Collage Therapy with Michelle E. Black | Michelle E Black | Skillshare

Collage Therapy with Michelle E. Black

Michelle E Black, Lifestyle photographer/writer/artist

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6 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Overcoming a Blank Canvas

    • 3. Creating a Cohesive Background

    • 4. What Do You Want to Say?

    • 5. Pulling It Altogether

    • 6. Fine Tuning Your Collage


About This Class


Collage Therapy is an artistic form of self-expression that combines collaging with basic therapeutic tools that can help you process everyday life.  It is for anyone who knows how to cut and paste, no artistic ability required!

As for me, I am a photographer, mixed media artist, magazine photo stylist, and writer published in dozens of magazines over the past decade. Although I first emerged in a variety of Stampington magazines such as Somerset Studio for my image transfers on salvaged wood, my private creative passion has been collecting ephemera and collaging.  That evolved into what I now call, Collage Therapy.

In this workshop from start to finish, you will create your own personalized collage.  I will share various writing prompts to help get you started.  I will also walk you through, step by step how to create a collage using whatever you have on hand to create a background and the techniques I use to blend and build upon it.  With creative tips and tricks, you will learn how to create a collage that, not only has personal meaning to you but is therapeutic in the process of making it.

In this fast-paced world, it is so important for us to have ways in which we can unplug and be in the moment we are in. Collage Therapy helps you do just that while using what we already have so much of.  All those bits of paper, ephemera, wrapping paper, junk mail, old magazines... all of that can be repurposed in a positive, creative way through Collage Therapy.  Not to mention, allowing ourselves the time to get in touch with what is really going on with us at any given time.

I  look forward to sharing what I've learned over the years and how you too can benefit from this meditative craft.  It is what I like to call a living meditation. It is a creative tool to help anyone who likes working with their hands, craves being mindful of the moment they are actually in and wants to creatively express themselves.


