Collage Tip #14: Incorporating Quotes into Your Collages

Michelle Casey, Untitled Collage, 4 x 4 inches (approx.), April 2013, Inspired by a quote from Fréya: “Inside us all patiently waiting sits a tiny little adventurous bird."

Michelle Casey, Untitled Collage, 4 x 4 inches (approx.), April 2013, Inspired by a quote from Fréya: “Inside us all patiently waiting sits a tiny little adventurous bird."

There’s No Right or Wrong Way to Collage a Quote…

I thought I’d end my writing series (for now) with another fun tip for integrating words into your collage and mixed media pieces. We’re not all great writers and thinkers so it’s a good thing there are plenty of wonderful quotes out there that we can use as jumping off points for our work*. When I first started incorporating quotations into my collages, I worried about how I would illustrate them and then I realized there was no right or wrong way to do this. The trick was to first look inside myself to see what feelings and images emerged when I thought of the quote; then to collect that type of imagery, and finally to narrow those down to only the few that truly captured its essence. Remember too, you don’t need to illustrate a quote; you can choose to tackle it in an abstract manner by building shapes, colours and textures around it. Instead of using pictures of people, places or things, here you might try to capture the feeling of the quote through colour, texture or simply random patterns and shapes that appeal to you.

My Grandmother’s Book of Quotations…

My maternal grandmother Sophie Guider in Kohat (Pakistan), 1932.

My maternal grandmother Sophie Guider in Kohat (Pakistan), 1932.

I never thought I’d be one of those people who’d be attracted to quotes but I am and it all began in my late teens when I received a gift from my maternal grandmother Sophie. Upon her passing, she left me a small book of quotations by esteemed Classical Greek authors: Pliny, Plato, Plutarch, Aristotle … a whole slew of men with strange names I couldn’t pronounce who had something to say about life and the proper way to conduct one’s self through it. Printed in the late 1800’s, the book was well-worn; it was so tiny it fit in the palm of my hand. Its dilapidated ivory cover was cracked so much so that the stuffing was coming out of it; its creamy pages were stained with age. When it was brand-spanking new young Sophie Guider was a Eurasian governess travelling between the Indian subcontinent and Europe … sometimes to England and even to France with her young charges and their families. She also travelled throughout India seeing to the education of children from Indian royal families who gifted her with precious jewels! Sometimes I envy her early life although I know it must have been very difficult for her having lost her parents at age sixteen. This book must have been very precious to her because with it she could ensure she duly impressed her employers through her thoughts and good manners. As a young single woman of mixed race origin in the 1920’s being perceived as an intelligent and cultured woman would have been crucial to her personal, social and economic survival in India. Sometimes, I imagine her on a train travelling through India or perhaps on a ship sailing past the White Cliffs of Dover leafing through its pages… wondering what gem of thought to use next…

Thousands of Quotes in the Palm of our Hands…

Today with social media tools like Pinterest we can collect thousands of our favourite quotes and have them in the palm of our hands as well. I wonder what Sophie would think of that! She always had something sassy to say about the modern world. One day I’d love to do a series of collages of my favourite quotations. I’ve just begun collecting them from my friends on Facebook these last few months as well as making a Quotes board on Pinterest. Below is a list of eleven of my favourite ones. A quote by Fréya (#5) inspired the collage above. When I thought of it, it reminded me of blue skies, birds, freedom, music and my childhood along with a sense of wonder of being tuned to what’s within. Instead of writing or adding text to the collage itself, I decided to handwrite the quote below the image (not pictured here) which I mounted on paper. I did this because I wanted to leave the piece open to other interpretations.

What’s your favourite quote? Have you tried to build an image around it? I’d be curious to know… I do hope someone will share a piece of theirs with me or at least give this tip a try and let me know how it goes!

* Note: Quotes don’t have to be from notable celebrities; don’t forget those everyday folk you’ve encountered in your life who’ve said some pretty wise and inspiring things to help you along your life’s journey! Keep a little note book to write down these gems of thoughts as you hear them.

11 Favourite Quotes to Inspire Your Collaging:

1 “You are of infinite worth.”  (Thanks to my friend Faye Estrella for sharing.)

2 “A certain darkness is needed to see the stars.”  (Unknown)

3 “Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”  (Henry Ward Beecher)

4 “Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay.”  (Thanks to my friend Stu Hyderman for sharing.)

5 “Inside us all patiently waiting sits a tiny little adventurous bird.”  (attritubted to Fréya?)

6 “Lend me your eyes I can change what you see.”  (Mumford & Sons)

7 “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in the darkness the astonishing light of your own being.”  (Hafiz)

8 “When I’m dancing I feel like a breath in the sky.”  (Young dancer in Freya Björg Olafson video.)

9 “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tunes without the words and never stops at all.”  (Emily Dickinson)

10 “Be still and know.”  (Unknown)

11. “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

PS: Be sure to check out My Pinterest Quotes Board for more ideas! If you’ve got a quotes board I can re-pin from, do let me know.

Other Related Links:
Changing the World, One Collage at a Time (“Be the change you want to see in the world.”)
My Portfolio November 2009 Journal Page (“Make the most of every day, life is short”.)

2 comments to Collage Tip #14: Incorporating Quotes into Your Collages

  • Great info for incorporating quotes Michelle. And I love you Pinterest board.

    • Michelle

      Hi Wendy, Thanks so much for stopping by to review my blog. I’m glad you like it. I see you visited my Pinterest Quotes board and re-pinned some of my quotes! Thanks so much. I really like that one you chose about wanting to save yourself… it’s so empowering! Best wishes for a wonderful rest of the long weekend, Michelle

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