madcollage snippets march 2022

“The end of the road is the beginning of the wild unknown.” - L.M Browning



I want to take a moment to thank everyone who participated on the first ever MADtalk. I had a lovely time answering your questions and sharing a few thoughts on three of my collages.

I will offer a new MADtalk episode this month. The three collages to be discussed will be announced prior to the talk, as well as the overarching themes.

Please, come as you are and bring with you questions you'd like to ask me. I'll do my best to answer all of them! Stay tuned!


collage: and she was

The attributes of femininity are many and as diverse as wildflowers in a field.

Women, for instance, are uniquely suited to putting things back together. Be it a home, a family or a broken heart, there is something intrinsically feminine to the act of mending.

This ability to bring wholeness by means of refurbishing the existing parts is fundamental to many of the activities that have traditionally been relegated to the home. Making or fixing garments, quilting, and even cooking are good examples. In my opinion, they are the result of believing that the whole is greater and more useful than the parts themselves. That's why there is faith in the art of mending, and there is vision. Furthermore, contrary to what people might think, these endeavors require imagination, effort, and a great deal of ingenuity. They are creativity in action. Care at its most practical, and love that heals.

Repairing oneself is a more problematic and lengthy undertaking. It seems selfish to turn inward and take the time to replenish the batteries. Whatever that looks like for you, I would bet that it tends to remain at the bottom your "to do" list. Women are known to care for others rather more diligently than for themselves, but the unseen damage within is real, and it chips away at our well-being.

Self-neglect is a widespread practice among women. I continue to fall prey to it unaware of the price I inevitably will have to pay. Redirecting that tendency to focus on others first is a challenging task initially, although it can definitely be accomplished.

I now set time aside to make collages and paint. For decades I deemed it frivolous and wasteful. I worked, took care of people and things, and was too exhausted to even think about being creative. I thought I was prioritizing the “important” things, which instantly put me and my innate drive to create firmly in the category of “irrelevant.” Them or me was the dichotomy, and some around me took advantage of this distorted view. A few mental breakdowns down the line, I realized it was just not working out. It never had.

What changed was that I gave myself a bit of freedom. Little by little, I shed the guilt and the roles I had been assigned within my culture. It was an exercise in becoming.

The women who found their own freedom in collage over the last century, came from entirely disparate backgrounds. For decades now, they have been weaving a cloth that signifies their presence, not only in the art world, but in the public sphere at large. They became visible and even notorious. Without shame, and by bringing bits and pieces of themselves together (some of which had been lost to gender disparity, violence, or societal pressures), they emerged triumphant and whole. Whatever their unique message, it is one of their choosing and it comes across loud and clear.

Learn more about the work of these remarkable collage artists by following the link below.


out and about - Virtual Realities: The Art of M.C. Escher @ The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX

Many people are familiar with the mind bending work of Escher. His images defy convention and invite the viewer to suspend disbelief while becoming part of a universe unlike anything we experience in daily life. While his work has become ubiquitous with its ability to transport us to a place of wonder, the man behind it remains hidden from view.

This upcoming exhibit at The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, provides a deeper look at this elusive artist. Born in The Netherlands, he became a graphic designer with a fascination for geometry and mathematics.

With an unparalleled power of observation, Escher continues to capture the imagination of newer generations. In his images one can find a sense of stillness and timelessness that puzzles the mind. He is able to tap into the deeper recesses of the human brain, focusing its attention on the peacefulness of order.

Marvel at the work of M.C. Escher by reading these books.


the arts can heal your brain

There are songs that can make you recall very specifics moments of your life. You can, through the music, experience the smells and colors that represent that moment as if it were a slide being projected on a screen. Very few things (perhaps scents) can replicate the same experience in such a spontaneous way.

Music seems to flick a switch in the brain. It is able to access dormant memories and pleasant emotions that had been forgotten. It is fascinating to see the reaction of someone who, through sound, evades the suffering of the present moment and is instead transported to a happier place. How does music generate this kind of automatic recollection in the brain? The truth is that we don't know...yet.

I love music, but images, and specifically color, seem to work best for me. The glimpse of a muted grayish blue, no matter how fleeting, can immediately bring a vivid memory of my grandma's apron. This initial spark is soon followed by the texture of the cloth, the smell of her cooking on a Sunday afternoon and the sound of the tin can she used to water her potted geraniums. The floodgates open and there I am, eleven again, standing barefoot on the sunbaked tiles of her terrace surrounded by fragrant geraniums. The present fades for a moment.

I have no doubt that these parentheses, these moments of respite are important for the brain. Particularly a brain that is plagued by a self-destructive tendency towards anxiety and depression. If we were to understand how to prolong that momentary state of suspended happiness, we could engineer ways to counteract mental illness in a side-effect free way. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Read more and watch below to learn about the science of music and art therapy, and the effect these disciplines can have on the brain.


Book of the Month

When I say that I have the best supporters, I mean it. I don't consider them mere customers and I try to foster a closer bond than the one that comes from an impersonal online transaction. That's why I answer all comments and questions on social media, help create teacher curricula, and give a glimpse of my process through monthly MADtalks. I believe in the therapeutic potential of collage. Furthermore, I am absolutely adamant that when everyone is doing better, everyone is doing better. Nobody can (or should) bolster themselves through someone else's defeat. We all bloom or wither together. A lovely supporter sent me this book a few months back. She was generous and helpful, and it was a kindness I didn't expect. Now that I have read it, I can pass it on to you. It might be of help if you are suffering in isolation from a long standing ailment. Sharing our experiences heals us a little, and why wouldn't we want that for everyone else as much as we want it for ourselves. Enjoy! The Things We Don't Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths

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