I found myself in a grand funk this weekend. Not the good, George Clinton/Parliament sort of funk, but the ugly bad mood sort of funk. Usually I'm pretty good at shaking myself out of a mood like this, and usually a little time with some fabric or yarn does the trick. This time nothing was working, not even my attempts at dredging out an old piece of writing I've been pecking at for a couple of years. This afternoon I finally stomped off in a rage to AC Moore and aimlessly wandered the aisles, glaring at anyone who happened to cross my path. Oh, it was a dark, dark mood...not unlike the rash of thundershowers that blew through this afternoon. As I wandered, the only thing I seemed to want was canvasses, which was odd because let me tell you: I am not a painter. But I've learned not to ignore these sorts of compulsions; they generally come from a place that needs to be listened to, and it's a voice that generally won't shut up until it's been assuaged. So I found a package of 2 for $10 and figured, well, I've thrown money away on worse things.
On the way home, though, I remembered that when my sister and I were little and would visit Grammie, our dad's mother, she would set us up at the kitchen table and we would make collages. She gave us pieces of butcher block or sometimes even wax paper, and she would cut pictures out of magazines for us to paste onto the paper. It was really simple, but we loved it and we'd spend hours ripping up the magazines, looking for anything that we thought was cool or pretty or interesting. Anything was ok unless it was reptilian in nature: Grammie hated snakes, even photographic representations of them.
So when I got home, I hauled out the Modge Podge, bits of old scrapbook paper, a bit of ribbon, some beads, old magazines, and some really old Cray-Pas (oil sticks). And I made collages. I trashed my living room floor and am still peeling glue off from myself in strange places, but it worked: my mood vastly improved. Fine art? Hardly. But I don't even care. I even cut up a few lines of the story I'd been working on and stuck them on there.
Here's the really funny part: ever since Grammie died, one of my aunt's has found that whenever something important happens or something reminds her of Grammie, she sees a butterfly. For example, when my aunt's daughter had a baby last year, I made a baby quilt and quilted butterflies on it - not knowing anything at all about the Grammie-butterfly connection, until my aunt saw the quilt and got this really funny look on her face. Just now, as I inserted the photo into this blog entry, I realized there are butterflies in my collage. Fabulous.