I love to cut circles. Sometimes I just sit and cut circles out of magazines pages or painted paper or old music scores. Just eyeballing them as I cut from a rough square shape. Then I use them up in a project and cut more. It's a way of preparing the material for projects when I'm too tired to do a lot of creating.

But, that's just one kind of collage material. I do the same with doodled flowers (especially on security envelope paper). And I make little bags (very little ones) from scraps to hold bits that are included in some of my outgoing mail.   

Is all this pre-art a big deal to anyone else out there? Therapeutic or something?  --Linda

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Yes. Once in a while I spend some time preparing paper and material, almost like in mass production, to work later on my projects. Sometimes it's therapeutic. Sometimes it's just necessary. Either way I enjoy doing it.

Linda,  I never heard the term "pre-art" before but it so suits what I do, too.  So, yes.  It is a big deal to me, too.  I make hats out of old sweaters and stuff as a therapeutic activity.  


I also really like to paint  paper as pre-art. I usually just recycle junk mail or that sort of thing for my base. Sometimes I use stencils or stamps i have made. Sometimes I scrape paint over the surface with an old credit card or piece of chipboard. That technique makes for a really smooth surface, and uses only a tiny bit of paint. Then, I have a good surface to apply texture with other layering techniques. 

How about anyone else? How do you prep surfaces?  --Linda

I take time to cut stuff out of magazines in prep for collage making, It's relaxing to sit and cut stuff up and make little piles by category - arms, legs, birds, eyes, cats, etc. And of course, I love punching holes out of paper. Sometimes I do it with my little grandchild. She'll pick the paper and I'll punch a hole and she'll put the circle in a little tin for storage. It's mindless and satisfying. And, when I'm ready to make collages, the material is at hand.

Linda, I definitely believe this kind of prepping is therapeutic. Doing these small tasks force me and my normally overly busy brain to become mindful, where nothing else matters except for the task at hand. Another thing I find relaxing and therapeutic is cleaning my desk after a project is finished. I make a terrible mess when creating so putting everything away and cleaning up feels like a cleansing of the mind, as in cleansing the palette at a wine tasting. It cleanses my thoughts of one project before going to another. 

Joseph Campbell mentioned archetypal imagery that are repeated which unifies cultures and represents various universal questions, curiosities, and ideas. The circle as well as imperfect, amorphous orbs exist even on cave dwellings proving that these symbols are deeply rooted in the human experience regardless or whether you're pre-historic or modern man/woman.
For me, it is also the simplistic, calming repetitive movement that circles and spirals inspire. For me, it definitely is therapeutic and is a great place to start to ignore the creative flow process. Have fun!

'Pre-art', such a matching name!

And yes, I'm doing that, too. Not circles, but I'm drawing stamp edges on my 10x15 cards, and I'm spoolknitting (that may become snail houses - thus a kind of circles) and knitting postable squares 'in case of'. Sometimes doodling or drawing snail mail snails on envelopes

Not therapeutic, I think, but to fill lost minutes. As for finishing mail art I need more time, those fragmented minutes (between tasks and other duties) are frustrating, but turn out to be ideal for creating pre-art :-) 

Heleen, what is a "postable square"? Is it like a knitted postcard?

Yes, see for instance the background of the snail at
http://iuoma-network.ning.com/profiles/blogs/yay-yarn :-)

I call this Bringing It To The next Level. Which means cutting up bigger pieces, cutting strips and tiny elements, releasing pictures from their context. Gluing snippets together to form larger pieces, mini collages and abstract collages to cut up. Using the last stickers from sheets to put them in a tin of eyecatchers and mini-deco. Sorting papers by color and feel. Prepping postcards with paint. 

It is nice to do when I creatively clean up and put things in more inspiring arrangements. When I know what to do with the elements I feel less obstructed by fuzzy cutting or searching for the right element to lift the whole. 

I won't call it therapeutic, I would call it prepping to make the best use of the creative flow when it's finally there again. It also gets my brain in the mood to think of all the wonderful things to do with these materials. 

“Releasing pictures from their context” - love that phrase as a jumping off for collage work.



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