Today I made a collage. I could slick that up as a vision board or something a tad more glamorous, but there it is really: a collage.
It is colourful. It has texture. And thanks to the pasty nature of home made glue, it has depth.
It all started with a craft request for small child part 1. All fine to do, just needed company. And so we embraced it together – cutting images from magazines, making the glue, finding paper as the backing, negotiating layouts and chatting through storylines. And then just putting it all together.
It took a good half an hour, and somewhere along that path, I stopped guiding and watching the process as a parent, and just sank into it. And it was truly delightful.
As a child you have no qualms about just putting together a mixed picture, simply because you like the various bits. It’s a lovely process. You see, touch, choose, cut, paste, arrange and put it all together. And voila! A work of art completely of your choosing.
So, I took a leaf from that book and let go of my usual sensible, balanced approach and tried it out for myself. I picked colours, images, visual textures and different shapes with little thought to the process. Then put them all together into a layer of pictures. Simply put, it made me happy. Unexpectedly happy.
It seems I’m not the only one stumbling on to the benefits of activities traditionally seen as for children. In France, there has been a recent surge in the number of people using colouring books designed for adults to help improve their mood. Apparently – and surprisingly – colouring books in France now outsell cookbooks. In a country known for culinary skill, it’s worthy of note.
Cat Bennett, author of The Confident Creative: Drawing to Free the Hand and Mind, also touches on the benefits of creativity in her book, noting how it helps to relax the brain and help with stress. Simple. And brilliant.
Back at home, we checked in on our artworks. And even once the glue had dried, I felt satisfied with my slapdash creation. And delighted with my child’s. But together or not – the humble collage has a new fan.