A Collage A Day with Louise Hay

Laura E.C. Stukel in Denton, Texas made  A Collage A Day with Louise Hay... 

She explains...
My goal was to create a collage every day starting October 1, 2012 using mixed media on 11x15
  • watercolor paper as a background, including:
  • scrapbook paper,
  • magazine photos (mostly Interior Design, National Geographic, and Real Simple),
  • watercolor and acrylic paint,
  • Sharpie pens and stencils,
  • and other found objects.
I used positive affirmations quoted from the work of Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life, and her website.  Louise is/was one of the first modern luminaries to key in on the connection between mind and body wellness in a way that is accessible to the masses.  She writes about how our thoughts can impact our physical wellness or our experience of dis-ease. 
I also used the book 365: A Daily Creativity Journal by Noah Scalin to help guide my themes and techniques each day, and to give me the extra push on days when creative inspiration was needed. 

Why did you decide to do this project? I spend most of my days as a facilities designer and project manager in a Fortune 50 corporate headquarters in the US.  Moving people and furniture around an office complex can, at times, be challenging and thankless work.  I was looking for a way to help focus on the positive, to find a new way to unwind from my day besides turning on the TV, and to encourage more creative expression in my typical day.  This project was a way for me to better balance aspects of my life, so that my mind and time were not all focused on work.  

The only other time I've taken on the challenge of a daily project was in 2011 when I wrote a thank you note a day for a full year.  I’d heard an NPR interview with John Kralik about his book, 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life, and thought I would like to try it.  I had to be creative toward the end of the year in order to complete the full 365, but I count the experience a good one and an exercise in gratitude and discipline that I'd recommend to anyone.  Each note required a moment to pause and reflect on something I could feel grateful for, and an action to reach out and thank someone for that moment.   

How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life? This project has been a self-exploration and endurance race that I've found immensely rewarding.   It has had ups and downs.  Some day's the collages turned out better than others, but it has gotten me back in touch with a creative aspect to my personality that I had set aside in service of a steady paycheck. 

Each day as I sat down in my work area, I knew I'd have at least an hour to ponder a positive and affirming thought.  As I started the project, I wrote a full year's worth of Louise Hay’s affirmations into Noah's Creativity Journal without thought to what they said or how they might work with the Journal exercise.  As the days progressed, I marveled at how the affirmation and the technique of the day (or the affirmation and some experience that had happened earlier in my day) matched up, as if by design…  Divine guidance?  Perhaps.

This project turned out to be a scratch for some unexplained itch that I felt as December 21, 2012 approached and I felt my anxiety rising.  Of course, that date has now come and gone without visible incident, and I look back now at my collages as helpful Art therapy in working through my feelings at the time.

This project also helped me through the tense days that followed my first and only trip to the Boston Marathon, during the one year in its history where the Marathon was targeted for homemade bombs and chaos.   Made it home safe and sound... and got back to work.   

Noah's book was invaluable at keeping me on track and out of a creative rut.  I appreciated the encouragement/directive in 365: A Daily Creativity Journal to post my project to an online blog and share as I went.  (Would probably have never done it otherwise.)  Hope others have enjoyed seeing the progression throughout the year at http://interiarts.blogspot.com/   Had to work through my self-consciousness about whether my Art was any good or not.    Ironically, I found that staying true to the 365 day project regardless of whether anyone was paying attention online was also key. 

On days when inspiration was flagging, I found that working with dogs as subject matter always pulled me forward.  Before this year, I used to think that ‘dog art’ wasn’t really serious ‘fine art’.  However, I also learned through the course of the year that if dog art makes me feel good to make, then as subject matter it’s as good as anything else.  (The two basset hounds that slobbered and snored at my feet as I worked through this year were patient muses.)

I spent a lot of my collage time listening to a range of audio topics that helped me learn and open my mind as I worked.  Thanks are due to the Paranormal Podcast, Darkness Radio, Mysterious Universe, The Honoring Hour, and Essential Oils Experience, and others on Blog Talk Radio.

I see this past year as an extension and expansion of my original 365 thank you note project in 2011.  I still write an occasional thank you note, but I feel that this year has been a catalyst to continue on in visual and expressive Arts.  I’m excited to try new artistic themes and techniques as I move forward, and to keep up a daily creativity habit.  Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life!

See all of Laura's collages HERE.

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