Unsettling as it can feel at the time, any time we leave our comfort zone learning and growth can take place. Last week I began at a six-week collage class at City College’s Fort Mason campus taught by Lorna Stevens, an accomplished collage artist and sculptor who works can be seen here. I signed up with three colleagues from the San Francisco Correspondence Co-op, Dorothy Yuki, Pamela Gerard, and Monica Lee. The first session was a challenge for all four of us. Pamela reflected on the experience here.
The first night I was really tired, and the room was hot, and I felt flustered and was close to walking out because the whole approach felt so unfamiliar. Lorna shared some examples Matisse’s approach to collage. Then each of us stood, sat, or leaned against a table in the center of the room for a minute while the rest of the class was asked to “draw with our scissors”. Then we all had nearly two hours to create a collage. My effort from the first night is shown above. I was not happy with it, felt that I took the concept too literally and that it had no energy. In the remaining 45 minutes of the class, each person’s work was put up front, and one person drew another’s name to offer critique, followed by Lorna. Most of us expressed disappointment with what we created, but there were enlightening observations that many of us had not seen in our own work.
The second session this past Thursday, we focused on creating collage from existing materials. I felt more comfortable with this assignment since it was more architectural and I had time to think it out more. The various doors in the pieces were glued shut except for the one on the upper right which opens to reveal I digital collage. that is below.
I was finished well before the deadline, and Lorna encouraged me to make a second one. In the critique, my classmate said that she liked that these featured imagery that was disturbing but also comforting in that there was symmetry and unity. I came away the second session feeling that I am making progress, rethinking my approach to collage, gaining new skills, and surrounded by a class of supportive, talented artists.