1. Introduction: Hi and welcome to Kalash therapy. My name is Michelle Lee Black, and this is my workshop. So what is Kalash therapy? Clash therapy is an artistic form of self expression that combines collage ing with basic therapeutic tools that can help you process your everyday life in the process of making our collages. We will repurpose what we already have so much of. Just to be clear, I am not a professional therapist. This is the creative self help method that I used to help me process this crazy adventure. Cold life. This is not a replacement for other forms of therapy. Seek professional help if you need to please. So who is this class for? This class is for anyone who is looking for a creative way to express their feelings or looking for a visual reminder of where they want to see themselves going. No artistic ability is necessary, as I will take you step by step on how to put together your own collage. It could be a slight as you want it to be, or you can dig deep. It's your personalized collage. So where do we begin? In this class? We start with a blank canvas and learn some tips on how to overcome the mental blocks. When facing a blank canvas, we'll work in layers, starting with the background. I will then walk you through how to create uniformity in your collage. There also be some journal prompts to get the nitty gritty of what you want to say in your piece. And finally, we'll do some fine tuning and adding various creative effects that will help it come together into your own personalized collage. I want to empower you and others to take time to process your feelings in an instant gratification society. Having something that allows us to slow down encourages us to work with their hands and helps us process our feelings and reactions. Toe life around us is invaluable. This is not about making beautiful art, although it may be a by product. It's about having something in our lives that uses what we already have so much of, and it aids us in a little self reflection in a positive, creative way. Clash therapy is what I like to call a living meditation. If we don't know, we don't grow. Here's an example of a collage I created when I felt I was clearly giving a negative person in my life way too much power over my thoughts, feelings and emotions with some journaling, I found that this was what I was actually doing, giving her the launch codes to my sanity. Although the person's behavior didn't change my reaction to her shifted collage therapy ransom note intentions to help you rescue your kidnapped emotions. Thank you so much for your time. Now let's get our hands messy and start collage ing. If you'd like to learn more about me, you can go on Pinterest, Micheli black or an instagram Micheli black and please follow me on skill share. If you like this class, thank you so much and I look forward to working with you by 2. Overcoming a Blank Canvas: Now, aside from your repurposed materials, you also need a few other things, like canvas or surface to collage on paintbrushes. Acrylic paints a stencil and much much, overcoming the sometimes daunting question as to where to begin facing a blank canvas. What if I don't have something specific to say? Don't overthink it. Begin where you are and the rest will take care of itself. You're a few suggestions to help you overcome some mental blocks and get you started. Some of my favorite material to use or water damaged and outdated dictionaries they make great recycled resource is to pull material from Plus, you get some interesting words and phrases that inevitably peek through in your finished piece. Repurpose will be already have so much of magazines, junk mail, old maps, recycled wrapping paper. The list goes on and on. All right, let's talk about backgrounds. I personally don't always have something in mind when I'm putting together. My background for my piece is sometimes it comes down to scraps of paper I have within my reach and feeling any empty spaces on the surface. Part of my collage practice is to sometimes work on several pieces at once that way, when the words do come and I most definitely have something to say, a background is already created. You can also think of a particular theme, perhaps a holiday. Like, say, Halloween has shown here. Try not to judge how it looks. What's important is that you start and creative background illustrations, dictionary definition, bits of paper, collage together make a great background to start with. Now it's time to start gluing. Once you have your scraps of paper selected, start glowing them to the surface of your canvas or background material. I use standard module pods for this step. Smooth out. Any air bubbles between the bits of paper and the surface. You weren't hearing it too. Then let it dry. I'm telling you, it seriously doesn't need to make sense. You may even see it as ugly or disconnected. That's okay. Just get the background done, and it will come together later. Trust me. Now remember, Sometimes it's just about covering canvas. Facing a blank canvas can feel overwhelming with the theme in mind, a particular color scheme or what appeals to at the time simply start collage Ing and Phillips, the entire surface and Lastly, don't judge your work while you're doing it. It's all a process. So once you finish your background, join me in the next phase. 3. Creating a Cohesive Background: creating in deformity, pulling the background together. By now, you should have had your background done and dried and are ready for the next step. In this next lesson, you will learn how to create uniformity by using a stencil with acrylic paint to create a more fluid looking background. All right, so let's talk about stencils. There are many different shapes and sizes of stencils in the creative marketplace. I have my own personal favorites, and they'll be at the end of the workshop. Under Resource is so having a few on hand alternate between is a great weight. Add variety to your artwork. Simply use painter's tape or washing tape on the corners to adhere it to the surface and then dab or spray your paint on your art piece. Once painted removed the stencil and the pattern appears on your artwork and then let it dry. Stencils can pull together a seemingly disconnected background into a cohesive backdrop. For your collage, you're on the left. I purposely created a crazy, disconnected background illustrate to you how stenciling can pull it together. I mean, see how simply adding a painted stencil over this collage makes it visually more cohesive. So here's the same stencil but different collage. So here's the finished collage. She had decided to put herself back on her list and do some serious gold mining. So here's another example of a stencil background. I use this in my collage therapy definition piece Collage therapy Ransom note Intentions to help rescue your kidnapped emotions. If stencils aren't your thing, then maybe painted swirls can also unify the peace or splattered paint on this piece. I didn't want to obscure the background, so I chose splattered paint to give it a more blended feel. Okay, so let's review when it comes to creating a unified background. Once you have your background in place with acrylic paint, you can visually pull it together by using either stencils or free hand painting over the entire surface. This helps the I not only go to one particular area of your collage, but to see it as an overall peace. Once that is dry, you're ready for the next layer. What do we want to say in our piece 4. What Do You Want to Say?: All right, So now we're on to our next chapter. What do we want to say? Once our background is set, we now need to figure out what we want to say with our collage, what is on our minds. Okay, so here's where If you have a journal, great. If not, just grab a piece of notebook paper and we'll start with our writing prompts. So writing it down, like I said, this could be lighthearted or a deep excavation of feelings. You may or may not use this as inspiration for your final piece. It's simply to get you started. This is for you and you alone. You do not have to share this if you're not comfortable. So our first prompt is what experience were you at one time, So clear is your direction, but found