the book off the shelf and open to a random page to see if a quote leaps out. (This, as you may already know, is called bibliomancy, according to Robert Moss.) And more often than not, I stumble onto something serendipitous and pertinent.
I'm still learning how to use, enjoy and learn from SoulCollage® - I think it's a powerful tool partly because it has so many layers and possibilities. If you have tips, insights or experiences with SoulCollage®, contact me. I'd love to know more.