Make two collages and call me in the morning! Imagine those words as doctor's orders..... I am convinced that doing lots of collage work is giving my memory a good workout. I sometimes can't remember where I put household items, books or boring paperwork, but generally I can put my hands on certain scrap images I've collected in different files and folders.
At some point I began subdividing the great paper scrap pile into large subdivisions. First there was a Nature file, then that bifurcated into one for Flowers and one for Nature. Human images used to include both People and Dolls but I was collecting so many doll images, soon they got their own folder. And before long, I needed separate files for dolls in color and dolls in black and white. And so it goes.
You know you are obsessed with collage when you start collecting even solid color scraps. I use blue and purple so much, they got their own folders. I am pleased when I can put my hands on the exact color or image I need and can recall setting aside somewhere. Not that every thing is neat and tidy in my collage workspace!
Although there is a lot to be said for organization, sometimes the creative mind knows not exactly what is needed. So I keep stacks of old magazines around, as well as boxtops full of unsorted images, new stuff coming in or little pieces left over from the previous day's artwork. Sometimes a newly finished piece looks incomplete the next day and you need a little bit more of some pattern or design, so you learn to hold onto even the tiniest scraps.
I wouldn't be a good librarian, albeit retired, if I didn't mention my favorite novel about a collage artist: Celestial Navigation (Random House, 1974) by Anne Tyler. She succeeds wonderfully in showing how the mind of an artist works, thinking in colors and shapes. As I recall, Jeremy Pauling is the kind of man who really sticks to his knitting, rarely leaving the house. He may even be agoraphobic. He seems myopic. His reality is very much his own. When his mother dies, a woman and child come into his life and nothing is the same after that. I've read it twice but want to give a third read in the near distant future. For me, Anne Tyler's books are like old friends I'm always glad to spend time with again. Old friends (and collage) are as good as therapy!
collage by KAO: Courting Balance, 2009.