once you were actually doing it was a bit more humbling than you'd once anticipated. So brainstorm, right? Some general ideas down. No details. At this point, just these air prompts to get the creative juices flowing and to tap into your own experiences. Some examples are that promotion at work owning a pet, a new house, parenthood except etcetera. This doesn't have to be too deep. Just yours. Okay, so here's a collage created from a journal entry on this particular day. My adult daughters were quarrelling when I realized an illusion I had when I was a young mother. If I simply created my home with love and encouragement that my family would have no choice but to succeed and thrive not to say mine aren't mind you, it's just I have no control over the choices they make or the mistakes they need to make in order to learn from their own life lessons. This can sometimes be a painful process. Toe watch. Okay, so this is our second writing prompt. Now, keep in mind, as previously stated, you may not even use this this inspiration for your final piece. It's an exercise to get you started. This is for you and you alone, Unless you want to share it. Okay. Our second prompt is this. Choose a chapter or instant in your life that helped define who you are today. From a detached perspective, you know, like that of a kind and loving teacher perhaps armed with the gift of hindsight. Ask yourself what needed to happen exactly how it happened in order for me to learn what I did an example is like a broken heart can lead to independence in a great adventure. Now, I would suggest you remove the bitterness or blame, look for the gifts and steer clear of the trappings of resentment. Okay, so here's a good example of prompt to. Sometimes we cannot avoid difficult people. We work with them. We live next door to them or even call them family. We cannot control them, but we can choose how we react to them. Here's a collage I did about the epiphany as to what? I was actually giving away my sanity. Before she knew it, she had freely given away the launch code to rece entity. So having worked through my challenge, the lesson was easier to see in hindsight. Okay, so now onto our third prompt gold mining, what are a few things you want to approve upon in your life? Next? The why Why is this important to you? Then? The help, How you go about making this an actionable goal. Lastly, the when the one is now, unless you want to choose another time because it is your goal. After all, here's an example of my prompt three ca Watch my gold mining collage, a great visual reminder of some of the things I want to accomplish and maintain in my near future. Our fourth Propped journal. Dumping Sometimes the best way to know what is really going on inside your head is a good old fashioned journal dump. No plan, no judgment. Just get it out of your head and onto paper. I think you have nothing going on. Start by writing. I am doing this journal dump, but I don't know what to write and describe your surroundings what you're feeling, what you're smelling. But you're anticipating right for five straight minutes orm or if you find your groove, here's my journal, dumping example As my nest was emptying, what I realized was that in my journey of being a parent, I was the one that learned the most. This was my collage of that particular epiphany. It was through a journal dump that I discovered that was really how he felt about parenting . So give yourself a topic and ask yourself how you feel about it, and then just right, you may surprise yourself at the wisdom you have hidden within. Okay, so this is our last writers prompt Number five. Empathy is perspective. It's one of the deeper ones, but it's a good one. So imagine for a moment you're looking through another's eyes, feeling with their feeling, experiencing what they're experiencing happened to your insight as to what makes up their perspective, their life, experiences and challenges they may have faced. See with your heart as to what is really going on for them and write what you see now detach from your ego, resentment or shame. Seeing with your heart does not condone any wrongdoing, but sets you free from resentments. Corrosive grip. Here's my empathy collage. When my mother's dementia became ever present in our lives, in order for me to feel more compassionate and less resistance to what was now a permanent state of being for her, I imagine what it must feel like from her perspective. This is what I wrote fragmented memories of a former self, wanting desperately to rest from the exhaustive and timeless effort of making sense of the jumbled collage she now knew his everyday life. Now that you've done one or more of the journal prompts, it's time to highlight the phrases that resonate with you and that you want to use in your collage. Fine, tune it and edit it down until you have your message. Then write it on a separate piece of paper. That way you can refer to it while you're collage the next steps. Now that we know what you want to say and you have the background finished, we can now move on to the next steps of gathering the details. See you in the next chapter. 5. Pulling It Altogether: Okay, so now we start collecting images and illustrations. Now that you have some direction as to what you want to say in your collage and a background to build from, you can now start collecting the visual details that resonate with your theme or message. Here are some examples of illustrations, words, phrases and letters that I've cut out The message collecting words and phrases while watching your favorite marathon streaming episodes comes in handy when you need to put together the message of your final piece, but you don't find in the words collected. You can create your own with various letters you've accumulated. Another detailed to consider is adding additional hand drawn elements such as this hate confetti cannon, as shown here. Once you gather together all of the details, then it's time to play with placement before committing to gluing down all of your elements to your collage. Seeing the placement of them helps with the overall design of your piece. Here's yet another example of placement. Once you've settled on a design, now it's time to glue the added bits into place 6. Fine Tuning Your Collage: Okay, so now we have everything glued down, and now we're going to do some fine tuning of our finished collage. Okay, so one of the things I like to do is adding stamps to my pieces. Perhaps you have a collection of stamps you want to incorporate into your piece. This is when you would add those. I would recommend a permanent ink pad to prevent smearing as well. Also, those gym holds distress. Ings can add an aged rustic look to your finished piece. You can also add handwritten details from the tracing of your letters to messages within your piece, even adding three dimensional details like this. Bakers Twine attached to the air balloon was one of the last details. I added, as shown here, the splattering of paint creates another layer of cohesiveness. Lastly, don't get overwhelmed. Start where you are like Kim, Piper Worker says in her book, Bake It mighty ugly when it comes to her creative demons. Quote as mean and challenging as they may be, are what make your experience is unique and your creations meaningful. End quote. Don't judge yourself. Remember, it's the act of collage ing that is the living meditation. Well, that's it for this workshop. Your introduction to my collage therapy. I look forward to seeing what collages you guys come up with and hopefully have inspired you to work through life's challenging moments. One collage at a time. Thank you so much for taking this workshop. If you'd like to be updated on my upcoming workshops, be sure to follow me here on skill share again. Thank you so much for joining me Sincerely, Dearly Micheli Black All right. Lastly, a little about me Micheli Black I am a self proclaimed Jill of all trades Know Jack about it A photographer, mixed media artist magazine, photo stylist and writer To learn more about may you go to Pinterest slash Micheli black or instagram slash Micheli black. And don't forget to follow me on skill share because I am just getting started. Thanks. Bye