Today is World Collage day, created by Kolaj Magazine and I imagine there are all sorts of collage activity days taking place today across the globe. In my corner of the world, my 100 squares exhibition has opened at The Old Courthouse Gallery in Shap, Cumbria.
Collage is a technique of an art production, primarily used in the visual arts, where the artwork is made from an assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole.Definition
To begin with there was no plan to make art. 2015 had been a difficult year watching my Father die from an aggressive and rare stomach cancer, 2016 there was the sudden death of my beloved childhood friend and all the time trying to cope with my Mum's rapid decline in physical and mental health. In 2017 Mum went into a home and, with my siblings, I had to empty and sell what was our family home. It was a job full of pain, surprises and distractions as cupboards were emptied and treasures discovered. My Dad was a hoarder, a similarity we share and there was a lot of paper-based material like postcards, calendars, stamps and leaflets and many photographs. I found it very difficult to throw away so many photographs but I knew I had no room for them so I picked out a selection and my first 100 square was created using photos of my parents. The project just grew from there and became a diary of 2017. Creating this body of work has helped me process so much grief in a positive way and also enabled other people to talk about their grief and loss too, particularly of parental loss. I have learned that connection is so important in maintaining good mental health which is why this collection will always be 100 squares. Every square bought will be replaced by another and the buyer will become a part of this project by providing either material for the replacement or a theme suggestion. They will receive a certificate of connection. So many of the pieces used in this art belonged to my parents that it feels like a tribute to them both and as it continues to evolve has a life of its own. The exhibition debuted at Florence Arts Centre in Egremont and was well received. I was delighted to have this exhibition as part of Art and Liberation at The Holy Biscuit Gallery in Newcastle and continue to raise awareness of using art to process grief, connect and celebrate. This is the third showing of the whole collection and I am very excited to work with the school and wider community of Shap.