• Kendra Dare

Inside-Out

Here I am. Age 5? Age 4? Behold. My Very First Collage. I am standing in Lorraine's "porch". (We called it the porch, and sometimes we called it the "playroom". It is a beautiful little room surrounded on 3 sides by windows - full of plants - full of books.) At any rate - here I am. Me and my collage. I look quite protective. I see the Number 9.

(It is fascinating to me now to look at this picture, taken 42 years ago, of me and my first collage with a very LARGE number NINE on it. One day I will write in this blog why the number NINE has become so very very very meaningful to me. But anyway, wow, there it is. On my first collage. Plain as day.) Which brings me to my point:


The exercise, art, and science of Collage is nothing short of magic. But let's start from the top. A Declaration:


There are few things I love more than creating a collage. What a gift from Lorraine! To introduce me to this type of meditation at such an early age … this meditation that is an outward reflection of what is going on inside. We look into a mirror for our external reflection. But when do we see the internal reflection? Our beautiful insides are reflected in a miriad of ways. One of them is Collage.


Although I was introduced to the exercise of collaging at a young age, it took a couple decades before I truly experienced the mystical power of it.

I discovered the MAGIC of collage twenty-three years ago, at the ripe age of 23. I was “just starting out” as a blundering idiot in the “real world”. I was lost: a stubborn little boat out at sea with no anchor and no horizon. I had gotten myself all turned around - but I sensed that it was getting late - it was getting dark - and I needed to find my way home.


I guess one day I kind of "woke up" and acknowledged that I was lost, and that I could use a couple sign posts to find my way back to my self - to find my way back home. Did I leave myself any breadcrumbs, as Hansel and Gretel had, while I was getting lost? Did I leave myself any clues on the trail to get myself back home?


I did indeed. Those breadcrumbs would surface through collage.


I was broke = No money at this time in my life. But I knew I needed to buy myself some medicine, so I invested in a sweet little journal: a 9"x9" blank page journal with a white canvas cover and gold-foil star on top. It probably cost $15. But to me at that time, it was a true investment and worth 100x it's weight in gold.


It had been years since I had put pen to journal, and I was excited to bring this one home.


But then, something surprising happened. I didn't want to write my thoughts down in this journal. Instead, I found a craving to paste my visions and hopes and dreams into it. I didn't want to slog through the muck of my current thoughts and cast them down onto wordy pages (this is an awesome practice - but evidently it wasn't the medicine I needed at the time) No. Instead, I wanted to see the things that were waiting for me. I wanted the pages to show me my future. For the first time in my young adult life, I pasted together a little collage. And then another. Page after page, little 9"x9" collages took shape: Flowers. Happy Kitchens. Smiling Faces.


I didn't think too much of it. I just knew that I loved to open that journal and flip through it. When I came across an image in a magazine or catalog that "grabbed" me, I cut it out and pasted it into my journal. It made me smile. It sparked joy. It became one of my favorite things. A journal of inspiring images. I thought I'd invented it. It was my happy place.


The term "Vision Board" had not yet crossed my path.


A year later - Sarah Ban Breathnach's book, "Simple Abundance", landed on my doorstep - a birthday gift from a friend that changed my life. In it, Sarah brings forth one of her powerful tools: The Illustrated Discovery Journal. From a description of Ban Breathnach's concept: "The Illustrated Discovery Journal puts you on the path of pure intuition and feeling. Here you'll collect random pictures that appeal to you - images culled from periodicals or cut out of catalogs, photographs, or postcards."


Wait. Whaaaaaaat???!!? Seriously, WTF. Did Sarah Ban Breathnach just make a couple million dollars off of my pasting-images-into-journal-idea?????


HaHaHa. (that's what my 24-year-old self was thinking)

But no - it's the simple, quiet power of collage. Look around. It shows up everywhere. Diane Keaton can't stop talking about it (This is an hilarious image I grabbed from her instagram feed (covid mask and all). God, she is SO FUNNY. AND - she's all about collage. Read her book, "Then Again" about her relationship with her mom and how Joseph Cornell's collage art absolutely IMPRINTED her life.

And then there's this image that reminds me so much of Lorraine and her home. Notes and cards and scribbled quotes and passages from books and pictures tacked on a wall forming a collage of joy and inspiration on one of her kitchen walls. Collage magic at its best. This image was pulled from the Ralph Lauren digital magazine and Ralph Lauren's brilliant art director, Mary Randolph Carter's blog. This particular blog post is about "The Art of Collage". Know This: All brilliant, creative people understand the power of collage.


And then there's this image. This is a collage that I pasted up on the inside of my medicine cabinet at my first single-gal / single-mom condo after moving out on my own for the first time. That condo was filled with different types of collage - one in every room - in every nook & cranny - reminding me that everything was going to be okay.



Magic.


So let's reflect. Why are we talking about Collage during this month's theme of 'Reflection' in this blog about the Magic of Houses? Because: Collage brings out your inside, to show itself to you in all its glory, just as a mirror reflects your outside. AND - Collage is often just the thing you need to find your way back Home. And that's what this blog is all about. Home.


As Mary Randolph Carter states in the blog post I noted above - in RL Magazine on the art of collage, “No matter what, your collage in the end will add a one-of-a-kind creative spirit to your home and serve as a lasting artistic expression of this special kind of togetherness.”


And isn't that what Home is all about? Let's reflect on that.


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